Maze 1: Subject 360
This game has taken the #1 spot of creepiest IHOG that I've ever played. I was looking for something dark and gritty to play, and boy did this one deliver!
Options include separate sliders for Music, Ambients, SFX and Voices, plus Full-screen (auto-widescreen), Aspect Correction and Custom Cursor.
Choice of three pre-set difficulties, or you can go with "Free Will" mode (choose your own difficulty options). Can be changed at any time.Story
You wake up in a room with no memory of how you got there, and a child's voice happily informs you that you'd better find a way out, or you'll never leave...
The game is reminiscent of Trapped: The Abduction
(not available on Steam), but with a level of horror that I've not seen since True Fear: Forsaken Souls
The story progresses through a series of cutscenes, clues that we find and interactive storybooks.
We don't exactly have Journal
... What we have instead is an objectives list with a tab for clues, including things we need to help us solve a bigger mystery - How did we get here, and what is going on in this town?!?
My only gripe with the game is that the objectives list pops open way too often, and we have to manually close it each time. Gameplay
Be on the lookout for two types of Collectibles
: Mad Head Games' logo
(one on each scene) and Morphing Objects
(only found in HOS). There is an indicator above the HINT/Journal area on the bottom right that is gray if you've not yet found the logo, and a scary face that's gray on the HOS if you've not found the morphing item.
Our inventory items are often interactive, and will glow green if you have items on-hand that go with them.
Periodically we'll be given choices, and the wrong choice can have grave consequences. You won't get a GAME OVER, but you'll see scenes a bit differently depending on what you choose. I now wish that I'd made more wrong decisions! I'd have liked to see what happens! lol~
We have an interactive, insta-transport MAP
that shows where we have unmet objectives and where we've completed the location(s), as well.
during the adventure portion of the game will either pinpoint something you need to do, or give you a directional hint.Hidden Object Scenes
vary, from finding fragments hidden behind objects to solving riddles to opening or breaking items before we can find the listed clues. It seemed like there weren't a lot of HOS and puzzles, but I was so engrossed in the story and what we were doing that I suspect this wasn't the case. Every little thing was so interesting that I didn't want to mis-click or use any hints/skips at all.
There are some situations where you have to get things done quickly. Hurry... hurry
, before time runs out! I suspect that these few sequences are skippable, but I was so immersed in what I was doing that I didn't check.Sights and Sounds
All of the sound work is perfect, except for the SFX used when we click on certain things (so annoying!) I recommend turning that slider way down. ;)
Prepare to immerse yourself in a carefully-crafted nightmare. Everything you see - whether it be cheery or foreboding - is designed to pull you deeper into this twisted world, and they accomplished this beautifully.
The voiceovers are excellent. I'm especially impressed with the dev's choice to use a bubbly child's voice for the antagonist. The stark contrast to our environment and the situation we're in makes that voice all the more frightening.CE Content
- Integrated Strategy Guide (as of the date of this review, Steam's version of the guide is not working, so here is a handy dandy walkthrough in case you need it)
- Bonus Chapter
- 15 in-game Achievements, each with three tiers (bronze, silver and gold)
- 44 Collectible Objects* (The squiggle part of Mad Head Games' logo)
- 19 Morphing Objects (only found in HOS)
- Bonus Hidden Object Scene
- Jigsaw Puzzle
- Character Gallery**
- 4 Wallpapers
- 19 Replayable HOS (shows time taken, accuracy and high-scores)
- Making of Video (includes concept art, before-and-after and how they transformed live actors into drawn ones)
- 14 Music Tracks (can be saved)
*If you miss any of the collectibles
, you will still have an opportunity to find them via the Extras menu! Just click on the collectibles part to go to a screen that shows you all of your found and missed logos. Once you collect them all, you'll unlock two new areas in the Extras:
- Bonus Hidden Object Scene - This is a really cluttered find-by-list scene, but new items-to-find keep popping in until you've found nearly everything on the screen! Same scoring as the replayable HOS.
- Jigsaw - Complete this to get some bonus dialogue with the antagonist (nice!)
**You must finish the Jigsaw to unlock the Character Gallery
for 9 of the individuals in the game. Here you'll find not just background info, but also the future fate of a few characters. Bonus Chapter
The extra chapter is partly prequel, and partly concurrent to the main game. We play the game from Howard - my favorite side-character's - point of view. I love this guy, and it was a lot of fun discovering what he went through while we were busy doing other things.
The bonus chapter is not necessary to understand the ending, but the extra dialogue at the conclusion of the jigsaw puzzle is an even better ending for the game.Verdict
:Maze: Subject 360
is an incredibly immersive and artfully-told horror, frightening on a level rarely seen in the IHOG genre. It's creepy, it's scary, sometimes nerve-wracking and cold sweat-inducing and I absolutely loved it! Highly recommended!