Aside from the noteworthy music, the rest of the game is bland and unremarkable. In a saturated genre, it doesn’t offer enough to interest those with experience in roguelikes.
Type: Single-Player, Co-op
Developer: Shinobi Games
Publisher: Shinobi Games
Release Date: 21 July, 2020
When looking over the trailer of Labyrinth Legend (LL), I liked seeing all of the rapid attacks that the protagonist was able to dish out. I expected that such moves would take time to level up, but fast strikes can be a very satisfying part of combat. It otherwise showed hints of basic features I’d want from a roguelike, such as a variety of environments and enemies, some epic boss battles, and powerful equipment to obtain and equip, so I decided to give the game a shot. If it’s fun, it’d also be a good game to play in local coop.
There’s two main sections of LL. The first takes place in the village, where you refine equipment, upgrade your items so you have more resources when going into the dungeon, and learn more about what’s going on from the locals. Each time you clear the next part of the labyrinth, the villagers will have something new to say to you, with most of them having long given up on the idea of anyone vanquishing the labyrinth. They’re safe enough in the village, so why not just make the most of it? In spite of giving up themselves, they’re content to offer you better gear to take a stab at in, in exchange for gold and magic. There’s even an island where tame monsters can be summoned as an assistant for you in battle.
The larger component of the game comes from taking trips into the labyrinth. Floors are randomly generated, with each having a gateway that’ll go down to the next floor, but the only way to gain access is to find and kill the enemy holding the key. This means you can’t just bolt for each floor’s exit, but have to explore and fight some foes. You’ll want to look around anyways, as there will be chests strewn about, which can hold better equipment than you’re already using. Sometimes this comes from higher stats, but I also find the type of weapon matters a lot. I thought the whip would be useful due to its circular attack pattern, but you don’t want to let enemies get that close to you. Instead, I found the boomerangs to be one of the better secondary weapons with how damage can stagger from stacking multiple, repeating attacks.
Like many games, LL can be played with either the keyboard or a controller, and per my preferences I played it with a controller. Movement is controlled with the ‘L joystick’ and aiming attacks is done with the ‘R joystick.’ Since the game may not look like it, I’ll mention that you can move diagonally. ‘A’ and ‘B’ are used for your two attacks, and I always assigned a longer-ranged weapon to ‘B.’ ‘X’ and ‘Y’ casts spells. Tapping the ‘L bumper’ brings up a shield if you’re stationary, but if you’re moving when hitting the button, you’ll perform a dodge roll. ‘R bumper’ activates a potion. I’d say the controls are mostly functional, but with how combat works, it can feel a bit clunky. You’ll hold down an attack button to maximize your DPS, yet also need to release it early enough to get ready for the enemy’s counter attack.
The kingdom of Kanata houses a cursed labyrinth, but instead of warding people away from the land, it entices would-be adventurers with promises of fortune and glory. As a silent protagonist, you aren’t given much motivation or reason for going there yourself, but you’ve decided to lift up arms as well. Unfortunately, the nearby village that serves as the central hub for those who’d make this attempt has been cursed by the queen, such that none who enter it can leave, only able to make trips into the labyrinth. With no other choice, you’ll have to vanquish this yet unconquered trap, because all the good jobs have already been taken.
When checking out the trailer I wasn’t too enthused by the game’s graphics, because there’s nothing that makes them stand out. The visuals are quite simple, with recognizable monster designs, environments don’t pop with detail or variety, and some items look flat or dull. For instance, when looking at items in my inventory, more often than not the equipment looks like it’d be worthless, even if it winds up being a better choice than I have now. Other facets are fairly good, such as certain attacks, but they aren’t that flashy or awe-inspiring. Plus, I find the hero’s running animation comically sluggish, as if he’s not that athletic.
Whoever composed the music for LL did a really good job, as I enjoyed the tunes quite a bit. The music has clear, crisp sound quality and incorporates a good blend of instruments to make for easy to enjoy songs. They’re a bit on the short side though, so they loop upon themselves a bit quickly. That’s a pretty small complaint overall though, and I suspect many people would be surprised at the quality for some of these tracks. Some of the sound effects feel a bit flat, such as your sword slashes, but the sound effects are otherwise satisfactory enough.
- Even with the simple combat, enemies do feel more threatening in later dungeons, giving a good sense of progression as you play. Similarly, there’s a nice variety of weapons to choose from.
- I’m quite fond of the boss theme, as it supports the sense of wanting to engage in an epic fight, and other songs are quite good as well. Plus, the boss fights give a solid level of challenge.
- Some enemies will aggro on you long before you can even see them. Also, some items disappear annoyingly fast, when you may not be able to rush in and snag them, such as health or ore.
- The dungeons are essentially just open floors that act as hallways from one cluster of enemies to the next. There’s not really anything of interest about the environments themselves.
- I appreciate the updates to the game, but they’ve never cleaned up the textual errors and other simple flaws that make the game look half-baked.
- You’ll want to spend your money on upgrading items at the general store immediately, because they otherwise are almost worthless. I recommend upgrading the potion so you can use it more than once, increasing your inventory space, and being able to obtain more magic from slaying enemies. Only after doing that a few times would I start worrying about upgrading equipment, which you’ll replace frequently anyways.
- Enemies can be manipulated heavily due to them always telegraphing attacks with a ! over their heads. You will need to learn how each enemy behaves and the nature of their attacks to capitalize on this, but regular enemies almost always have only 1 attack at their disposal. Elite enemies get an additional attack they can switch between, but it’s only bosses that have more variance to their moveset.
LL might be of greater interest to someone who’s not played many roguelike games, but it doesn’t offer very much to someone who’s experienced in the genre. The combat is too simple, as it revolves around hit and run movements and spamming long-range attacks heavily before switching back to close range weaponry. With enemies telegraphing their attacks, which have significant delays, the gameplay feels a bit stilted and unengaging. It didn’t take me much time to see how this would be a recurring issue throughout the game, and I found myself unenthused as I kept going further in the game. All I really wanted was to get more gold and level-ups so I could grind through it faster, instead of finding myself having fun with it, so after a few hours I just stopped playing. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend this game.