You thought those Boston Dynamics robots were creepy? They’ve got nothing on Automatron, the big bad in Maze Machina – a mash-up of robot Skeletor and mad inventor, obsessed with making mini-hims for nefarious purposes.
In Maze Machina, you get to be the mouse dumped into the ever-changing maze Automatron made to test his creations. Your aim: survival. Your chances: bleak.
What’s it all about, then?
If you’ve played any Arnold Rauers games – Card Thief; Miracle Merchant; Card Crawl – you’ll have an idea what to expect. We’re in turn-based swipe-puzzling territory, cramming complex roguelike and RPG rules into the gaming equivalent of a shoebox.
In terms of controls, there’s a smattering of Threes!, with each swipe moving every object on the four-by-four grid. But also, a tile-based system means every space becomes a power-up, drawn from a pool of 20 items, which you and your mechanical foes can use.
Needless to say, grabbing the key and getting to the exit without being killed is not easy.
Is it any good?
Very much so. From an art perspective, this is way beyond previous Rauers efforts, with lovely handcrafted characters that bring to mind classic animations. But the game’s mechanics are the real star. The sheer number of combinations from the tiles forces you to consider every move – and success becomes even harder in modes where you’ve limited turns.
There are minor niggles: the game may baffle at first; and it can sometimes feel a bit sluggish as units go about using their objects. But every Rauers effort so far has been an easy recommendation, and Maze Machina is his best game to date.