NOTE: This is an updated review.
A while back I wrote a review for Mazes & Perils, a 2012 Holmes-Basic Retro-clone from Vincent Florio.
The 3rd printing/edition is now out (or rather it has been out for a bit) and I promised then I would re-review it.
This new version is cleaned up considerably and it does look like it has been rewritten. It is still free and the idea here (I think) is to provide a means to play "D&D Basic" or provide a common ruleset to allow people to create Basic-era compatible works. As a goal, that is a pretty solid one really. At 61 pages it is also really tight and it is also free.
I do want to address some of the issues that plagued the previous editions, but only as a means to talk about the improvements on this edition.
Like I said, the text has largely been rewritten. It now reads less like someone with a copy of Holmes Basic on their lap, but instead someone that played Holmes Basic for years and scribbled what they could from memory. The game now goes to 12th level, which is a good place to go to be honest. Yes, it is only 3 more levels than the previous version, but those are three levels that really make a difference in terms of end game play. Have a look of Adventurer Conquer King to see the same logic at work.
There are only the four basic classes (Cleric, Fighting Man, Magic-User, Thief) and the four basic races (Human, Elf, Dwarf Halfling).
I want to restate the things I did like about the previous versions. Obviously the name of the game is a nod to John Eric Holmes' book "The Maze of Peril" and I can respect that. If you are going to do a Holmes' homage or pastiche then that is a perfect name really. Clearly the author has done his research.
Others have complained about the art. I rather like it to be honest. The cover is very cool and the interior is no worse than what you would have seen in Holmes. In fact I was under the impression that the art was exactly what the author wanted. "Good" or "Bad" is subjective. To me it is perfect for this book.
What does this book do? OR What is it good for?
Well if you do want a simple game to give you the feel of D&D Basic, then it works well.
If you want an EASY book to create your own "Basic Era" products then it is also a good choice.
If you want a game with lots of options, then maybe Basic Fantasy, Labyrinth Lord, ACKS or even D&D Basic/Expert will work better.
This newer version is cleaned up and is certainly an improvement over the previous versions.