Sometimes in games, you play a real square. Maybe you’re a space marine with the personality of a brick. In this case you play a literal circle. Mazement is a puzzle / platformer game that takes place in the brilliantly named land of Shapearea, where the sun has a smile and motion sickness is a mere formality. Your fellow circles have been sent to cages and it is up to you to navigate perilous mazes to free them.
Right off the get-go, Mazement starts off being proper fun. The controls, which work with both the keyboard and a controller, are tight and responsive. Players also won’t be left with just idly rolling around. Mazement contains power-ups, such as super jumps and levitating, to help take on the ever-increasing difficulty. Levels will start out with hazards as simple as gaping holes in the ground and move on to enemies that can one-hit kill players if they touch them. The entire point is to navigate each level, free your friends by rolling into their cages and get to end without dying; simple enough premise. For completionists, there are also coins scattered throughout each level that up your score at the end. Your score will also factor in your completed time and number of deaths as well.
It has all the basics of a platformer down: increasing difficulty, tight controls, and it is pleasing to the eye (for the most part). The art direction is a cartoonish and colorful experience. Each dungeon or maze section is absolutely adorable, but adheres to the rich, dark purples, blues and general color palette of the dungeon crawlers of yesteryear. Despite dangling over an endless, tower abyss the rotund hero certainly seems happy about things. He, and the other circles of Shapearea, all give little cries of victory and glee when freed from their prison or even just when they stick the landing of a risky jump. It’s cute. Until you fall off the stage, anyways.
Despite being a quickly addicting game, Mazement does suffer from one major issue. The accursed, shaking, bobbing and bollocks camera. Whenever you move around the maze, the level twists and turns with you, and does so on the tip of a hipster’s fedora. The camera is from a top-down perspective and stays firmly fixed on you while the stage spins every which way as you move. This nauseating movement quickly took a fun game that would have been interesting to play for hours into a migraine. It is unfortunate, too, because Mazement is otherwise a bouncy, challenging and all around enjoyable experience with a soundtrack that pops and a lot of charm to it in general.
If you can handle the perspective issues, definitely give this one a look. It’s got a heart, great movement, and a fairly scaled amount of challenge. Overall, it is an addicting little indie treasure that only really suffers from a rogue camera. If you’re looking for a good time-waster or just a jolly dungeon-crawler that bounces, Mazement will no doubt get you enthralled. It’s spherical shaped fun!
Simple shapes in complex dungeons
Mazement involves adorable orbs, cuddly monsters and platforming above an endless abyss in a dingy castle dungeon. Truly, good family fun for all.