Publisher: Chillingo
Developer: Small Green Hill
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

If Man in a Maze were a real game show, it would spark a little controversy considering how dangerous it is to play. Fortunately, it’s not a reality but gamers can still earn big cash prizes. Man in a Maze is a well-polished game that may very well be a hidden gem lost in all the great new releases this week.

This deadly game show centers around a goofy contestant named Chuck who grins from ear to ear. He’s eager to play and make his way through each of the mazes without being caught by traps and evil robots so he can collect as many diamonds and tokens as possible.

There are tutorials included to help gamers get acquainted with over 40 sections of a sophisticated maze. The puzzles each have their own themes, objectives and challenges, which combine together to create a pleasant gaming experience. Before getting started, players should explore the controls options to find one that works best for them. There are three movement controls as well as three throw controls. I opted to change the movement controls to path, which proves to work best for the iPad.

In every maze, players collect all the diamonds to open the exit, but not all the diamonds appear on-screen at once. As gamers collect these diamonds, robots and deadly traps try to take Chuck out. It’s essential to fight back and avoid all dangers or Chuck will find himself zapped.

At the end of each level, players can view their stats and see how well they performed. It’s possible to go back and replay levels to get a better time or find all the tokens. Players are then awarded a prize such as a set of stainless steel knives or a luscious red Man in a Maze mug, and they have the chance to spin the big prize wheel by spending their collected tokens.

Man in a Maze starts out easy, but it does get more difficult as players progress. There are new strategies required in every maze, so players may want to spend their coins on essential power-ups. There are in-app purchases for more coins, but I didn’t feel pressured into having to buy them. It’s possible to get plenty of coins in the mazes as well as on the prize wheel.

At its core, Man in a Maze is a family friendly puzzler that’s well designed with smooth controls, humorous graphics and varied gameplay. Aside from adding iCade support, there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about it. Whether players have a twisted sense of humor, love mazes or can’t get enough game shows packed into their day, it’s definitely a keeper and highly recommendable.

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