Review: Doctor Who – The Mazes of Time by Tag Games and BBC Worldwide LTD

Join The Doctor and Amy Pond as they travel through time and space to help a family torn asunder by the machinations of an evil Dalek, meeting other famous foes on the way!

The game starts with the Doctor and Amy investigating an SOS call from the Jones family as an unknown creature has infiltrated their ship and is now in the engine room. The intrepid pair take a peek into the engine room to find a Dalek scientist fiddling with the time engine and before the Doctor can intervene – all chaos breaks loose resulting in the Doctor being called upon to save the Jones family from the caverns of history.

To be honest, due to the calibre of the name connected to this game, I wanted (make that expected) the game to be as perfect as possible – and neither I nor the BBC have been let down on this subject. The game is breathtaking on the iPod and the well known music on the main menu and within the game is superb. From the moment I started the game, I knew that this was going to be a joyous experience. The TARDIS spinning through space and time accompanied by the fantastic theme tune had me excited just to start the game and I had only gotten as far as the main menu at that stage.

My first thought was whether or not the balance of the game would be honed for both adults and children, given that Doctor Who has a wide range of fans of all ages, but again I was not found wanting. Thinking that the game may indeed be child’s play I set off in a similarly cavalier fashion and within seconds of the game starting I had accidentally hurled the Doctor into an electric fence! I assure you that my game playing skills are usually somewhat better than that so, to have the Doctor’s demise take place at my hand so quickly into the game, I was more than a little embarrassed; I‘m now sharing that information with you, so I am more red-faced than ever. What I am trying to say, in a very awkward way admittedly, is that the game is by no means only for children – there is a lot of problem solving and negotiating barriers to work through with the various characters to get around each room. I would think that adults will enjoy the game as much as children.








Some of the rooms are fiendishly tricky and this is where the fun lies, sometimes you can see exactly what you need to do but executing your plan is harder than you think! At first I was mildly cross that Amy was told that she couldn’t push blocks around but that the Doctor can with gusto – ‘Amy is feisty and strong!’ Thought I ‘Why can’t she move the blocks!?!’ in some sort of defence of the sisterhood. I then considered that, in the game there is a nine hundred year old time traveller dressed in a bow tie, a series of crazed aliens, sonic screwdrivers, a policebox that can time travel – it’s possibly best to suspend disbelief at that stage so whether or not Amy could move a box in real life became significantly less important. The point of Amy’s lack of box moving skills don’t really come into it though as Amy can traverse areas that the Doctor cannot fit into or is too heavy so they each have their special skills which in a game such as this, is vital.

When it comes to their skills, the fact that you can’t always see what difficulties lay ahead makes you consider which character you need to send forth first. For example, you may dance across a series of obstacles as the Doctor, laughingly thinking that this level is easy! Until you realise that the floor at this point is troublesome and you need  Amy – but she is on the other side of an obstacle. The puzzles truly are surprising as you don’t always expect to come across such adversity. As well as hotfooting it across rooms to collect items, you also need to avoid enemies such as the terrifying Cybermen and this can be a challenge in itself when you are trying to navigate a safe path. Coupled with the mechanics of some of the rooms where, you know what you need to do but whether or not you can do it without your character plunging to their doom or being slightly impaled on ancient spikes is another matter altogether. It put me in mind of Manic Miner in this way – you can see what you have to do but timing is crucial.

The mechanics of movement in the game are inspired and, unlike some other games that I have played recently, moving around the rooms was easy and didn’t involve huge thumb stretching exercises beforehand. I really liked the way that you can almost pull the characters around the rooms and swapping between characters is a breeze, it even occurs when needed on some occasions (such as when one character has reached the exit in a room) so this intelligent method of movement is very much welcome.

The cut scenes within the game don’t seem to drag and are only displayed when necessary. The dialogue text that accompanies each character is witty and fun and very much in keeping with the style of the great Timelord as portrayed by the fantastic Matt Smith. The banter between the Doctor and Amy is exquisite, as in the TV show.

The storyline is very well constructed leading to a dramatic climax as it should be and with other content packs available, there are so many adventures to enjoy in this game!

If I were to make any criticism, and it really has been a struggle to find something that I didn’t like in this game, I would say that it could have been improved by the actors themselves voicing the characters. Then again, this is a game on a device which has limited capacity and it probably wouldn’t have been appropriate size-wise to add the voices. It still doesn’t stop me wanting them though to add to the pure authenticity of the game.

I also was slightly confused as to why Amy regenerated when dying as she is not a Timelord (Timelady?) but I daresay it is a less terrifying graphic than having her die as a human so this may have been the reason – don’t have nightmares. I did find one small text error but that is due to my software testing background and the fact that I am ridiculously eagle-eyed but it doesn’t affect the game play in any way. The realistic characters make the game very much part of the Doctor Who franchise and this game is a must for fans and game fans alike. I highly recommend that you take a look at the game and enjoy the thrills and spills of the ride with the adventure seeking Doctor!

Doctor Who – The Mazes of Time is available in the iTunes Store for £0.69


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