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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Palm OS and Pocket PC games

Mummy Maze, by Astraware, $14.95
Reviewed October, 2003 by Korey Marciniak

Having played the Java version of Mummy Maze more times than I wish to acknowledge, I was very excited to see a port of it available for the Palm and Pocket PC PDAs by Astraware. The premise of the game is very simple: guide your explorer to the exit before the mummy can reach you. The challenge lies in the fact that your character can move only one space a turn, but the mummy can move two. This means in most cases a dash for the exit is not the best solution.

In order to escape from the maze, you must use one flaw that the Mummy has. The Mummy always tries to get closer to you horizontally first, vertically second. Using this nature against him and tricking him into the traps created by the walls in the maze is the only way for you to survive and get out the maze alive. Mummy Maze offers 3 levels of difficulty, and 15 chambers in each level. The difficulty setting affects the size and complexity of the maze, but does not make the mummy itself any more or less powerful. You can control the game either using the hardware buttons or stylus.

The graphics in Mummy Maze are about what we’ve come to expect from Astraware. Everything from the menus to the characters is clean and well designed. The levels themselves are displayed from a top-down viewpoint with strong 3D textures. The cartoon pictures used in the opening and game over screens don’t really fit the rest of the graphics, but it doesn’t detract from the game in any way, and is easily overlooked.

The sound effects are very simple, which fits the gameplay. You will hear the footsteps when you move and miserable body slamming sound when Mummy crushes you. I wouldn’t mind a mummy groaning noise or my explorer screaming like a little girl when he gets captured, but perhaps that’s just my sadistic side. Music is a fast pace adventure music style. Both sound FX and Music volumes can be adjusted or turned off completely.

Overall the game is solid, well designed, and more addictive than I would like to admit. Once you get the hang of it, you will want to keep coming back to stare at the maze that's challenging you. If you are the type of a person who wants to get a solution right away, you will either get very good at this game or you will give up early on at the game. The only other issue I had was that the info icon on the alert box was discolored for some reason, but all in all, this is a very well done title.

Playing Hints and Tips:

Having played this (and lost) many times, I have some tips for the beginners. First off, boxing the mummy in should be your first goal; the only way to this is to understand how the mummies move. Mummies will always try to get you by moving horizontally first. Once you get the moves of mummies down, you can predict where they go and plan your move. It will get more fun when you have multiple mummies in one maze in the later levels. They will kill themselves by bumping into each other if you make the right move. Secondly, don’t hesitate to use the undo button; I find it’s better to hammer my way through the first few levels, so I can get my brain in the correct line of thinking. Also you can use the solution page when you want to give up.

MummyMaze screen shot

Palm
Pocket PC

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Crisp looking graphics, solid animations, and HiRes support can’t be argued with.
Sound Sound effects are simple and the music is cheery.
Fun Meter Simple premise, and very little learning curve. However it can take a long time to master the game, especially in the later levels in higher difficulty settings.
Addictivity Very addictive game play, and it’s easy to get into. The 1250 unique mazes give the game very high replay value.


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