The Incredible Maze Review
Developer: Digital Leisure
Reviewed on Wii
Navigate your way around a series of mazes by tilting the Wii Remote or leaning on the Wii Balance Board, avoiding traps and pitfalls while following twisting paths to the final goal.
With the mainstream adoption of motion sensitive controls by the latest generation of consoles, tilting maze games have almost become a genre in and of themselves. This arena used to be dominated by the likes of the Super Monkey Ball franchise, but there's something totally different about grabbing a controller as if it were a finely crafted, nineteenth-century woodem maze and carefully tilting it (or jerking it madly to jump the ball over walls) to maneuver something around an almost tangibly physical puzzle.
The Incredible Maze is a bare-bones entrant into the tilting maze genre, but has two things going for it. The Incredible Maze costs little, at 500 points ($5), and so is easy to pick up and play without having to make a larger (guilty) purchase. Also, it supports the Wii Balance Board. Even if The Incredible Maze can't hold your attention for long, show a small child how to manipulate the maze and ball by shifting his or her weight on the Wii Balance Board, and just watch an entirely new level of fun.
The goal of the game is simple: tilt the Wii Remote (or step on the Wii Balance Board) to tilt the gameboard, using gravity to maneuver a ball from one location to another. Sometimes there are traps in the way, or you can fall off the edge of the board. The game is bare-bones in that the graphics and sound are very simple. This is similar to something Sony presented as a technical demo for the PlayStation 3. But don't take the game's simplicity to mean that it doesn't pose a challenge. There are some levels that require real coordination to complete, let alone to complete in a respectable timeframe, and some of the mazes are positively huge and riddled with holes.
There are 30 levels, and you have to complete each in turn to unlock the next, as well as the challenge mode that has you picking up tokens scattered around each maze as quickly as possible. Thirty levels might not seem like a lot for this sort of game, but given the complexity and size of some of the mazes, the whole thing can take a few hours to complete. Fortunately, at least during normal play, if you fall into a hole or off the edge, you restart nearby and don't have to play the whole level over again (you do have to restart in challenge mode).
Again, the appeal of The Incredible Maze is that it's cheap. The issue with The Incredible Maze is that while the play is fine, it feels like something quickly slapped together with middleware. The Incredible Maze doesn't feature particularly interesting visuals and would be a lot more engaging with a little more attention to textures, visual themes and music. That kind of attention to detail would also prevent minor issues like the fact that holes in the more complex mazes are often hidden behind walls. Since the penalty is so small for falling in, it's not a big deal, but it contributes to the general feeling that The Incredible Maze lacks polish.
For 500 points on the Wii, you're unlikely to regret purchasing The Incredible Maze, but nor will The Incredible Maze make a lasting impression.