Despite its lackluster visuals, there's plenty here to satisfy those craving puzzle fun, making this a serviceable purchase that could benefit from a few much-needed updates.
In the end, Little Labyrinths will most likely only appeal to a limited audience - the very same who get their kicks from the accelerometer-based mazes that litter the App Store and those who need a quick, simple diversion on the commute home or while waiting at the doctorís office. Thereís plenty here to satisfy the craving for puzzle fun, but I canít help but wish there had been more here from such an ambitious studio - at the very least, a more professional presentation in the visual department. As it is, Little Labyrinths is a serviceable purchase, but one that could certainly benefit from a few much-needed updates.
April 18, 2012
Written by Brittany Vincent (editor-at-large)
ByteSize Gamesí Little Labyrinths isnít looking to re-invent
the wheel. They simply want to create an entertaining variant on a classic
pastime. Reeling from the success of their previous game FlipShip, theyíve
released a collection of mazes for gamers who love an accessible challenge...but
only if you love mazes. Yes, of the pen-and-paper variety.
Little Labyrinths serves up a multitude of mazes that youíre expected to
complete in as little time as possible. This is achieved through tracing a line
from your character at the start of the maze to the end, deciphering the correct
path to take to get you there in the shortest time possible. In a Pac-Man-like
bid for collectibles, youíre able to gather a variety of items along the way
that act as time bonuses and other boons in your quest to finish with the
fastest time. Of course, simply finishing one maze wonít net you the coveted
finish - a new maze will replace the old as soon as you complete the last. The
cycle repeats until the timer ticks down to zero, when your game ends.
As you progress through the game youíll unlock more robust game modes and
additional time-attack arenas where youíre given three minutes to see how many
mazes you can zip through, and an additional practice mode where youíre no
longer racing against the clock. And if your problem-solving skills are a little
rusty since your school days of helping Mickey Mouse reach Minnie in the
coloring books of yesteryear, youíre going to need some help if you want to
continue improving on your solving times.
New characters and maps prove to be a light at the end of what at first seems
like a mediocre tunnel, and itís entertaining to see what types of items can be
mixed up to throw a little variety into what could otherwise quickly become a
stale endeavor. There are pirates, if thatís your thing. Dragons too. Thereís
something for everyone if you play long enough.
Speed and accuracy are key, and youíll often find yourself fighting with some
sensitive tactile controls. Itís nowhere near as intuitive as taking a pen to
paper, which is understandable, but tackling corners and zipping through mazes
is a bit cumbersome and unforgiving at times. Usually you can coast right
through with a certain finesse, but it does take a little practice. Itís not
something you want to have happen on your third maze when youíve made excellent
time throughout the first two or so. I could see this working a little better on
a console with a stylus where your finger isnít the only metric for success -
perhaps a DS would better suit the game style?
Youíll explore several locales, from greenery-rich jungle areas to darkened
suburban-appearing areas, all the while determining the fastest route to the
finish. Overall, the presentation feels a bit underwhelming when compared to
ByteSize Games' previous effort, FlipShip, which boasted top-notch visuals and
designs, where Little Labyrinth feels as if it were envisioned and finalized in
Photoshop in a matter of hours. The standout unlockable FlipShip items were a
treat, but as far as aesthetics, Little Labyrinths is more than a little
lacking. I did however enjoy its jovial soundtrack, which lingered in my head a
little longer than I felt it was welcome to.
In the end, Little Labyrinths will most likely only appeal
to a limited audience - the very same who get their kicks from the
accelerometer-based mazes that litter the App Store and those who need a quick,
simple diversion on the commute home or while waiting at the doctorís office.
Thereís plenty here to satisfy the craving for puzzle fun, but I canít help but
wish there had been more here from such an ambitious studio - at the very least,
a more professional presentation in the visual department. As it is, Little
Labyrinths is a serviceable purchase, but one that could certainly benefit from
a few much-needed updates.