‘The Doctor’ makes his debut on the iOS platforms in this top-down puzzle adventure game featuring the 11th Doctor and his firey companion Amy Pond. Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time sees our fearless time travelers race to save an innocent family attacked by a rogue Dalek and are hurtled into the depths of history. Your journey starts in the Cybermen-infested ancient Incan temples and eventually makes its way to a big show down with the Daleks aboard their ship. The game offers a nice trip into the world of Who.
The gameplay itself is a logic-puzzle style “escape the room” sort of game where you must position boxes or even Amy or the Doctor themselves on top of pressure switches on the floor in order to gain access to and then collect, all of the items in the room, before moving onto the next. Amy and The Doctor each have their own special properties which will dictate how you must best use them to retrieve the objects. In all, there are over 100 of these puzzles and after a while it does feel a little bit repetitive at times. In attempt to keep you on your toes, the game features three of the most popular Doctor Who baddies: Daleks, Cybermen and Silurians. Each of these races have unique movement patterns, so avoiding their death grips will require players to come up with different strategies in order to successfully complete levels. Their are 27 Game Center achievements to earn as well as 10 levels of play. With levels taking upwards of 30 minutes to complete, there is a lot of gameplay to be had. An additional three Christmas-themed levels can be purchased for 99¢ through in-app purchase.
You move the characters around the screen utilizing a dynamic virtual d-pad on the left side of the screen which follows your finger. While the controls are a perfect choice for this type of gameplay, the actual implementation feels a bit wonky and unresponsive. In fact this is really my one major complaint about the game. It seems like just when you are about to outrun a Cyberman, all of a sudden the virtual d-pad will just start getting really slow, or become completely unresponsive, forcing you to lift your thumb and put it down again in order to be able to move again.
The art team has done a brilliant job creating a rather accurate portrayal of Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. Amy Pond on the other hand, doesn’t quite do actress Karen Gillan justice. The game’s soundtrack is phenomenal, really setting the mood, making you feel like you are in a real Doctor Who adventure. All of the dialog is done through word balloons, and though while it is well written and keeps true to each character’s speaking style, I couldn’t help but feel a bit let down that it wasn’t recorded dialog. The game could have been that much better, had they been able to get the actors to record these lines as well. I guess the Cybermen and Daleks didn’t hold out for too much money, because they can be heard spouting their familiar catchphrases as they try to destroy you.
Being a huge Doctor Huge fan (more so the reboot of the series starting with Doctor 9, than the older classic Who) I really enjoyed Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time. To me it almost felt like I was getting a few bonus “interactive” episodes and it made me even more excited about the return of the show at the end of this month. While I suppose it’s possible that the logic puzzles may appeal to someone who’s never seen the show before, the game has clearly been made for the fans.
Releasing a game based on a hot TV or movie property, is often a risky venture, and one that generally does not pan out. Fortunately for Tag Games and BBC Worldwide, that gamble has paid off with Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time. From the moment you see the Tardis spinning through space and time, and hear the familiar ‘ouu-eee-ouu’ of the theme song start playing, you know you are in for an adventure. While the gameplay is certainly nothing groundbreaking, the Doctor Who experience that The Mazes of Time delivers is a fun and entertaining escape that keeps with the show’s universe and mythology. I hope is this is just the first of many Doctor Who games we see released on iOS.