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Mystery Maze Of Balthasar Castle involves puzzles that may be enjoyable for young children. Unfortunately, it’s hampered by poor controls, grating sound effects, and repetitive gameplay, that leads to more frustration than fun.

Score 4.9/10

Positives
+ Puzzles and characters are child friendly

Negatives
– No replay value
– Grating sound effects
– Very repetitive

Platform(s) available: PC, Android, iOS
Platform reviewed: PC

Full Review
In Mystery Maze Of Balthasar Castle players must traverse fifty levels of puzzle mazes and bridge building, utilising the abilities of four playable animal characters.

The game begins by choosing the gender of the mouse character, then launches into a short cut-scene where a raven in a top hat announces that you will never escape, in-between maniacal laughter. While the 3D models are a good introduction to the atmosphere of the game, the story is never developed further. Being a children’s game I found this lack of player incentive pretty disappointing.

The maze puzzles are easily the best part of the game, with a simple difficulty that young minds will appreciate. A short tutorial explains how the mouse can pull leavers, the cockrill has a shield to block attacks, the elephant can clear debris, and the goat can jump over gaps then fill them with rocks. So, players just need to work out which order to switch between characters in order to lead everyone to the exit.

Ultimately, it’s all a process of elimination as there is only ever one character that can progress at any one time. For example, if everyone was trapped, there might just be a lever by the mouse, which opens a path for the elephant, who moves boxes blocking the goat etc.

The size of the maze and number of obstacles increases slightly with each level, and I appreciated the design of some of the mazes despite none of them being a challenge. The most annoying aspect was that some maps were unnecessarily large, with a lot of walking around in-between obstacles. It was made particularly annoying due to awkward controls – left mouse button was for actions, and movement was a point and click situation with the right mouse button.

In-between each maze is a bridge building segment that would have made for a welcome change of pace, if it wasn’t so dull. They reminded me of those children’s toys where you must push the correct shape through its hole equivalent. Players must pick up bricks with a crane and drop them into empty slots in the bridge. Each level adds an extra brick and accompanying hole to add to the tedium. It’s only made worse by the slow mouse controls and the crane sound effect, which is loud, grating, and made with every movement of the mouse.

Adding to the repetition was that are only two music tracks, one for the maze levels and one for the bridge levels. The 3D environments and assets are also all the same, so once you’ve seen one maze you really have seen them all. On finishing a level it is possible to return and play it again, (in any order) but there isn’t any motivation for doing so. The game could have been greatly improved with more diversity to give some reason to keep playing.

Mystery Maze of Balthasar Castle is close to being good. The characters and puzzles are child friendly, but everything just needs a bit more attention. Adding variety to the maze levels, such as a change in environments, new obstacles, or collectables would have added depth and given a reason to re-visit. As it stands, the game is much too repetitive without any real variation or challenge, even for young children. The end of each section isn’t challenging enough to be satisfying, there is only the feeling of relief that it’s finally over.

This review is based off a review copy of Mystery Maze Of Balthasar Castle provided by Libredia.

This review was originally part of the GamersFTW site, the servers of which have been taken down. It now appears on GabsTannerReviews out of respect for the developers/publishers that gave me a copy to review. 

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