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Lapis X Labyrinth

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 4 - 2019

Put your team on your head and go collect some treasure.

Sometimes, it is nice to drop into a game with deep systems to learn and invest the time to master it. Other times, players may want something a little bit simpler, while still gratifying. The fast food of gaming. This is how I would class NIS’ Lapis X Labyrinth, a glorious burger of an action RPG that is simple but oh so satisfying. Damn, I am hungry now…

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There is a nice little back story to Lapis X Labyrinth that gives the player some context as to why they are going into dungeons and collecting loads and loads of treasure, not that there is really much needed. The back story revolves around a small town that has fallen on hard times since the local labyrinth has fallen out of favour with adventurers. As an adventurer with a thirst for treasure, the player will create a small team of heroes and take them into the labyrinth, not just to fill their pockets, but also to get the town back up and running. This obviously means that as the player takes on more quests in the labyrinth, the hub town will grow and be able to offer more services to the player. Everyone’s a winner, but mostly the player.

And the player is winning because the gameplay in Lapis X Labyrinth is just so much fun. It is also nice and quick, in the time limit added to each floor of the labyrinth, and in the way enemy monsters can usually be dispatched with a simple couple of hits. There is a tutorial at the beginning that will give the player the low-down on what they need to know in order to start collecting all of that lovely treasure, but there is not that much to worry about here and the gameplay is easy to pick up.

That being said, there is something a bit strange going on. The player will be able to take a team of four heroes into the labyrinth at a time, and there are eight different classes to choose from, from priests and witches, to maids and gunners. Each class brings their own special attack for the player to make use of, and it is the combination of different classes that the player chooses to take into the dungeon that will give players the chance to customise their team to however they choose to play. There are loads of different combinations, and so experimentation and understanding each classes different abilities are the order of the day.

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So, back to the strangeness. Once a team of four have been selected, the player will head into the dungeon. The game is presented in a 2D side-scrolling manner, and the player is in control of four heroes. So, how does this work? Well, the player will select a leader and then the other three heroes will become chibi heads and be balanced on the leaders head, creating some kind of heroic totem pole. The leader will be the main character that the player controls, taking care of movement and most of the fighting, although the other characters can offer support in the form of different support abilities. Should the player want to use the skills of a different hero, they can cycle through the stack to make other heroes the leader.

The combat itself is nice and fast, and without too much to think about. There is a basic attack and then a selection of special attacks that are dictated by pressing in a direction along with the special attack button. There is also a charged group attack that is really impressive, and can quickly wipe out the overwhelming number of enemies, not that they are ever any real threat. The enemies are fairly weak in Lapis X Labyrinth and shouldn’t present the player with too much trouble as long as they are keeping the team well equipped. The same can be said of the boss battles. Rather than making the game difficult for players, it rewards the more careful by offering better treasure for taking less damage.

Never has treasure been more important in a game. Lapis X Labyrinth is all about revitalising a town after all, and filling the players pockets. The amount of loot is impressively plentiful from actual equipment for the heroes to use and become stronger, to materials that can be used in some of the town’s buildings, to simple, shiny gems, there is so much to collect. This is never more apparent than in the games FEVER mode. Destroy enough enemies and the player can activate FEVER mode which will not only make the heroes invincible for a short time, but also result in gems exploding from enemies and scenery alike, creating a kaleidoscope of colour on the screen. It can all be a little chaotic.

The player takes on quests one after another and, as already mentioned, there is a time limit to each floor in a quest, keeping the action moving at a brisk pace while still giving the player time to explore and find what they need to get to the next floor. Every quest begins with the team at level one and will require the player to put in the time to level up before facing a boss. It’s a great system and the loop is quite compelling, although it can obviously become slightly repetitive, especially as there is a lot of repeated content in the game. That being said though, it is light and breezy enough to overlook any repetition in favour of collecting more and more loot.

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It may not be a deep or thoughtful game, but Lapis X Labyrinth is a great little bundle of fun. I say little, but there is quite a lot of content here, and those invested will be taking quests and gathering loot for some time to come. It is easy to understand and fast to play. Repetition may be an issue for some, but I really believe that there is a place on most Switch’s for Lapis X Labyrinth.




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