The Incredible Maze Review
Posted by Alex Knox
This WiiWare maze game certainly is incredible - incredibly bad, that is
Let's cut straight to the chase here - The Incredible Maze follows in the tradition of virtual labyrinth adaptations like Super Monkey Ball and Kororinpa, but utterly lacks any of the creativity or polish that make those games fun and rewarding. At a mere 500 points this should provide some cheap, throwaway fun, but sadly it stumbles in executing all the necessary fundamentals. In fact, everything about this WiiWare release from the unreliable controls to the rudimentary presentation lets it down. A legitimate mess, the only thing "incredible" about this one is the bare-faced cheek of Digital Leisure to brand it as such when it is anything but.
The idea is so simple in concept that it’s hard to believe the developers managed to screw it up so severely. Using either the Wii Remote or the Balance Board to carefully tilt the stage, you merely attempt to direct a marble through a variety of mazes to reach the goal. Unfortunately even this most basic function is flawed. The Wii Remote controls are downright atrocious due to twitchy, unforgiving sensitivity. Fortunately, the Balance Board is much more serviceable thanks to less finicky (yet still unstable) tilting controls. Additionally, flicking the Wii Remote or pressing A while standing on the Balance Board causes the marble to jump, but this mechanic is so inconsistent that we have to wonder why they even bothered to add it in. On the occasions where jumping actually works to your benefit it undermines the whole maze concept because you are just able to jump a few walls en route to an easy goal. So what we’re left with is a game that is practically unplayable with a Wii Remote alone and otherwise moderately broken.
For what it’s worth there is a modest selection of levels. However, even if the gameplay was sound this collection of poorly-designed stages wouldn’t be worth the trouble. Part of the problem is that they are haphazardly strung together with little consideration for difficulty progression, resulting in a game that wildly jumps from ridiculously easy to seemingly impossible before abruptly screeching to a halt after the 30th stage. At that point you’ll unlock a Time Attack mode which challenges the player to use efficient jumping to complete the stages in a given time, but since jumping is so unreliable it is hardly worth the bother.
If all that isn’t enough, the amateurish presentation is sure to turn off even the most tolerant of gamers. The graphics, in particular, have to be some sort of bad joke. Some of the backgrounds look like the developers drew rudimentary shapes and symbols on some coloured graph paper and glued it all together. Even worse, the stages themselves rely on a collection of the most generic textures imaginable, making for probably the dullest looking game on WiiWare to date (and that is saying something). To its credit there is a collection of computer motherboard-inspired levels that drag The Incredible Maze out of the mire into the realm of respectability, but these levels are overshadowed by incredible dullness. To cap it off the soundtrack consists of one half-decent electronic tune repeated over and over again until your ears bleed. You'll be thankful for your TV's volume control, put it that way.
There's no two ways about it - this is an embarrassing WiiWare release that lacks any of the fundamental elements of enjoyable, rewarding gameplay. By all rights this should be at least a decent little download for anyone to enjoy, but the blatant lack of effort or care put forth by the developers has left us feeling swindled even at the low asking price. All told, The Incredible Maze is a tragic example of a developer’s intent to pollute the service with toxic gameplay masquerading as cheap entertainment. Avoid at all costs.