Editor’s Note: GiN’s Modern Gamer originally reviewed Maze Blaze when it released for the Nintendo Switch, finding it to be a really fun and quite colorful game. Today, Neal is looking at the game on the PlayStation 4, where better hardware might lead to even more colorful explosions and special effects in this unique, shooter title.
I am going to start out first by saying that I generally tend to avoid roguelikes lately because I found out I need glasses, and trying to play a game that requires hair trigger reflexes while not being able to see what is happening too clearly is far from paradise. However, blurring vision be damned, I wanted to give Maze Blaze on the PlayStation 4 a try because I am a sucker for pretty colors and shiny things. And the Modern Gamer’s review of Maze Blaze for the Nintendo Switch did make it sound pretty awesome.
How did my first attempt at Maze Blaze go? A pretty quick death in it left me wondering what the heck just happened.
When starting out, Maze Blaze gives you a brief rundown of what each button does, and then lets you roam free like a science fiction buffalo. Well, not exactly, as you are confined to the ever-changing maze that makes up each level. The level design reminds me of the movie Labyrinth if instead of a Jim Henson fever dream it became a Halo understudy. Outside of the overly colorful aesthetic, Maze Blaze is a third person isometric shooter that does a great job of separating the loudness of the environment from the actual gameplay so that you can race through those aforementioned mazes without getting too distracted. It’s a unique experience to be sure.
The controls in Maze Blaze take a death or two to get used to, and after that I was able to mostly do well while playing. The weapon upgrade descriptions are in an alien language, so you don’t know what you are getting until you pick something up the first time and start blasting, which adds to the trial-and-error part of the game.
The music is stellar and matches the crazy visuals perfectly. The guns also have cathartic sound effects which keeps the immersion going. The only design complaint I have is that the edges of each level warble up or down depending on which way you are moving, which can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of the possibility of it inducing motion sickness for some players. The rotating level edges did give me motion sickness, and I am someone who never gets sick playing games. If that one feature could get toned down a little, it might help players sit with Maze Blaze a bit longer.
I think the only reason why I did not have more fun with Maze Blaze was the relative simplicity of the title overall. It consists of simply running maze levels over and over again as they get harder and harder to fight through. Generally, this type of title does not appeal to me since I like some sort of endgame to reach for instead of just the satisfaction of surviving for a few more minutes or being able to clear a couple more levels before the inevitable game over. I suppose that is how old school arcade games were, and Maze Blaze follows that pattern.
Maze Blaze is fun, but probably is better in smaller doses, depending on if the gameplay makes you motion sick or not. In any case, it’s probably best as a pick-up game when you have a few minutes and just want to blast something with a brilliantly colorful light and sound show in the background.
At the time of this review, Maze Blaze is selling for $9.99 on Steam, with similar prices for other platforms, and that is more than fair, and quite a value. If you want to pick up a title where you zap aliens to a great soundtrack and special effects, then Maze Blaze is the right one for you.