Oh, Marvin. You’ve got a horrible name for a hero, you look like Q-Bert without his nose and, if I said these things to you, you’d probably burn me with your laser beam eyes. You’ve also got a crazy home that’s been invaded by Robonoids (what did you do to piss them off, by the way?).
Marvin’s Maze is one of the many classic SNK titles recently released as Playstation Minis. At first blush, it’s a Pac-Man ripoff. Thankfully, though, Marvin innovates with two-tiered stages, different ways to clear the stage and moving platforms that change the layout of the maze. It amounts to a fun game that, while at times frustrating, is absolutely worth a look for fans of the ol’ yellow hockey puck.
In each level there are regular dots and power dots. They are localized in a few areas of the maze and, while collecting all of them will advance you to the next stage, the game allows you to, instead, destroy a certain number of robonoids. When Marvin grabs one of the power dots, he gains the ability to fire one laser blast from his eyes that can destroy robonoids it touches. The trick to racking up high scores is to line up as many enemies as possible before firing.
Robonoids move quickly and increase in speed as the game progresses, so getting enough distance to safely turn around and fire is part of the challenge. Thankfully, the mazes also have junctions that can move and help put distance in between Marvin and his pursuers. They can also be used to drop Robonoids into a pit (called a “trick”). The mazes also provide quick escapes at the four corners that transport you between the two levels. On one hand, you’ll likely evade Robonoids hot on your trail, but, if you aren’t careful, you’ll land on one. Because enemies keep moving, this is often unforeseeable and feels unfair.
Marvin’s Maze is a faithful port of the SNK arcade game (complete with all of the expected visuals and sound effects of an early 1980s arcade cabinet) and one of the gems of their recent brain dump onto the PSN. The game also features two-player hot seat play, so you and a friend can compare scores on the fly. If you are a Pac-Man fan looking for a variation on the theme and a new challenge, you can’t go wrong with Marvin’s Maze for $2.99.
Review copy provided by publisher.