Island Maze – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle Game
Developer: Drageus Games
Publisher: Drageus Games
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Island Maze – Review

Site Score
Good: Polished, minimalistic design
Bad: Generic and uninnovative
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)

When it comes to casual puzzle games, there’s a lot of choice and with good reason. Although they’re usually just variations on a theme, a well-developed puzzle game can be challenging and addictive. In addition, casual puzzle games tend to be easy on the wallet. In today’s market, where AAA-titles reign supreme, a €2,99 game is a mere drop in the bucket for most gamers’ budgets, so it’s easy to be tempted to spend your hard-earned cash on a game hoping to find a few hours of fun. Island Maze is one of those games that tries to lure you in with the promise of a puzzle game at a low price. Even so, it’s worth asking the question of whether you should take the plunge, no matter how cheap the entry ticket is.


As this is, in essence, a simple puzzle game, you are thrown straight into the action. No story is presented here. In fact, there isn’t a single line of text to be found – not even a tutorial. You are left to your own devices in figuring out what to do. It’s a simple, self-explanatory situation though, and the absence of a story shouldn’t bother you, as the game is all about solving the puzzles you are presented with.


Island Maze uses a minimalistic graphic style that is very easy on the eyes. The appealing pastel tones emphasize the calm and relaxed nature of this puzzle game. The simplistic designs of both the island environments and the stone cube convey the physical nature of these objects without feeling overdesigned. It’s a far cry from photorealism but it does exactly what it sets out to do: a perfect example of the ‘less is more’ philosophy. Something like this can be hard to pull off and often makes games look cheap but when done right it works really well, and Island Maze succeeds in doing so.


Just like the graphics, the overall sound design is tight and minimalistic. There is very little in the way of detailed environmental sounds -you’ll only hear the thuds of the stone cube as you roll it around. There aren’t even any sounds coming from the ocean that surrounds each of the islands. You will hear the typical “gem” sounds that puzzle enthusiasts are familiar with from similar games whenever you pick one up though. Overall, there is a degree of genericness to the sound aesthetic here. This also applies to the music used, which is unremarkable and forgettable at best, and can be considered bland at worst.


The title of Island Maze is somewhat misleading: there are no mazes to be found in this puzzle game. There are islands aplenty though, without any walls, but with plenty of open plains instead. Your aim in this puzzle game is to guide a stone cube to a glowing square. This is done by rolling the cube across the islands. Movement is grid-based, so you cannot move diagonally. There are also gemstones and deadly traps spread over the various islands you encounter. If you roll the cube on top of these traps, it’s game over, unless you happen to have the gemstone that matches the color of that trap. Of course, that stone has to be on the side of the cube that lands on the trap. It’s a simple concept but it works surprisingly well, especially when multiple colors come into play. You often have to pick up gemstones in a specific order to be able to reach other gemstones. In addition, you need to consider which side of the cube you pick up a gemstone with, as getting the order exactly right is sometimes essential to roll over a series of lined up traps.

Things gradually get more complicated as different types of stones and traps are introduced. Certain gemstones are used to smash through obstacles for example, rather than just roll over them. Another example are sideways traps: you’ll find yourself pushing the cube through a shaft, but with traps lined up on the side, you need the correct gemstones on the side of the cube in order to slide down without destroying your stone. No mechanics are explained when you first encounter them either – you’ll have to figure out what to do by yourself. Fortunately, everything feels very intuitive and logical so you’ll never break your head over how an obstacle needs to be overcome. That’s not to say there is no challenge to be found here: every time you move the cube is counted by the game. After you complete a level you are scored by how many moves you made, the fewer the better. The number of moves to aim for is displayed in the corner of the screen, and there is an option to undo a move in the menu. There is no time limit to complete a level, so the turn limit encourages you to take your time and think strategically rather than rush through a level. The first few levels are easy enough as you get to grips with the mechanics, but later levels require careful thought and strategic planning. This ultimately leads to an almost Zen-like experience as you take a few minutes to carefully plan a path to reach a specific gemstone or to make a break for the exit.

Ultimately, Island Maze doesn’t bring anything new to the table, though. It’s a well-made and polished game but with hundreds of puzzle games out there, it doesn’t really do anything to stand out from the crowd. If you like the genre, you’ll find a good amount of fun here, but it’s hard to imagine anyone getting so enthusiastic about Island Maze that they’ll recommend it to their friends.


In a world where puzzle games are plentiful, Island Maze is just another drop in the bucket. There isn’t anything inherently bad about it but it doesn’t take any risks or attempt to surprise the player. The simplistic graphics and polished level design mesh together to deliver exactly what you should’ve come to expect from this type of game. If you’re in the market for a new puzzle game, there are far worse choices to make, but you won’t miss anything if you decide to skip this one.

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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Island Maze - Review, 7.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

1 Comment

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    […] be a fairly standard puzzle game that makes you roll a cube through a maze, similar to games like Island Maze. Even so, there was something undeniably intriguing about the way the game was presented in the […]

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