|Mazera by Astraware,
Reviewed November 2004 by Tony Peak
In Mazera you play as Ix, kidnapped as a boy by the Mazerians,
you are now just an exhibit in their alien zoo. That is all
about to change however, when one ordinary day a strange
fruit grows in your habitat you have never seen before. Not
being an overly caution one, you say what the hay and gobble
it down. And so begins your adventure home.
Mazera is at its heart a puzzle type adventure, deeply infused
into an adventure game engine. Rather than simply give the
user a series of levels or stages to clear, Mazera instead
presents a complete world and builds the puzzles into the
world itself. As you wonder around the over-world map and
into various sectors and puzzles, it's hard not to be reminded
of the Legend of Zelda, only without the weapons and with
a stronger focus on puzzle solving. Mazera would have been
fun as a series of challenges or levels, but as a complete
adventure it really shines. On your quest you'll find enemies
to outwit, allies to help, traps to avoid, secrets to uncover,
and even a mini-game or two.
Everything is quite well coded throughout, the enemies all
respond well and I noticed very few bugs or odd glitches
in the AI or puzzles. While the game can be tricky at times,
overall it's very relaxing to play for long periods of time.
I don't feel the game was too easy, but even the toughest
puzzles could be figured out with a bit of thought and some
trial and error. It's a really good mix of being possible
and logical, yet without being obvious. I often pulled up
a game just for a few minutes and ended up playing for an
hour or more.
The tilemaps and sprites are overall quite impressive, and
I like how smooth everything moves. While it can be a bit
hard to judge your exact position at times in the beginning,
it really gets easier with play. The sprites and tiles all
look very professional, varied, and clean. The sound goes
so far as to include a commissioned 30 minute musical score,
which is great considering the length of time you'll be playing
this in one sitting.
If you're a puzzle gaming fan with a fondness of the adventure
games of old, it's hard to go wrong with Mazera. While it
may be a bit steep for some gamers, the production quality
is solid all around. The quality easily matches a Game Boy
level game. I really don't think anyone who's not dead set
against games above a certain price point will be disappointed
with their purchase. It's great to see such a complete package
on the Pocket PC.
Playing Hints and Tips
- If you're stuck, try some brute force tactics and see
what works. You've got unlimited tries, so just look carefully
at what happens and soon enough you should see the answer.
Also, use can reset a room from the menu.
- If you push a block against a wall, then push it again,
it will flip around you. This is one of the handiest moves
in the adventure.
- It seems if you get all the map pieces, a secret area