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Portabliss: The aMAZEing Labyrinth (iOS)


Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: The aMAZEing Labyrinth.

When The aMAZEing Labyrinth launched on iPhone it lacked one key feature: AI players. For those who aren't chummy with folks at the bus stop or looking to get a game on with their cubicle neighbor at work, it was kind of a deal-breaker. The addition of computer players in the latest update changes all that. The aMAZEing Labyrinth iPhone delivers the wall-shifting strategic gameplay in a portable package that board game players have enjoyed for 25 years.

The objective in the core aMAZEing Labyrinth game is to shift the tiles of the labyrinth so your character can obtain assigned treasures. The flow of gameplay has players sliding a rotatable tile in from the side, followed by moving their character as many tiles as desired to obtain the item, or position their avatar for the next move. Lower level play has all players focused on obtaining their objective. At higher levels, other players will try to trap their competition within the labyrinth while obtaining their items.

Beyond the standard game, The aMAZEing Labyrinth also includes a puzzle mode and wizard duels (consisting of time, online and local). The puzzles are objective-based where players are tasked with using the least amount of moves to reach the goal. Initially, puzzles can be completed in one move, with latter levels becoming exponentially more difficult.

The other major mode are the "Duels." The time duels are the solo experience, with players pushing around a classic slide puzzle layout to make paths to treasures. The online and local duels are the same concept as the time version, have the same gameplay, but you're competing against another person instead of the ever-ticking clock. The local version also has the potential of turning into a horrifically nerdy version of beer pong.

The inclusion of AI is what makes The aMAZEing Labyrinth a true video game adaptation of the best-selling board game and its spin-offs. Without the competition of the computer, the app would have merely been a miniaturized version of the game with some online functionality. Playing the main game on such a small screen may not be ideal for the visually impaired, but for times when it isn't appropriate or effective to lay out the full board game, the app makes a functional replacement.

The aMAZEing Labyrinth is available for $3.99 on the iTunes App Store. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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