Dungeon Crawling Platformer’s are usually not my style of gameplay. If anything, I can somewhat find them convoluted, and cumbersome. In short, they test my patience, and my attention span. Lapis X Labyrinth (Pronounced simply as “Lapis Labyrinth”) though, is a harsh welcome for me. I love this game. However, the game can be confronting. And what I mean by that is essentially what’s thrown at you on screen, it can be a lot. Like a little too much at times. Is it overwhelming? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. Is it confusing? Yes. Is it a great time? Yes. The means justify the ends here, and weigh each other out in whole. NIS is known to create such vast and colourful layouts and maps through out their time of development, but I feel none come close to what is thrown at you with Lapis X Labyrinth. It’s overwhelming charm plays a factor in wanting to continue playing through the game, rather than it’s existential gameplay, and metroidvania style layout. It’s extensive style combat is key here, with taking the old-school platformer genre and turning it completely on it’s head.
Being completely loot driven, Lapis X Labyrinth promises nothing, but delivers an intensely zany good time. Jumping in, you’re greeted with a character selection where you may choose up to two protagonists to assist you on your quest here, to save your town from it’s on-coming demise. The story, and design play in part here, as the game tells why you must now loot every building or “dungeon” which is rich with character and plot to turn this charming side-scroller/RPG, into a deep time sink combat strategy game. Having four party members assist you as you traverse through this distraught town, you will notice it’s difficulty spike across different hoards of enemy’s you encounter. Diving deeper into the labyrinth, you will notice some repetitive tasks, which does become somewhat cumbersome, but it’s the fun design of the game masks this tremendously, with each colourful burst of collectibles that you will carry across your adventure. Stacking your party is a strategically fun time, with your part leader acting as the bottom character, with your move set being a basic three stack melee style combat. Your speical attack will use a directional input here, with your support attack thrown into your melee attack, makes for a satisfying feat.
Thankfully, through the title’s overwhelming UI, comes a simple gameplay style loop. Accept any quest given by the guild, head back into the labyrinth, collect as many purple diamonds as they demand, head back to the transporter, then it’s back to the guild to accept the next quest. It can be a little rinse & repeat, but with Lapis X Labyrinth, you’re not looking for the deepest or immersive style plot or gameplay, just a great time. The are numerous floors throughout the labyrinth with various tasks and quests to complete, and once you get to the final floor of each one, you will encounter it’s boss to complete said mission. You will have gated areas with swarms of enemy’s that you must complete to open your path, the one trouble I found with this was the screen would drop some frames when entering “fever” where the screen would completely cover in rainbows of gems and treasures. Each quest will have eight levels to complete, and once completing those you will then unlock the next mission with the difficulty spiking further, along with more treasures to gather.
You will have a diverse cast of eight cute and colourful classes to choose from, which breaks up the repetitive uniformity of the title. Hunter, Necromancer, Shielder, Maid, Gunner, Bishops, Destroyers, and Witches. Necromancers, witches, and bishops will use magic alongside their weapons, with bishops healing, and necromancers controlling spells, witches will rely on their crafting elements. There are different ways to mix and match each of your characters to craft the perfect troupe of hero’s. This also breaks away from the game’s fast paced style, to a slower, concentrated tone that helps break that repetition you will no doubt encounter at some points.
Lapis X Labyrinth soundtrack is awesome. If anything, it’s real catchy. Moments of chillstep electronica, followed by fast paced tempo with intense flair brings fourth this fantasy driven style adventure, with elements of old school gaming like chip tunes that sneak through. It’s almost old school meets new school style of music that makes me fall in love with the surrounding world that is put infront of me. Speaking of, the design of the labyrinth and it’s cast of enemy’s are insanely beautiful. It’s flair is mastered truly by it’s interactive’s, and it’s backgrounds. I’m only fresh coming off watching the Anime “Made in Abyss”, and this game’s charm completely reminds me of that series through and through. Cute characters, inspired by chibi anime, with an array of enemy’s that you will bask in from their evil aura, makes this game insanely good. My only gripe once again here, is we do not get an English dub. The voice over track with many of these style of titles, is once again presented with too many repeated lines thrown at you. I’m personally not a fan of lines constantly repeated to me, especially in a language I don’t speak. I can only assume directives are been thrown at me by members of my party, but I have no idea what they’re trying to tell me.
Lapis X Labyrinth caught me completely by surprise. It’s a great time regardless of it’s repetitive nature. Sure we see a whole lot of cumbersome dungeon crawlers out there try to master the genre, but I believe this title has exceeded expectations, tenfold. You don’t have a technical marvel on your hands here by any stretch of the imagination. It’s almost summed into the “Video Game Junk Food” column. It’s so good. It’s reward system, truly does feel rewarding. It’s great for new school and old school gamers, who just want a quick grind and it’s missions while cumbersome, can be completed within minutes. Aesthetically, this game is pleasing. By design, it’s awesome, by gameplay, somewhat convoluted. Sure, there’s the minor framerate skip here and there, but that does not take you out of the element at all. The game’s charm, and wit will keep you right into this amazing world, and will want you to continue exploring the labyrinth over and over again. I totally love the grind of Lapis X Labryrinth.
Lapis X Labyrinth – Bandai Namco AU
A Review code was supplied by Bandai Namco AU, for this review.
The dungeon-diving action RPG Lapis x Labyrinth puts you at the center of a high-octane treasure-hunting quest, where the danger is great and the rewards are even greater! Do you have what it takes to smash through hordes of monsters and traps to gain riches beyond your imagination?