Game: Lapis X Labyrinth
Genre: Dungeon Crawler / RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4)
Developer/ Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software | NIS America
Age Rating: EU: 7+| USA: 10+
Price: €29.99 | £26.99 | $29.99
Release Date: 31st May 2019
Review code kindly provided by NIS America
Dive into a treacherous labyrinth and plunder for loot and treasures as you rebuild a struggling community. Assume the role of up to 4 adventurers of different classes and team up against the odds.
The games main hook is the labyrinth that you explore in your quest to plunder gold and treasures. The games story centres around a small village in dire straits, they’re ecstatic that your band adventurers have arrived. From your arrival you immediately begin questing through each of the labyrinths increasingly tricky floors. As you clear each floor, you unlock new buildings back in town. It’s pretty simple and easy to keep up with.
It is however, a little disappointing how simple and minimalistic the story is. Small cutscenes of text boxes punctuate the action. I was originally under the impression there would be town building elements too, but instead any developments appear in preset locations within the small 2D town. It’s quaint and even a little charming, but a huge opportunity was missed not having any customisation. Your town hub is then also almost pointless as there is a shortcut menu that saves having to walk to any location anyway.
Tower Of Terror
An entertaining detail with this game is how your party of 4 fights stacked atop one another. You assume control of the bottom member and are free to switch at will. There are up to eight fighting styles, including; hunter, necromancer, maid, shielder and others. Each have their own weapons, special attack and support attack. You can also name and customise your characters a little.
I originally created a diverse team with a Hunter at the helm, when she fell however I found the other characters far less effective as their attacks varied wildly in range compared to Hunters simple close combat approach. I then quickly decided to switch my team to Hunters only, as the enemies often swarm your avatar so it was easier and more reliable to bet on close range fighting.
Over the course of the game, my interest quickly dwindled due to the then repetitive combat. The difficulty is severely lacking too as I continued against higher level enemies woefully under levelled and experienced very little punishment. As the monotony ramped up, I then unlocked the Dojo which rocketed my characters strength despite their levels and made the slog against ‘tough’ enemies even easier.
There are redeeming qualities of course. The combat is simple to grasp, and there is choice in which combat style suits you. The maze gets more… mazier as you progress and encourages exploration with the incentive of more treasure. While you’re fighting, the bright and energetic Fever Mode randomly triggers and fills the screen with gems as enemies fall and blocks are broken.
As previously mentioned, from the hub you can access a shortcut menu and quickly move between places such as the; Shop, Dojo, Café, Guild and more. The main menu allows you to view your fighters, change equipment and the game also has achievements. The soundtrack isn’t necessary memorable, but fits nicely and hums away nicely in the background.
The game is fun to play, there are some good ideas and it’s a very well built piece of software. It’s good looks and feel however are dampened by its unchallenging difficulty, shallow gameplay and lack of anything more meaningful. It’s a collection of good ideas that unfortunately fall short of the mark.
If however, a bright, cheerful and easy to grasp dungeon crawler is your thing, then look no further.