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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games

TMax by AIM Productions, Price: $14.99
Reviewed May 2003

AIM Productions has a way of making an ordinary game look brilliant. Case in point? The latest maze game TMax, which was developed by Bug Factory and published by AIM. On first look at the characters in TMax, you’d think that this game is something like Planet Side. Once you load it up, you will discover it’s a maze puzzle game with extremely good-looking graphics, animation and polished packaging.

In the year 2666 AD, Earth has to complete a test called TMax in order to join an Interstellar Intellectual Community. This test takes place in over 40 maze rooms with a deadly robot named Minotaur chasing after your heroes. This daunting task rests on the shoulders of Theseus and Ariadne, two model-like humans who will take turns in escaping the mazes. The game play is very similar to Mummy Maze. You start each level in a room with dividers and an exit. You must reach the exit before Minotaur gets to you. You can’t outrun the robot since every step you take the robot gets to take two steps. The only way you can beat it is to trick the robot into walking behind walls or into traps. How are you going to do this? The robot will always try to get close to you, but it will move horizontally first. Once you can utilize this design flaw in Minotaur, you will be able to move freely and escape from a maze that may have seemed impossible to escape at first.

There isn’t much AI complexity since the robot always behaves in a similar way in each level, but the maze layout will present you with some good brain exercise and challenges. The mazes are in a top-down view. Some levels are in more zoomed-in views; other levels look zoomed out with a more complex grid. The maze can be displayed in either portrait or landscape mode. Both the human characters and the robot are very well designed and their animations are fun to watch. The alternating human characters in each level make the game fun to play and each level feel refreshing. The puzzles are very well mixed in both layout and logic, though there aren't any hints if you get stuck.

There is no in-game background music. You will only enjoy nice music tracks during the title screen and when you exit the game. The in-game sound effects however are well designed with futuristic style. There is an in-game menu where you have quick access to level select, quick save and load as well as game settings including turning on or off the sound. TMax currently supports Pocket PCs with ARM, Xscale and MIPS processors and MS Smartphone. It takes about 2MB memory.

If you enjoyed brainteasers like the Mummy Maze, TMax will be another great title to improve your skills and keep you on your toes. The futuristic graphic design and animation make the game fun to play. Once you become the master of the maze, you will enjoy the satisfaction of trapping the meanest robot and walking out of the maze feeling untouchable.

Playing Hints and Tips

Number one thing to remember is that the robot always goes horizontally first in your direction. If you get stuck, explore other ways. Often the path seems the most unlikly will turn out to be the only way.


screen shot



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Great character design and lovely, smooth animation.
Sound Nice sound effects, no music though.
Fun Meter For maze puzzle fans, this is a great new title to try out. Cool graphics and animation as well as sound effects are bonuses on top of the well laid out maze design.
Addictivity Over 40 levels of challenging maze rooms will last you for a while. Even if you got lucky the first time you solved the puzzle, you might still run into trouble the next time you play. No hints will turn off some impatient gamers.

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