Amaze

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Amaze App Poster Image
Visually monotonous maze simulation has clever concept.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

Touchscreen controls take some getting used to. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Amaze is a maze simulator that challenges players to find their way through a closed maze using two-handed touchscreen controls. Mazes become increasingly difficult, and players must use elevators and avoid trapdoors while trying not to be caught by a nameless enemy stalking them through the halls. Presentation is simple and completely abstract; there's nothing at all in the way of violence, language, sexuality, or any other objectionable content. Note: At the time of review, the developer offered no privacy policy on its website.

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What's it about?

AMAZE challenges you to find your way through multiple-level mazes using simple tools and your own sense of direction. Beginning with one of three maze types (Space, Dark, or Fire), you're dropped into the lowest level of an enclosed maze with limited access to a compass, markers, and a temporary force field. A brief tutorial explains how to use the left side of the screen to move and the right side to tilt the camera. The object of the game is to find your way up through several maze levels -- rising via elevator platforms and avoiding dropping through timed trapdoors -- to a glowing exit point. You earn your score according to how long it takes you to get through the maze and how many steps you take, and levels can be replayed if you feel like beating your personal best. Along with trapdoors that can slow you down, a nameless enemy stalks the halls waiting to hit you with a disorienting "zap." 

Is it any good?

This puzzler does a good job of teaching you how to use its touchscreen controls and ramping up the complexity of its multilevel mazes, but it lacks variety. Mazes have intrigued us for thousands of years, since the myth of the Cretan minotaur, and the app tries to tap into that, since the notion that something's following you through these passages is a great recipe for suspense. The controls are somewhat clunky at first, but once you get the hang of them it's easy enough navigating and/or fleeing from your anonymous enemy. Through the simple sound design, players get just the right cues to warn of impending doom via trapdoor or enemy. Even though there's some problem-solving involved, it's much more about hit-or-miss than truly using your wits to solve a puzzle. Ninety levels are spread across three visual themes, but the differences between them are minimal and don't have enough effect on gameplay. The resulting monotony discourages long play sessions. The app's store page indicates more themes will be available down the line; its entertainment value could rise dramatically if those prove more inventive. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about where else they've encountered mazes. Have you been in a maze in real life or seen one on TV or in the movies? How are they like or unlike the puzzles in Amaze?

  • Mazes date back thousands of years to ancient cultures such as those of the Greeks and the Egyptians. Discuss what, historically, mazes have been used for. 

  • Think about how mazes are made. What would your maze look like? 

App details

For kids who love puzzles and problem-solving

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