What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Remember that show Most Extreme Elimination Challenge? That Japanese game show where contestants would swing on ropes over pools of mud or run up hills while dodging giant foam boulders? Well imagine that show, except instead of mud pits there are electrified floor panels, and instead of giant foam boulders there are deadly robots that want to fill you full of holes. That’s pretty much what Man in a Maze is… another major difference being it’s a puzzle game in development for PC, Mac, iPad and iPhone, due out sometime this fall.

The first thing that jumped out at me — and might to you after watching the trailer — was this game’s sense of style, it’s personality. The demented, overeager grin on the protagonist’s face, I think, sets Man in a Maze’s tone perfectly. It’s your task to guide this man through a gauntlet of life-threatening obstacles, all in the pursuit of prizes. But not some grand prize like a billion dollars, or, say, your freedom from this bizarre maze. No, the prizes you are contending for are mundane, like a new toaster or a pogo stick. Puzzle games aren’t too hard to come by, but puzzle games that have this potent sense of dark comedy are rarer.

Stealth is Man in a Maze‘s central mechanic. You must circumvent the dangerous killbots that roam each stage while simultaneously collecting coins and gems and all the lovely, shiny things that are supposed to be collected in a video game. But to get through 60 levels of dangerous security bots and deadly environmental hazards, you’ll need more than just your wits. Different weapons and power ups are available for use, like land mines, an invisibility cloak and the all-powerful ball. Apparently the protagonist of Man in a Maze has a hell of an arm, because this ball of his will explode a robot like it was shot out of a cannon.

Man in a Maze

Man in a Maze

Keep an eye out for this one. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun, and funny too.