Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventures for iPhone Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on February 10th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventures for iPhone is an intriguing maze app with significant hidden picture elements as well, creating an application that will appeal to many ages including adults. A version of this app is also available for iPad.

This app consists of a very large play surface expressed as a landscape that spreads for the equivalent of miles and miles in this epic iPhone app.

16 smaller sections are included that seamlessly merge together, which can be seen individually in the map function that shows players the areas they have been to as well as those areas yet to be explored, outlined nicely to simplify this grand hidden object maze game. One lovely clue of having ventured into another section is that the music changes, uniformly very nice to listen to, with a quality reminiscent of a score from a movie.

It is hard for me to describe the details that can be found within this app, as this game gives a bird's-eye view of an entire world created by hand drawn illustrations, lovingly stylized yet realistic at the same time, with bright, colorful details found within.

Imagine looking at Google Earth close enough to make out buildings, cars, streets, parks or even a zoo. From the other cars on the road, baseball diamond and school, and a plethora of other details are included that create a land within this app that one can explore with the drag of a finger. Other sections have themes as well, such as an area full of amusement park rides, a rather industrial section, an urban center and a rural area as well as the chance to sky or float in a raft.

Being partially a hidden object game, players will notice at the bottom of the screen a row of objects that one is to collect with the tap of a finger when discovered, as well as a star cut into pieces which players needs to make their way to collect, be it by driving, walking or other means of transportation. These objects to be found are different for each section and will change when one crosses over to another area of this app.

It is intriguing how the maze sections not visited are obscured in clouds as seen on the main map, leaving a lot of surprises to unearth as the game is played for extended periods of time, but I do wish that some sort of hints could be available for those who hit a brick wall, not knowing how to find their way within these mazes as they try to travel to other locations.

To navigate, drag the car or other mode of moving around where you would like to go with a finger; when walking, tap ahead to have the footprints follow.

Also note that one can pinch and zoom the screens to show details of the bigger picture, and players can, to a point, scroll around to see more of the section they are visiting.

The ability to drive where one wants to go takes some getting used to. I was able to get the hang of it after playing for a while, but it can often be difficult - even frustrating - to try to drive in a direction leading off the screen.

I would like to see this app smoothed out somehow because when one is simply driving, the screen self corrects, moving the landscape to correspond with the driving to maintain a good visual, much like the way a sophisticated map program may work to navigate in real life - an element I would love to also see when driving off the screen, as now the player is often just stuck not being able to move forward to continue the game.

It would also be nice to be able to manually move the background in the direction one is driving - not possible to do although one can scroll in other directions to take in the details and determine where they may be in the bigger picture.

The heavy use of road lanes, one-way streets, roundabouts and other means of organizing traffic found within these mazes would make an urban planner smile, and will make players want to travel to various points of interest just to explore all that this app has to offer. Finding how to get where they are going, however, while negotiating the lanes and road blocks such as construction can make things challenging.

It may be an interesting choice for a future update to create a beginner level by removing the one-way arrows in order to simplify game play for younger children, although this app is a great exercise for learning how to follow a map that will contain detailed information about one-way lanes and spatial reasoning in general.

The realism of the car in use needing to drive head first, not backing up to drive is interesting, as white headlights are used to differentiate the front of the car from the red lights in back, but turning the car around to face forward can also be tricky, and it would be nice if there were an easier way to turn and face the correct direction.

The tutorial offered at the beginning of gameplay is enjoyable, but a written section about this app, the larger map, and the smaller connecting sections within would have been helpful.

This app with all its included details is stunning to look at - impressive to adults and teens possibly more so than to younger children who will also enjoy this app. The amount of game play is immense, with many hours of mazes for players to emerge themselves in. This app is best for those who enjoy longer games that will span over days or weeks depending on how long a time is spent on a given application.

Excellent for long trips, this app will keep track of one's progress - a necessity for a game of such length, as well as the games of three other players.

I do recommend this app for those who have the attention span to fully enjoy these mazes as well as have the patience to deal with a bit of a learning curve. This app will be a huge hit with puzzle lovers, giving them many hours of enjoyment.

I very much enjoyed all the sights one can see as well as the sounds one can find, such as the zoo animals heard with a tap, as well as fun, recurring elements to search for, including ice cream trucks and penguins. Quirky details are included that make me smile, such as the name of the player being incorporated into this app in a charming way as well as subtle animated elements that one should be on the lookout for.

This is the second app based on the books of artist Roxie Munro. I am thrilled that her artwork, such as lift-the-flap books or maze activities, have been developed for devices, and I hope to see more of her work transformed as well. If interested, please check out my review of Roxie’s Doors here at GiggleApps - a wonderful, less complex application that can be enjoyed by all, especially the preschool set and grade school-aged children.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventures screenshot 1 Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventures screenshot 2 Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventures screenshot 3 Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventures screenshot 4 Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventures screenshot 5
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