Can we ask a question? Have you ever heard of a board game called Labyrinth? Apparently it's won awards by the truckload, been played by 13 million people, and it's been in circulation for a quarter of a century. But we've never, ever, not once in all our travels, ever had the opporunity to play it. Have we been missing out? Were all those years playing Mouse Trap a complete waste of time?
Well thank heavens for the App Store, which offers us a chance to address this gaping hole in our childhood and play a specially ported version on the iPhone and iPad. The aMAZEing Labyrinth (presumably retitled to avoid confusion with all the other apps called Labyrinth) promises to faithfully replicate the same mechanics as the board game, with some added digital doo-hickery such as online multiplayer, scoreboards, and two extra game modes.
How does it play?
Players are trapped inside a labyrinth and must forge a path to freedom, whilst also collecting treasure items to boost their score. The catch is that the walls of the maze are constantly shifting and changing, with hallways, junctions and dead-ends materialising at every turn.
This is obviously a great deal of fun when playing against other people. Every time you slide the puzzle tiles, it will impact not just on your progression through the maze, but also on your opponents. Likewise, they can do the same to you. This gives rise to the double delight of blocking off their exits whilst simultaneously nabbing a valuable item for yourself.
In the puzzle mode, Labyrinth devolves into a solitary, contemplative experience, where you determine a path to the treasure with the least number of moves. In the time-duel mode (which can be played as either single or two player), you manically slide tiles around a smaller grid and try to collect as much treasure as possible before the clock runs out.
Why do we like it?
The production values on The aMAZEing Labyrinth are top-notch, and the developers have put a great deal of thought into translating a physical board-game onto a touchscreen device. It's not just a straight conversion, they've added some value with the two additional game-modes, which are totally exclusive to the iOS version.
That said, the game is at its best when played with multiple players, and the iPhone or iPad is passed around amongst friends and family. That's the strength of the concept, and (we surmise), the reason why it's endured for so long. A mixture of strategy and luck, it'll quickly have you clapping your hands or gnashing your teeth.