Night mode

Mystery Maze of Balthasar Castle Review

Mystery Maze of Balthasar Castle Review

My personal quest to understand how and why this game was made ended up being far more captivating than the game itself.


Written by on

Developed by

Published by


Genre: Adventure 
Release date: July 10, 2015

Mystery Maze of Balthasar Castle begins with a cackling crow telling you that you’ll never escape his maze. No motive, no reason behind it… You’re just trapped down there with your friends. This is the extent to which game offers an explanation of the plot and characters, and the gameplay isn’t much better. What begins confusingly turns dull and unchallenging, and my personal quest to understand how and why this game was made ended up being far more captivating than the game itself.

As I started playing Mystery Maze of Balthasar Castle, I was quickly reminded of a game I had played in my youth. It came inside a cereal box – Captain Crunch I think. I do remember that I had bought the cereal just for the free game inside. The game involved training a little creature to be its best by using a few repetitive mini-games such as jumping up an endless tunnel, and feeding it lots of cereal. By virtue of the fact that cereal doesn’t inherently have much of a backstory or plot, the game attempted to create one, and this little cereal box game ended up having lots of charisma and charm because of that. Despite this, the game was clunky, as if the designers had been rushed to get it on the cereal assembly line.

Mystery Maze plays just like that cereal box game. The characters and plot are introduced as if we already knew who they were and what’s going on. This left me confused but with little curiosity. All I knew is that the chicken with the French accent could shield everyone from flying daggers, and the mouse was the only one able to pull levers for some reason. This leads to the “teamwork” aspect of the game, but the puzzles present little challenge, and the most difficult part is moving the characters around using only the left-click button.

As the levels advance, the mazes do get more interesting; but once completed, my interest shuttered to a halt. Each maze puzzle is interspersed with the banal and tedious task of individually placing missing bricks into a broken bridge using a crane. No skill is needed and no sense of suspense is created. If you drop a brick into the lava below it only regenerates so that you can fill every gap in the bridge in order to tediously walk every character across.

“Why was this game so terrible?” I kept asking myself. So I turned to the internet. Since the game came out only a few days before, I found nothing. I looked up the company that produced it, Mack Media for answers. It was the third or fourth company down on Google Search, but this is when the real puzzle pieces came into place.

Mack Media is the media-production arm of Europa Park, a homegrown version of Euro Disney. They have rides, entertainment and, importantly, mascots. Each character in the pantheon of Europa Park seems to represent a different European Country. (This explains the French chicken.)

Another one of the attractions at Europa Park is 4D movies. I had to have this explained to me, having never been to a theme park before. A 4D movie is essentially an experience where, for example, someone on-screen jumps into a pool and the audience is splashed with water at the same time. What’s the new 4D movie of the season at Europa Park? Mystery Maze of Balthasar Castle. (Balthazar Castle is actually part of the park heritage, as it is the site of the first Europa Park location in Rust, Germany).

Suddenly, everything made sense. This game is merely promoting the movie! It explains the random shots of well-animated story, taken straight out of the movie, interspersed within the repetitive levels of the game.  It explains why the Goat is of Swiss origin, and why the game doesn’t even try to have a plot. The mystery of Mystery Maze of Balthasar Castle was solved! Unfortunately, this does nothing to improve the game. If you want a repetitive, frustrating and ultimate boring game experience, try looking in a cereal box before turning to Mystery of Balthasar Castle.

If you’re interested in Mystery of Mystery Maze of Balthasar Castle the movie, check out this great movie trailer. One can only hope that Mack Media is more accomplished with animated films than they are with game design.

Grade: D-
Now I want to go to Europa Park to meet the French chicken
– Simple and tedious puzzles
– Flat characters and nonexistent plot
– Clunky controls

System Requirements
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8
Processor: Dual Core 2.4 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 256MB


OS: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
Processor: Dual Core 2.4 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 256MB


Molly Johanson

Molly Johanson

Spending hours playing Escape from Monkey Island, Nancy Drew and Frogger as a child really helped prepare Molly for her adult life. Weaving through pedestrian traffic and solving the mystery of "Where did all my money go?" is the reality of life in New York City. Molly is continuing her life-long adventure game education, and hopes you will too. Molly also loves comics, and currently works in book production and design. Check out to learn a little more.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.