Do you like solving puzzles? Do you like lasers? What about solving puzzles that involve lasers? If so, Laser Maze definitely deserves a place in your home. Seriously, you get to bend laser beams of light with mirrors or split a laser into two beams all while trying to solve unique and increasingly complex puzzles. It is amazingly fun and satisfying, and maybe even a bit frustrating sometimes, but in a good thinky pain kind of way.
Laser Maze is available in its original format and also as Laser Maze Jr., which is specifically designed to be enjoyed by the younger members of your family. For this review, Laser Maze Jr. was used. Some of the specific differences between the two versions and why we choose the Jr. edition come at the end of this article. For now, let’s get in to how awesome Laser Maze is.
In my youth, solving puzzles and strategy games specifically designed for a single player was an enjoyable and favored past time for me. Then adulthood set in and time for such activities seemed to slip away. Later, when I got into modern board gaming, a goal was to have a shared social experience. Playing board games, for me, equaled socializing with friends and family. Later still, and there’s a child in the picture and my time is once again restricted. Enter the desire to still play games, to challenge myself, and to have fun in a tactile, offline manner and we reach the time where I’m seeking out games that are designed for a solo experience or games that I can play and enjoy with my son, either now or when he is a little older.
Laser Maze certainly fits the bill, on all accounts. Even though I have Laser Maze Jr., the puzzles rated difficult are in fact difficult to figure out, even for me and my wife (who has a Master’s Degree in Engineering). Some have even stumped us entirely. Most of the puzzles, for an adult, offer a decent challenge and therefore grant a nice amount of satisfaction when they are finally solved. For my son, he’s more interested in playing with the pieces and finding all of the neat ways he can bend the laser than actually solving a puzzle. He is also quite content to just arrange and rearrange all of the different components on the board. But he’s young and this is the kind of puzzle/toy/game that he’ll grow into. Because of the increasing difficultly of the puzzles/levels, it will actually grow with him, increasing his problem solving and spatial skills as he continues to develop. Even though Laser Maze Jr. is a single player game, I look forward to sitting down with my son and helping (or just watching) him figure it out.
Playing Laser Maze, trying to solve one of its many puzzles, is fairly straight forward, although quite challenging at times. The game comes with 20 double sided cards that portray each of the puzzles. The puzzles increase in difficulty as you advance through them. These challenge cards show a graphical representation of the game board and show where each of the starting components must be placed, as well as how many additional components must be used. It is then up to you, the player, to arrange all of the components in order to bend the laser beam so that it hits the target. Trust me, you will be challenged.
The components are top notch. The mirrors, “space rock” blockers, beam splitters, and targets are all fine-looking custom plastic pieces and fit nicely on the board. The laser has a large On/Off switch and is actually part of the game board/grid itself. The pieces are big enough they won’t get lost easy and will stand up to accidently being dropped from the table.
The storage solution for Laser Maze Jr is great. The plastic insert is custom molded and has a spot for each individual piece. It all fits, perfectly, every time. Nothing rattles or bounces around.
Replayability is decently high. With 40 levels of different puzzles to solve, you’ll invest a lot of time with the game before you finish all the challenges. Laser Maze Jr. is also fun to just play with, kind of like a toy. It is fun to play around and try to get the laser to do what you want. You can easily set up challenges for yourself (or others), which greatly expands the replayability factor.
Laser Maze is fun for both children and adults. It is a great way to pass the time and actively engage your brain at the same time. The relatively small footprint makes it great for taking on road trips or leaving partially set up on a desk. If brain teasers and puzzles are your thing, certainly check out Laser Maze. You’ll be glad you did, it is really quite fun, challenging, and rewarding.
***** There are two versions of Laser Maze: the original and Laser Maze Jr. Because we have a child and have safety concerns (we don’t want him shining the laser in his eyes or into the eyes of other people) we choose Laser Maze Jr. Both versions offer the same fun and challenging puzzle solving experience, but the Jr. edition was created with children in mind. In Laser Maze Jr., the laser is attached to the game board. There is also a wall surrounding the perimeter of the board. Both of these features make it very difficult to abuse the laser, but in no way diminish gameplay. Laser Maze Jr. features a moon/space theme that isn’t found in the original version. All of the components in the Jr. edition share this theme, meaning the target isn’t just a target but a rocket that you are trying to ignite. And the mirrors look like satellite dishes. The original version of Laser Maze steps up the challenge with 60 new puzzles to solve.