Reviews | Written by Chris Jackson 15/07/2021

LABYRINTH CITY: PIERRE THE MAZE DETECTIVE

PLATFORM: PC, SWITCH (REVIEWED) | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Labyrinth City brings to life ten double-page illustrations from the the 2015 book Pierre The Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone. Originally created by Hiro Kamigaki and his pals at IC4DESIGN in Japan, the book follows a young detective, Pierre, whose job is to track down Mr. X, the evil villain who has stolen the super-valuable Maze Stone. We're all familiar with mazes – from your starting point, all you need to do is figure out a route to the end through twisting paths and dead ends – but The Maze Detective combines this idea with a big helping of Where's Wally (or Waldo, depending which part of the world you're in) and maybe a dash of The Busy, Busy World of Richard Scarry, hiding characters and items amongst bustling scenes and challenging the player to make their way to specific points along their way to the exit.

While the pictures in the book are, of course, completely static, those in the game are fully animated, and Pierre is able to interact with all sorts of things to find clues, solve some light puzzles (nothing too taxing) and for hunt collectibles. Many times he'll discover nothing more than a silly joke or pop culture reference, but these are almost always endearing thanks to the game's quirky and eccentric characters and humour. Beautifully drawn with bold lines and rich colours and plenty of detail, wandering through each maze and taking in the crazy amount of ridiculous situations that populate these animated illustrations is never anything less than delightful. Amusing and whimsical quips, visual gags and surreal scenarios are to be found at pretty much every turn, and the whole package is enhanced by a jaunty and upbeat French-tinged jazz soundtrack that fits the drawings and general mood of the game perfectly.

Playing the game as an adult, it's difficult not to be charmed by Labyrinth City. It certainly puts you in mind of the storybooks from your childhood, and it's easy to imagine this being the sort of thing that children today will have fond memories of when they grow up. It's a fairly short adventure – a grown-up can get to the end within 2 or 3 hours, although children may well take longer – but some of the hidden treasures and other collectibles might elude even the most observant player, so there's always the opportunity to revisit levels to mop up anything you may have missed first time around. Generally speaking though, it's a really laid-back, calm and gentle adventure that anyone with a youngster or two in the house should definitely take a look at.