A Moving Maze for Young Treasure Seekers
What It Is
Labyrinth is a new game from Mentor InterActive, a company that develops and promotes children’s education software and learning technologies products. Labyrinth is a puzzle-solving game in which kids have to move a ball through a maze as they try to reach a treasure before their opponent. For each level, the first player to reach all their objects first will win that level. The catch is that in order to reach the objects, players have to shift the rows and columns that make up the mazes by placing new pieces into the mazes.
Why It’s Fun
There are a ton of great educational game products available for toddlers and pre/kindergarten kids but educational video games for kids older than six tend to be boring. Labyrinth isn’t going to teach anyone math or spelling but the puzzles utilize and reinforce logical thinking skills, problem solving and strategic thinking while remaining fun. The mazes are divided into rows and columns, like a graph, and each player begins a turn by shifting the maze, which is done by adding a new maze section to the outer rim. Players select either a row or column and then decide whether they want to shift the row left or right or a column up or down. Each player has to figure out how to shift the maze in order to get to a treasure, however, every player is working towards a different object so players have to be ready for their plans to suddenly change with each turn.
This is one of the few DS games that I have played that allows multiple players to play a game using one DS system rather than requiring each player to have his or her own and use the wireless link. In Labyrinth, up to four people can play in a turn based game where the player completes a turn and then hands the DS to the next player.
Who’s Going To Love It
The target audience is the youngest gamer, ages six to ten but even adults will enjoy playing Labyrinth. There is a story told through book-like screens at the beginning of the game so kids need to know how to read or have someone read these screens to them.
What To Be Aware Of
The mazes are fun, but there isn’t enough variety in this game. Every labyrinth maze looks the same—a square grid with six rows and six columns. It would be nice if the labyrinths changed shape and included a rectangle, L-shape or even a rhombus, which is unarguably the most exciting geometric shape of them all.
Something else that would make Labyrinth a great game is adding more games. How much fun would it be if between each level, players played a game of Memory with the treasure objects collected during the level?
Labyrinth is like Bejeweled for kids. It’s hard to stop playing and even though you have something to do (like write a game review) you find yourself saying, “Just a little longer” rather than turning it off. Since the mazes move depending on how players shift them, there is no one way to win and there are hundreds of configurations. All of this makes Labyrinth a highly replayable game.
3 out of 5
It has to be fun or it wouldn’t be on Time to Play. But some games are more fun than others so here’s our scale: 1 is fun, 2 is a lot of fun, 3 is great, 4 is awesome and 5 is out-of-this-world!
Video Game Information
Publisher: Mentor InterActive
System: Nintendo DS
Players: 1 - 4
Launch Date: Summer 2011
Date of Review: August 11, 2011