Oct 21, 2014
Admittedly, the runner game category is a bit stacked. Since Temple Run, we have seen a steady number of development houses use the tried and true genre to encase game offerings. And why not? It’s an intuitive game type, with a bit of twitch elements usually tossed in, and varied environments to help frame the gameplay. familiarity can be an advantage in mobile gaming.
With The Maze Runner, we get the trifecta of running games: decent graphics, leveled gameplay and a current-ish book/movie tie-in.
Backstory? It’s based on the movie that is based on the book (that all have the same name). Young people and dystopia are all the rage nowadays, but kids killing kids isn’t at the core of this adventure; an actual maze with teenage runners is. The basic premise is that there is a maze, and the teens run to find a way out, careful to avoid the deadly “Grievers” that inhabit the maze.
The gameplay will look familiar to anyone who has dabbled into runners; the basics are present: three lanes, with obstacles that come into play. Gestures control the runner, as is usual in these type of games; swiping left or right causes the runner to dart right or left on a straightway, and to cut in the the direction of the swipe when the straightway ends. Swiping up causes the ever-forward moving runner to jump up, and a downwards swipe causes the runner to slide for a brief spell.
After the basics, the gameplay boils down to making it through the maze segment successfully in the allotted time. Some nice elements are tossed in, as noted, it’s leveled, and there are a few tricks up the games sleeve; first, the collectibles; a set of puzzle pieces need to be collected to successfully pass a stage and unlock the next part of the maze. There are gold coins and boosts hat can be collected; the former allows one to purchase stuff in the in-app store, while the latter help with directly with completion of the runs.
The game is ostensibly free, and makes no bones about requesting cash for the more of the suaver characters. The gold coins can be used to improve attributes too.
Familiarity is good, but The Maze Runner might suffer from being a tad bit too comfortable. It feels as if it doesn’t want to change the genre too much, and is comfortable as such. It does work with or without the surrounding story, and is a decent time-waster.