Developer: Funky Circuit
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

If the Xbox Live Arcade hit Geometry Wars has taught us anything, it’s that a fancy package of eye-catching visuals and thumping music can elevate even the simplest game concept to a whole new level. I didn’t expect anything fancy from MZR based on the description alone (it involves solving mazes? Okay, sure, I guess), but what I actually found upon booting it up was a tension-filled, electrified brain teaser that tickled my inner score chaser in a way I hadn’t expected.

MZRMZRMZR doesn’t involve solving the mazes themselves. Instead, players are presented with a map with one starting point and multiple exits. What they then need to do is tap the exits in order from the closest to the start point, distance-wise, to the farthest away. Once this is done, lines will begin to crawl the maze in all directions, activating the exits when they are reached. If you’ve correctly figured out the order, a couple of bonus seconds are gained on the countdown timer and you progress to the next, more difficult level. Periodically bonus levels pop-up where you need to pick a single exit. Rewards like extra time are scattered around the level, with the goal being to pick the exit with the most bonuses along its pathway.

When I referred to MZR as a brain teaser earlier, I’m not using it in the same sense as the umpteen bazillion “brain training” mini-game collections out there. Instead of testing your ability to do quick math and basic logic puzzles in rapid succession, it hones your ability to gauge spacial relations and unravel the twisting paths between exits in fractions of a second. It’s an energizing, almost exhilarating experience, and this is mostly enhanced because of the audiovisual package I mentioned at the beginning.

MZRMZRThe loading screen for MZR warns against players prone to epilepsy triggers and it’s not hard to see why. The entire world vibrates, twitches, and throbs as if alive to the thrum of pulsing electronic music. Heck, I could see how it could even be disorienting and disconcerting to non-epileptics, but it definitely enhances the urgency of an already tense game.

MZR was a nice little surprise and I recommend it heartily for puzzle game fans – or even non-fans, for that matter. It’s a tight, addictive little package and hey, it’s free! So what do you have to lose, right? Well, I suppose time. Since you’re probably going to find yourself returning to this one a fair bit.


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