App Review: Theseus – Can You Make it out Alive?
Theseus is a great challenging puzzle game for the iPhone/iPod Touch. It is not a new game. Rather, it is based on a puzzle concept by Robert Abbott. The game board consists of a simple labyrinth type setup. You are Theseus represented by the blue ball on the screen. The minotaur is represented by the red ball with horns. One square on the board is a set of stairs. The goal is very simple; escape down the stairs before the minotaur gets you. If he catches you, he eats you. (Not recommended for younger children.) The trick comes in the fact that the minotaur is much faster than you are. You can only move one square at a time while he can move 2 squares with each turn. However, he must follow a certain set of rules. You have to figure out how to outsmart him and trap him behind one of the walls or in one of the corners of the labyrinth.
When you start the game, you may play any level you want. I highly recommend starting with level zero and moving forward from there as levels 0-3 offer a tutorial. This tutorial will walk you through a few labyrinths, teach you the rules that the minotaur must follow, and help you learn to exploit those rules to your advantage. If you want, the tutorial will give you the answer to these levels or you can try to figure them out on your own. I would at least read through the tutorial because if you don’t understand the rules, the game is much much harder.
Here are a few hints to help you along. First, the minotaur can move up to 2 spaces each turn but may choose to move 1 or none. He will try to keep the smallest number of spaces between him and you. However, he favors a horizontal move over a vertical one. He will not choose to move vertically until he is in the same column you are in. Second, the minotaur always gets to complete his turn before you can escape down the stairs. Just because you reach the stairs on your turn doesn’t mean you get to escape. If he can catch up on his turn, he can still eat you. Third, there are several buttons at the bottom of the screen to help you. You have an undo button that can back you up any number of moves. The reset button resets the game board so that you can start over. The hint button allows the app to make one move for you. This button defaults to the off position and will not work unless you enable it in the options menu. Probably one of the best buttons though is the wait button. Sometimes the best way to trap the minotaur is to not move on your turn and let him come closer. To wait where you are for a turn, tap the wait button.
At the top of the screen is a counter that keeps track of the number of moves it takes you to get out of the labyrinth relative to the smallest number required to do so. If you can get down the stairs with the minimum number of moves required, you earn a gold medal for that level. If it takes you more than that number but you still escape, you earn a silver medal. This is where the undo button comes in handy. When you undo a move, it removes the move from the counter as well. Also, if you find yourself and the minotaur back in exactly the same positions you have been in before, the move counter will roll back to the number of moves it showed when you were in that position the first time.
Theseus is a very cleaver and challenging game. With over 85 levels, it should last you for hours too. For those who like brain benders and puzzles, this is a good one.
Theseus is $0.99 in the iTunes App Store.