Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time Review

2010 has seen two commercial Doctor Who games released – Evacuation Earth on the Nintendo DS and Return to Earth on the Wii. The former received lukewarm reviews while the latter, well, the less said the better. So how does The Mazes of Time on the iPhone stack up? The short answer is – much better.

The Mazes of Time quickly drops you into the action with The Doctor and Amy arriving on a space station responding to an SOS signal. It turns out the Daleks are up to no good and are after a piece of technology that could change history. Before you know it, the Cybermen and Silurians are on the scene and, as ever, things go from bad to worse for the TARDIS duo.

The game is, at its heart, a puzzler that basically comes down to getting both Amy and the Doctor to the exit on each screen. Of course, it’s not that simple as there are traps to navigate, switches to push and enemies to dodge or disable. Complicating things further is the fact that the characters have different abilities. For example, the Doctor is the only one who can push boxes, while Amy can crawl under certain obstacles. This makes for some interesting gameplay as you have to think about which character needs to be doing what at the right time. The game starts out easy, but as you move on through the stages it gets trickier with more complicated rooms littered with traps and enemies.

So how does the game control? Placing your thumb anywhere on the left brings up a virtual stick that moves the character. Contextual actions, meanwhile, are on the right of the screen. The controls generally function well enough, but we think a permanently visible virtual d-pad may have worked better. When it comes to some trickier manoeuvres, like navigating moving platforms over traps, the controls lacks precision and that can cause a few unnecessary deaths. Speaking of deaths, Amy visually appears to regenerate when she dies. Do Tag Games know something we don’t?

While the graphics are not as good as those seen in the Doctor Who Adventure Games, they are pretty decent for a mobile game. The characters and monsters are easily recognisable despite their simple nature. Environments are fairly detailed and varied enough and there is a fan pleasing trip to Telos at one point in the game.

The soundtrack makes good use of Murray Gold’s score, with authentic sound effects and enemy speech samples from show. One thing to note is that, unlike the other games, there is no voice acting from Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in this one, which is a shame.

The game will probably last you around 3-5 hours for a straight run, but there collectables and OpenFeint/Game Center achievements, which adds some replay value. There is also the promise of more content down the line.

Overall, The Mazes of Time is a solid and enjoyable puzzler that we can recommend to all Doctor Who fans.

Doctor Who TV Rating: 4 bow ties out of 5.

Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time is out now on iPhone and iPod Touch for £2.39 on the iTunes App store. An iPad version is available for £2.99. The game will be released on Android in 2011.