The title refers to the Labyrinth of Knossos, an ancient structure recently excavated on a Cretian island. At the heart of the maze is the so-called "Loony Machine", a Time Machine keyed to only work for Theseus, the warrior who is destined to slay the Minotaur. The player must explore the Labyrinth and find the Galopetra Stones needed to activate the Loony Machine, thus proving himself to be the reincarnation of Theseus. After activating the machine, he will then travel back to 2,000 B.C., rescue nine Human Sacrifices from the Labyrinth, slay the Minotaur, and return to the present day.
Loony Labyrinth was highly lauded by computer gamers, scoring 92 out of 100 points from Intelligent Gamer Online and earning the Golden Triad Award from Computer Game Review. Compared to LittleWing's earlier Crystal Caliburn, Loony Labyrinth is more whimsical and more forgiving, and never forgets to have fun with its premise.
A sequel, Mad Daedalus, was released in 2010.
Loony Labyrinth demonstrates the following tropes:
- All There in the Manual: Most of the backstory for the game is presented only in the instruction manual or LittleWing's web site.
- Alliterative Title
- The Chosen One: By collecting the five Galopetra Stones, the player proves himself to be this.
- Combos: There are six "Quick Move" opportunities, such as an inlane switch that lights up an opposite ramp. Making a Quick Move shot within four seconds rewards an increasing bonus.
- Human Sacrifice: The nine victims annually sacrificed to the Minotaur.
- Living Weapon: The Minotaur was created by the Minos civilization as an experiment in bioweaponry.
- Lost Technology/Time Machine: The Loony Machine.
- The Maze: The theme of the game, natch.
- Mineral Macguffin/Plot Coupon: The Galopetra Stones.
- Our Time Machine Is Different: The Loony Machine, which is either built into or incorporates the Labyrinth of Knossos in its operation.
- Precursors: The ancient Minos, who had mastered time travel and genetic engineering, among other feats.
- Retraux: The game switches to old-fashioned sound effects and musical chimes when the player travels to 2,000 B.C.
- Spelling Bonus: S-T-O-N-E collects the Galopetra Stones, L-O-O-N-Y starts Loony Multiball, while L-A-B-Y-R-I-N-T-H is used to start Labyrinth Multiball and rescue the sacrifices.
- Stable Time Loop: One occurs with both Looney Labyrinth and Mad Daedalus with the Looney Machine. In Labyrinth, the player travels to 2,000 B.C. with the Loony Machine, which Daedalus examines in Mad Daedalus. After the player returns to the present day, Daedalus eventually (re-)invents it. However, Daedalus cannot power it because his assistant lost the Galopetra Stones that power it, so Daedalus places the machine in the Labyrinth. it is excavated several thousand years later, and the player finds the Galopetra Stones, then uses the Machine to travel back to 2,000 B.C....
- The Place
- Time Travel
- Timed Mission: After rescuing the nine sacrifices, the player must shoot three balls into the Minotaur's Chamber to slay him before the moon wanes. Failing to do so requires the player to rescue the victims once again.
- Wizard Mode: "2,000 B.C.", which is only available after getting the five Galopetra Stones, powering up the Loony Machine, and activating it to return to ancient Minos. The player has to rescue the sacrifices, kill the Minotaur, and make enough shots to return to 1995 to successfully complete the mode.