iPad Game Review: Labyrinth 2 HD Reviewed by JadeDragon
Labyrinth is one of the most popular puzzle and board games, and with the support for accelerometer on iDevices, this traditional board game has found a new home. Illusion Labs made an iPhone and iPod touch version aptly called Labyrinth and it was fun and popular. Now they have released a sequel that rises above the original with a lot more elements for both the iPhone and iPad. Labyrinth 2 HD for the iPad has clear and sharp graphics that make you think the iPad was invented just for this game. But that?s not the most impressive part of this game, the most amazing thing about Labyrinth 2 is the sheer number of levels both designed by the developers and by your fellow gamers. If you have played them all, unlikely to happen, you can design your own levels.
Anyone who has played a labyrinth game on a board or on a handheld device knows that the gameplay is really simple: you get a ball and your goal is to move that ball to the finish hole. The more exciting elements in labyrinth games on a cardboard are usually some trap holes along the pathways to the goal, but the digital versions offer so much more. In Labyrinth 2 HD, you not only need to avoid rolling your ball into a trap hole, but you?ve got cannons shooting explosives and bouncer balls, security laser beams, bumpers, switches, magnets, fans and more to deal with. Combine these fun elements with some creative level design, you?ve got a challenging yet very entertaining game to play.
Labyrinth 2 HD starts you off with a tutorial where the game introduces different elements to the player. You can play around with the physics of the ball and experience the different effects each element has on the gameplay. Other than the physics (like what magnets, fans and cannon balls can do to the game), a big part of the gameplay also involves opening switches, pathways and even riding a Merry-Go-Rounds type of rotating table. You?d expect locked doors or laser nets to open once you?ve found the right switch buttons (just roll your ball over them), but what you won?t expect is that parts of the board can sudden become pathways as well as traps when you touch switch buttons. Now that?s cool! Another popular thing to have in a labyrinth game is multiple balls, and Labyrinth 2 HD has that. When you roll a ball onto the ?2X? button, it will become two balls, and when a level offers the ?2X? button that usually means you will need to manage at least two balls on the board in order to reach the goal.
It?s a lot of fun to have these elements in the game, but without creative level design the gameplay can get boring after a dozen levels. Labyrinth 2 HD is on the other side of the galaxy of boring when it comes to level design. After the initial tutorial levels, you get 14 packs created by the developer. Each pack has anywhere from 6-12 levels, and they are all labeled with difficulty levels. These levels have great designs that show off the unlimited amount of potential this game has. Even beyond that, you?ve got thousands to tens of thousands player-made levels available for download, and a level editor for the iPhone and the iPad version. Create your own levels are dead easy from a technical stand point, all you need is an active imagination. Some player created levels are much harder than the ones the developer has provided. Once you created your own levels, you can instantly share them, and test them out in the real world. To add even more fun, Labyrinth 2 HD has up to 4-player multiplayer mode that changes the gameplay dynamic dramatically. The game also has social networking integration for uploading achievements and scores.
The graphics in Labyrinth 2 HD look absolutely stunning. The wood board has a nice 3D effect where when you tilt the iPad to roll the ball, the wooden walls move with you. The physics engine feels right on target, for example, you can feel the fans pushing your ball or magnets pulling them, and when you hit the bumpers you feel like you are playing a pinball game. All elements on the board are super responsive and the tilting control using the accelerometer feels very accurate, which is a key to a good gameplay experience.
Labyrinth 2 HD doesn?t have background music but the game offers an option to play your own iPod music. The game does have sound FX and they are well designed to fit the gameplay perfectly. Sound FX includes the sound of ball rolling on different surfaces, cannons, bumpers, lasers, traps, etc., all make appropriate sound.
For traditional board game players, the digital labyrinth games open up a new world. And Labyrinth 2 HD looks futuristic thanks to the awesome graphics, inventive elements, moving 3D walls and seemingly unlimited number of levels. Multiplayer mode is a great way to get the whole family around the iPad for a challenging and fun game. If you are ever a fan of this genre, Labyrinth 2 HD is a great investment for endless hours of fun.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Absolutely sharp and amazing graphics. Sound: - 4.5 - No in-game music, but an option to play your own. Great sound FX. Controls: - 5 - Perfect tilt control, an option to change sensitivity. Gameplay: - 5 - Limitless gameplay, excellent level editors.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- When the game offers duplicators or ball resizers, it usually means you will need to use them to get through the levels.
- Some levels have multiple switches together, and you will need to hit them in the right order to open doors.
- In most cases the game requires steady hands and subtle moves, but some times, you just need to roll the ball through and hope for some luck.