Developer: Headgasket
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Ma3e is like very strong alcohol. It takes an idea and distills it down to such a pure, undiluted form that it is almost too much, it’s off-putting. For some, this kind of no-frills design is exactly what they are looking for but for others it will probably be more of an acquired taste.

Ma3e is a series of procedurally generated 3D mazes and nothing else. Using the touch screen, players rotate hollow, intricate structures to guide a ball to the goal. The mazes have an impressive depth to them and navigating their environments requires a strong understanding of 3D space. The mazes are also highly customizable. From a menu players can select from four different maze types like the rigid “Escher” structure to the more naturalistic “cave” structure. They can then select the size and difficulty of the maze as well change letters and numbers in its base code to randomize it even more. Players can also choose to pay for hand-crafted “designer” mazes but the amount of free content here is potentially limitless, even if mazes can only be but so different.

That’s pretty much all there is to Ma3e though and that’s kind of the problem. The game smartly and subtly uses color and texture to help differentiate a maze’s various planes. However, the visuals overall, while free from distractions, are harsh and sterile. They make a game that could have felt like a toy instead feel more like a lab experiment for rats. Music may have helped but sadly there is none outside of what song players were listening to beforehand. The game keeps track of various stats but again this adds to the feeling of being tested. It’s like Portal without the humor.

Creepily clean aesthetic aside, Ma3e has a plethora of mazes that are tough, fun, and rewarding to explore and overcome. It’s great for players looking to think outside the box.

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