Little Labyrinths iPad Review
Taken at face-value, ByteSize Games' latest release Little Labyrinths probably wouldn't jump out and grab your attention on the App Store. Boiled down to its most basic mechanics, it's a maze game that tasks you with drawing out a route in order to direct a variety of characters from their starting position to an end goal. So far, so simple and something you've no doubt seen many times before.
But there's more to the game than this. All of the levels are procedurally-generated, so you'll never suffer the indignation of having to trawl through maps you know inside out, just to get to something fresh. The controls are also some of the slickest we've seen on mobiles, and it's this combination of variety along with pin-sharp route-drawing that lends the game a degree of longevity that will surprise you as you chase an ever-higher score.
There are four modes in total although you'll start off in Classic, a time-based affair where the clock ticks down across the entire run of mazes. It's a high-score chaser that tasks you with split-second decisions about whether to head straight for the finishing line, or take a worthy diversion to pick up multiplier bonuses or hour-glasses that top up your time.
Grab the little sacks of cash that litter each map and you'll be rewarded with coins that can be used to purchase new characters, finishing objects, locations and game modes. You can mix these up into whatever strange combinations you like, so your yeti can be tasked with rescuing his princess, while a medieval knight hunts out a piece of cheese.
Locations range from cupboards to castles, to paradise islands and a capital city. It's all cosmetic stuff really and it's nice that there are no balancing issues to make you feel obliged to pick up a faster character, or a map that confers a points advantage. If you'd like to go down the in-app purchase route then everything can be unlocked for a fee, but you really shouldn't have much trouble opening up the content (without opening up your wallet) in a reasonable amount of time.
With enough in-game money earned, you can pick up the Zen mode which allows you to take a leisurely stroll through the game without the pressure of a ticking clock. It shouldn't come as a surprise to learn that the three-minute mode gives you exactly that amount of time to get as high a score as possible, while Speed offers a run through the game with each level having its own unique (and brisk) timer.
It's a great way to cater to all crowds and circumstances, whether you've got your feet up on the couch and fancy idly thumbing through a game of Zen, or grabbing a more frantic fixed-time chunk of play between train stations.
Little Labyrinths has no right to be as much fun as it is, relying as it does on the surface simplicity of a basic maze-solving game. Then again, taking classic ideas and breathing new life into them is what the mobile platforms do best, and so with its variety of modes and procedurally-generated mazes, this is one simple game that's easy to recommend.
What's Hot: Slick controls, a variety of game modes unlocked very quickly, and a different set of mazes every time.
What's Not: Your maze-solving skills may peak quickly.