When I was a schoolboy a craze one summer, around the early 1980s, was a moving maze game, called ‘Ave-A-Go-Joe’. I can find no mention of this now, and suspect that it was either the original (unlikely as I think it was handmade by a retired farmer) or a copy of another highly similar game called Labyrinth.
Labyrinth was a test of dexterity, consisting of a box with a maze on top with holes, and a steel ball that usually found its way down one of those holes. You had to tilt the box to guide the ball to the end of the maze - without letting it fall into any of the holes.
Labyrinth is a perfect game to show off the iPhone’s motion-detecting accelerometer. iPint is another great show-off demo of Apple’s accelerometer, but is obviously less family-friendly.
Over 500 levels you navigate the steel ball through basic obstacles while trying to avoid any of the holes that make you start all over again. New physics simulation means that you can now slide the edge of a hole without falling … if you’re skilful/lucky.
The ball modelling is superb, and you soon forget you’re playing a virtual game – and not the real thing… until your battery runs out or your phone rings – guaranteed to send the ball tumbling down the nearest hole.
One thing that would make this game even better would be sound. A metal ball rolling around a wooden board makes for obvious sound effects, and all we have now is our own groans and screams as the little ball drops down that damn hole again.
(The free Lite version has just 10 levels, but is still a great starter. If you can’t master those, I’d hold off spending £3.99 on the full version.)
The full version also allows you to download new level packs from within the game, and you can even create your own levels.
Labyrinth is addictive, fun, and free (at least for the Lite 10 levels), and a perfect show-off/time-waster for iPhone and iPod touch users.