TEMPLE TRAP - sliding puzzle maze



Temple Trap is really the kind of puzzle that I like to solve. I designed IQ-Fit and Bend-it because so many people seem to like abstract puzzles with balls. But I am not really one of them, I prefer games with a theme. I want to forget that I am solving a puzzle when I am solving one.

For Temple Trap the inspiration came from adventure movies. As a child Indiana Jones must have made a big impression on me, especially the scenes were he tries to escape from a temple with all the walls moving or collapsing. Because that is where this game is all about: You try to get out of a moving maze!


Temple Trap is a sliding puzzle on a 3x3 grid with following special features:

You need to slide the puzzle pieces but you also need to move a figure (the green pawn). The puzzle piece where the figure is standing on can't be moved, because there is a pin underneath the feet of the pawn that goes through a hole in the puzzle piece and blocks it. Sometimes your figure is on the right place, but your puzzle pieces are not. But often it's the other way around. You made the right corridors with all the puzzle pieces on the right place, except that your figure is trapped somewhere in a place where it can’t get out.

The corridors have 2 floors. The exit is on the top floor and there are two puzzle pieces with stairways that can connect the ground floor with the top floor.

The addition of a second floor was crucial to make this concept work. For 6 months I tried all kind of combinations of puzzle pieces, but the result was always disappointing. Easy challenges were possible, but really hard ones were always always easier the solve than the solution I had in mind. But by adding this second floor, the function of a puzzle piece could be double. It can be a connection if it is moved next to another tile with the same floor. It becomes an obstacle when it is slided next to a tile with a different floor.

top from left to right: different steps needed to solve an easy challenge of Temple Trap.

There is something special about the top floor. You can use it to go from one tile to another (by using the stairs to go up and down again), but you can't place your pawn there, if you want to move a puzzle piece. Even if you wanted to do this, it would be physically impossible, because there is no hole in those tiles.


One solution is shown in the booklet, but other solutions are often possible. That doesn't mean that they are easy to find. Just like any other sliding puzzle, it's not that hard if you understand how a sliding puzzle works (but most people don't). The difference with other sliding puzzles is that harder challenges need to be solved in steps. Although you can use logic to find out what the end position of a challenge could be and it is not so difficult to slide the puzzle piece to to match this position, it can be very hard to get the pawn on the right place at the right time.

Easy challenges can be solved in less than 10 moves. For the hardest ones you sometimes need more than 50 steps. In theory challenges with almost 200 moves are possible too, but most people can probably never escape from those. Temple Trap should be a maze not a prison.

update 2012: Some products can make a irritating scratching noise when you move the tiles. You can easily avoid this by making the floor of the temple where the sticker with the crocodiles is, slightly greasy. I took the silicone spray I have for my bike. I only used a little drip on a paper tissue and wrapped it on the floor. You don’t even feel or notice it, but the sound goes away completely.

update March 2013: You can now also play the game online at smartgameslive.com All challenges are different from the ones you find in the physical game, so both games are complementary to each other.

update October 2013: There is now also an App of Temple Trap, also with different challenges than the physical version and with better graphics and STARTER-challenges than the online version on SmartGamesLive


  1. Temple Trap on the official website of SmartGames

  2. Demonstration movie on YouTube

  3. www.gamesfanatic.pl (PL): Tajemnice świątyni – ruchomy labirynt


  1. Creative Child Magazine USA: 2012 SEAL OF EXCELLENCE AWARD (Kids Games category)

  2. Best Puzzle Runner-Up 2014: GAMES Magazine (USA)

If you liked this game, you might also like following SmartGames with sequential movements:


© 2011-2012: Raf Peeters

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