There are plenty of midcore action RPGs on the App Store. In fact, there are so many it's sometimes difficult to tell them apart. At least that's not the case with Maze: Shadow of Light. It's a stunning looking game, with a 3D cartoon style that leaps off the screen and grabs you by the eyeballs.
But is a shiny lick of paint going to be enough to make this one stand out when it moves out of soft launch? Well we took to the Malaysian App Store to give the game the once over, in order to let you know whether this should be on your wish list or your wish-I'd-never-heard-of-it list. Which I imagine everyone has.
The biggest twist to the game is that you're in a team of two. The characters aren't on the screen at the same time though, it's more like a tag battle. They're soul bound, and you can use both members of your team to unleash some pretty impressive combos.
That highlights the game's other big gameplay idea. Not only can you create combos with your basic attack, you can make them with your special attacks too. You control these with buttons in the bottom right of the screen. Get the timing right with your taps and you'll wreak havoc on the enemies around you.
But you can choose to tag in your ally as well. It's a smart system and opens up plenty of possibilities for carnage. And that carnage is incredibly beautiful. Lights flash, swords sweep, bolts of lightning crack open the sky. You want to try every combination of attacks just to see what visual delight the game is going to throw into your retinas next.
For all the glitz and glamour here though, it's still going to be a pretty familiar game to fans of the genre. There are menus galore, plenty of different currencies, and upgrade trees flying at you left, right, and center. And if that's something you enjoy, then you're definitely going to have a smile on your face while you play this one.
But at the moment it does all feel a bit too heavy. It's not shy about pushing you straight into its labyrinthine meta pretty early, and that could well leave players who were enticed by the flashing lights and epic violence feeling a little harried.
And while there's a few new ideas at the gameplay end of things, you're still very much just building up your numbers to take on the tougher challenges ahead. That's a rhythm that most mobile gamers are going to be familiar with, and it's a shame that Maze: Shadow of Light doesn't try that much to shake things up.
This is a gorgeous game, and no mistake, but at the moment it feels much like a lot of other, not quite so gorgeous games that you can already play. And in a crowded market, it'll be interesting to see whether Maze: Shadow of Light manages to do enough to really stand out.
There's definitely a lot of promise here, and it's obvious that the developer is trying to shake up the format of the genre a little. Here's hoping than when the game is available worldwide, it's been shaken just a little bit harder.