Doctor Who is a series that has been around for ages. Actually the Doctor has been around for ages as well. As an alien traveller he has seen it all, and together with a suitable young female he explores, investigates and gets into all sorts of trouble. The Mazes of Time stars the eleventh incarnation of the famous Doctor. At his side he has young redhead Amy Pond. Together they have to save a family under Dalek attack. It would not be Doctor Who if there wasn’t some sort of disruption in the space-time continuum. Puzzles to solve are located in both in the past and the future.
Mazes of Time is at heart a rather simple puzzle game combining sokoban gameplay using two different characters. The Doctor can climb over objects and push obstacles. Amy can crawl under them, and is somewhat lighter across weak flooring. Most levels involve opening paths for the characters to progress. Movement is done using a virtual joystick appearing wherever you place your thumb. Context sensitive action button appears when available. Changing characters is as easy as tapping the portraits found in the corner of the screen.
The levels are initially quite simple, and feel tedious. As the levels get more intricate the game starts evolving. Soon however the limited actions of the characters start to drag the game down. The same kind of solutions to problems you face isn’t fun in the long run. Movement is quite slow, and as the levels grow in size so does the boredom of slowly moving Amy and the Doctor. The controls become slightly awkward when you need to have precision, and timing. For example it is somewhat easy to walk off moving platforms when you only want to adjust the position of the character. Another weird thing about the moving platforms is that the character will fall off if you get any kind of message on your phone/iPod. The character stands still, but the platform keeps moving. Really annoying on longer levels when Words With Friends or Appshopper sends a message. You can of course retry the level right away, but still all progress on that particular map is lost.
The graphical presentation is dull, and feel lifeless. Blocky, and lacking details I am quite disappointed with it. Given the cool settings the Doctor travels more imagination could have been used for the game. Now it feels like any other puzzle game with some branding. If you remove the Doctor, Amy and Tardis it would be hard to guess that it is a Doctor Who game. The music is good though, as it usually is for Doctor Who. There is no voice acting at all, and the story is told in rather crude speech bubbles.
There are quite a few puzzles to solve in the game, and this is perhaps the strongest aspect. More than 100 puzzles, and some extras available through DLC. If you can stomach the repetition, and slow pace of larger levels this might be interesting to you. To me it turned from a fascination with the setting to utter boredom in a couple of hours. Much more could have been done with this license. The game feels sloppy, and for example you get all the dialogue each time you retry a level.
I am not sure if anyone outside the existing fanbase will find any reason to play past the first couple of levels of Mazes of Time. If you haven’t dreamt about Daleks, and tried to sound like one you will probably not want to play just to meet them. For the fan there is not that much to find either. All you get is a slow block moving puzzler with the likeness of the Doctor, Amy, Tardis and some Daleks. I advise to wait for price drops if you have managed to hold out so far.
Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time $3.99
Seller: BBC Worldwide LTD