A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn about logic and strategy. They'll pick up coins they find in mazes, and can put them in a tip jar for the creator at the end, which offers basic addition, subtraction, money management practice. Provides some basic reading practice, and design tool offers opportunity to be creative. Main educational benefit is chance to use and potentially strengthen critical thinking skills, such as problem-solving abilities, when designing and trying to navigate mazes -- although kids will have to learn without much help, most likely by testing out design options and repeating maze attempts.
Ease of Play
Players can test out aspects of the game through eight sample mazes, although most contain very little instruction.
Violence & Scariness
Players can die due to potholes, spikes that shoot up from the ground, and other dangers. In some instances, their body splits apart into small pieces.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The female avatar wears a bra and panties, and the male one wears underwear, presumably until you unlock the ability to get additional clothing.
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Products & Purchases
The app is free to download and use, at least initially, but its App Store and Google Play listings include a $19.99 to $23.99 annual subscription fee.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mazecraft is a kids puzzle game for iOS and Android devices. Players aren't penalized for failing to complete a maze -- they can quit out of them or, if they die while trying to finish, can attempt the maze again until they do. While deaths happen fast, they can be a bit gory. Make contact with a skeleton, for example, and the avatar appears to explode into numerous small pieces, and some blood is visible. Players are dropped into mazes with little instruction, and some can be confusing. The app also doesn't clearly explain how players can level up or other key gameplay aspects. They can build as many mazes as they like but can publish only 10. The app is free to use, but a subscription cost may come into play. Characters, regardless of their male or female avatar, are also shown in their underwear during play.
Is It Any Good?
At first glance, the chance to play and design maze-oriented games seems great, but the lack of instructions and the varying quality of each maze can complicate your fun. In Mazecraft, players can publish only 10 mazes but can create an unlimited amount, customized with elements such as doors, booby traps, bunnies, and other creatures. There aren't many details about how the design tool works, but it isn't too hard to figure out how to select, add, and move items through trial and error. Other aspects involved in creating a maze, though, can be more confusing. As a player, you are told you can have only one design theme -- a Greek maze -- until you unlock level 2. But it's unclear what level 2 is exactly, or how to reach it. When you try to publish a finished maze, you're also told you need to give friends a secret code to access it because your creation will only be available on the app's public maze listing once it has gotten a few ratings. That's not necessarily true, since published mazes can appear in a matter of hours on the Latest board, which contains recently made games.
Other sections are equally unclear. Mazes provide very little instruction, so you'll have to figure out how to use items and solve puzzles, which isn't always very helpful. Before you can publish a maze, you have to complete a trial run to prove that it can be finished, but faulty mazes can get you stuck in areas without an idea of how to get out. Other mazes may prompt you for a password before you can cross the finish line. Like other apps based on user-submitted content, quality and consistency can be an issue. Controls can also be glitchy, making it hard to react when you need to quickly bypass hazards. With better controls, instructions, and more tool help, Mazecraft could provide an opportunity for creativity and play and a chance for kids to use logic skills. But with its current format, it's all too easy to get stuck or get tired of cranking out mazes, making Mazecraft more frustrating than fun.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.