Back in February in one of my NY Toy Fair trends articles I mentioned Laser Maze, the new single-player brain puzzle from ThinkFun. It was kind of hard to see the lights in the convention center but they were nice enough to send me a copy to play with at home and boy is it cool!
When Laser Maze first arrived I tweeted a photo of the game and I got a response along the lines of ThinkFun knocking off Khet – au contraire! – this game was created by Luke Hooper aka the inventor of Khet. So did he knock off his own game? Maybe in a teensy way — but this makes for a great single player game so I’d more say he “developed the technology behind Khet for single-player market.”
The game is simple; the instruction card gives you the location of some of the pieces on the board and then states which ones you can place anywhere. The ones that are shown on the board may have a fixed direction or they’ll show a question mark, which means you must determine the orientation of the piece; it just needs to be in that particular spot. There is one laser beam piece and when played correctly the beam will bounce off a few mirrors, maybe through a pass-through or a splitter and eventually light up a target or two! The game includes 60 challenges and in addition to the laser piece there are 6 mirror/targets, 2 beam splitters, a double mirror and a pass-through… oh and the cell blocker which seems lame but definitely makes a few of the puzzles harder.
Overall it takes a couple challenges to get used to what some of the more interesting pieces do – namely the splitter (see it in action at right) but after that it’s a snap. And I’ll freely admit that it’s REALLY satisfying to get the targets to light up! One note, I wouldn’t advise playing in super bright sunlight because the brightness of the targets is not quite as obvious.
The other thing I MUST mention is the box quality. Lots of ThinkFun products are packaged in boxes that aren’t intended to survive past opening — granted that’s because most of those products are self-contained or come with fabric bags. Laser Maze, however, comes in a really solid box. Personally I think this is great because my other ThinkFun games live in a giant basket in one of my many game cabinets – but I’d hate for these mirrors to get scratched up from the slight abuse they’d see in one of the baskets. So bravo ThinkFun! Thanks for realizing this game needed a nice, sturdy box!