Maze Blaze is an arcade shooter where players fight swarms of enemies while solving procedurally generated maze levels that are dripping in neon lights and brilliant special effects.
Continuing on with the vaguely retro-feeling games, Maze Blaze is a visually slick, fast-paced arcade-style shooter. If you liked Tron and want to play a more modern approach on an older-style game, then Maze Blaze may be for you.
I’ve got to be honest, here. If there is a plot, I honestly don’t remember it because the point of Maze Blaze is to navigate mazes and shoot robots. The game does both fairly well, so I didn’t actually mind the lack of plot. Hey, not every game needs to be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or the many DLCs that came out to support it.
I mentioned mazes above, and that’s an interesting point. You do have to navigate mazes, and Maze Blaze takes an interesting approach to these mazes. They’re procedurally generated, so you’ll never get the same maze twice, no matter how often you play. While this may sound strange, Revulo Games has adapted the gameplay in Maze Blaze to accommodate this feature. While advancing, you can only see a limited amount of space ahead of you, meaning you won’t know if you’ve ended up in a dead end almost until you get there. This also means that you don’t ever have to worry about finding a way out of the maze. That’s not the point. You’re supposed to get lost and enjoy the blasting.
The other benefit of this approach is that the game board will always be new; you don’t have to worry about running the same maze over and over again. On the other hand, the procedurally generated maze does yield a fairly significant drawback in that there are statistically more dead ends than one should expect. In Maze Blaze you fight your way to the end, find a wall, and then, well, you turn around and walk back through the carnage you created. Nothing respawns, so in effect, this is just dead time. That said, completely clearing out an area of enemies and power-ups will cause that area to drop away, so that helps drive the action in a single direction.
As with other rogue-like shooters, Maze Blaze litters powerups throughout the mazes, which does add some variability. However, don’t expect these upgrades to last as the game offers no persistent changes across runs, which is an odd choice.
Additionally, the game does restrict your rate of fire, so you’ll need to be more strategic about how much and when you open fire. It’s not impossible for you to destroy the enemies immediately in front of you only to get overwhelmed by the successive waves that follow them. Granted, that wave marches toward you in single file, so you have more time to plan.
Even though the game looks to be a twin-stick shooter, it’s really, really not, which is yet another odd choice. In the event that you do have to fire behind you, you have to turn around completely, which takes up precious time during which you could be blasting enemies. Given that blasting is the game’s stated purpose, the decision to employ this mechanic is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Maze Blaze also offers a co-op mode, that is admittedly restricted to local. While I didn’t get the opportunity to play it in co-op mode, I cannot imagine how that would work. It’s a maze. Do you wander together? Do you split up? How does it all work? If I lived in a more-than-one-Switch household, I would have tried it. If you have, please drop a comment because I’m genuinely curious.
Maze Blaze is admittedly pretty. The color transitions work well, and the blast effects are beautifully rendered. The audio is pretty appropriate as well. The title looks and sounds fun, but whether it’s really fun to play will depend completely on your own preferences.
Maze Blaze is a visually stunning title that drops you in a maze and lets you shoot things. Its controls are fairly straightforward, which means you aren’t going to worry about skill loss in the event that you have to put it down in order to deal with Real Life. Beyond the general issues surrounding allowing your kids to play shooters, there’s nothing in Maze Blaze that would not make it family friendly.
Maze Blaze retails for $9.99 on the Nintendo Store.
Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard
- This really is a niche title in the sense that I think it makes for a great way to unwind after a bad day at work. It’s pretty and offers just enough challenge to keep your attention without becoming so challenging you’ll want to walk away.
- Granted, if the downtime after you get lost bothers you, you’ll probably find yourself frustrated with it and might think about giving Maze Blaze a pass.
- Maze Blaze is gorgeous though, so toss your Switch in the dock and put it up on the TV. It’s like someone decided to RGB your entire room, if you haven’t already.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam, Xbox One, Xbox Series X