Steam Game Review: Man in a Maze - Deathmatch (2014)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Friday, November 28, 2014 0 comments

"Man in a Maze - Deathmatch" is a quirky adventure puzzle game where you play as a character named Chuck.  Chuck has been invited to be a contestant on the newest, crazy, brutal, most exciting game show to hit the television waves, "Man in a Maze".  "Man in a Maze -Deathmatch" has you running through a maze filled with obstacles that want to stop you from winning an unimaginable amount of prizes but Chuck is ready to be a man and conquer this maze of death and win the jackpot.  Can he survive? (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

Despite the dark nature of the story, when playing this game the story progression turns this into a more light hearted and tongue and cheek feeling game.  When I say "story progression" I don't mean that in a deep way as there is little story to this game but there's enough to get you interested into wanting to know what this game has to offer.  There is one thing I found brilliant about this game and that is after you go though hell just to survive a level you'll find that once passed you'll get a cheesy prize like that you'll see on an actual game shows.  I know this isn't the first game to do that as "Smash TV (1990)" did that way before this game did but alas it is still a brilliant thing to see in the game as it adds humor and charm that'll put a big ol' grin on your big ol' face (metaphorically speaking as I'm not saying you (the reader) has a big 'ol face).

The way this game plays is that you have to go though small arenas and go around collecting diamonds that will unlock the gate that leads to the next level.  The levels aren't as simple as that as you have obstacles like robots and electric fences that will stop at nothing to get you.  Now you don't have to worry that badly as the robots can be killed by hitting "Power Towers" that will make a platform appear, that will charge up your weapon (a ball) and then you can throw it to destroy a robot.  It's a very simple concept and it works very well and you will have no problem going through this game as it is very beatable. 

The difficulty is as expected as the game starts easy and gradually becomes more harder but thank goodness you have an array of extra gadgets that will help make your trip easier.  Some of the gadgets include: Mines that will explode when a robot touches them, a cloaking device that will turn you invisible so that the robots can't see you, and a freeze attack that will stop the robots for a short time.  If that sounds too easy, you can replay the stages again as they have multiple objectives like "collect certain items" and "beat the level in a certain time".  While that may sound grueling and dull, it really isn't as it was really fun re-playing those stages.

Once you have completed a certain amount of objectives you will unlock bonus levels that all change the way that this game plays.  Some of the bonus stages don't play that much different from the main stages like how some have you going around and just killing robots with your ball, then there are some stages that have one simple change but that one change does a great deal to how it changes the game.  The bonus levels I really enjoyed were the ones where you got an "AK-47", go postal, and fill those robots full of lead making the hunter the hunted. 

This game does have local multiplayer with three extra characters to choose from.  Sadly I wasn't able to play this mode so I can't say if it was any good or not but I can say that I was a bit disappointed that you weren't any to pick from the other characters in single player mode.  I can also see why they did stick to the one character in single player mode but we could've at least been able to play as the extra characters after you have beaten the game.

Controls in this game are very simple as you use the "W, A, S, D" keys to move, "Right Click" to aim your ball, "Left Click" to throw the ball while aiming, and the "1, 2, 3, 4" keys to activate your gadgets.  The controls were also very smooth and responsive to if when you die it's all your fault.  The graphics in this game have a very basic but clean look and it works really well with this game.  Character designs look like hand-puppets and rag dolls but don't let that turn you off as they have a very nice charm to them and it adds to the humor of the game.  The designs of the robots that are trying to stop you look menacing and you know that you want nothing to do with them as soon as you see them.  The designs of the levels are very simple but no level looks the same so you won't become confused and ask yourself: "Didn't I play this level before?".

Music in this game is alright and does work well with the "Game Show" theme but my main problem is that there is only one song that runs from the start of the game, all the way to the finish.  I'm not saying that the song is bad but it just gets a bit much when you are having long sessions of this game.  I liked the sounds of the sound effects in this game and while they won't be all that special to many other people as it has a basic sound, I just liked at how clean it sounded and they help give you a satisfied feeling when you kill a robot or pick up some currency.  Overall this was a very simple, fun, and addictive game that will keep you hooked from start to finish.  Neat little title.

Game: Man in a Maze - Deathmatch
System: PC
Developer/Publisher: Small Green Hill
Genre: Puzzle, Adventure, Action
Price: $9.99 (Steam)
Recommended: Yes


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