Labyrinth Legend Switch Review – Holding Out for a Hero

    Title: Labyrinth Legend
    Developer: Shinobi Games
    Release Date: January 18, 2021
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: NIS America
    Genre: Action RPG, Dungeon Crawler

I’m always looking for the perfect game to play on my Switch as I wind down from a long day. Labyrinth Legend managed not only to hold my attention but offer something that I forgot that I love, killing a massive amount of fantasy creatures while saving a town from a supernatural threat.

Rumors of a treasure inside Kanata village spread across the land. Tempting adventurers to brave the dangerous labyrinth in such of it and glory. A young adventurer looking to make a name for themself finds that as they enter the village, they can no longer escape. With little choice left, they must discover the labyrinth’s secrets or die trying.

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While writing the synopsis for the story, I found myself struggling, primarily because an opening crawl tells us the narrative and then barely mentions it again. As a result, you are delving into the dungeon with little care except what the next-level boss will look like for the rest of the game.

The content also doesn’t try to differentiate itself from any other fantasy story that we have seen before. For example, monsters appear out of nowhere, and a village is stuck at the foot of the labyrinth. If I looked hard enough, I’m sure I could find the exact story that mimics Labyrinth Legend with ease.

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The rest of the villagers impart a little snippet of dialogue for each section completed. However, this does little to fill in the blanks or even remind players exactly why we are delving into the dungeon in the first place. This sparsity in the narrative does little to hinder my enjoyment of the title, as most fun is from gameplay rather than the story.

The gameplay is where Labyrinth Legend truly shines. While very simple, I found an addictive element to it. Keeping everything focused on shorter, faster-paced levels rather than long sprawling dungeons helped keep the game from feeling bloated.

I was incredibly thankful for these shorter stages when it became apparent that I would need to grind for most of my playtime. This grinding mainly was for gear, but as bosses grew harder, I noticed that levels were also critical. Generally, I found that I needed to be within five levels of a boss to do enough damage to conquer them.

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Strangely I found that damage capped out around a thousand. So, even though I would clear out an earlier stage faster, this was primarily due to enemy health being lower than later stages. It still felt good to blaze through a stage that took me close to ten minutes earlier, but seeing that number be slightly higher than what I was doing on an end-game floor felt lacking.

The gear also feels like it needs a slight overhaul to what drops and how powerful something is. There were only a few specific instances of excitement about seeing what had dropped and instantly equipping it. Otherwise, gear seemed to be on a slow upgrade or mostly trade-offs.

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Armor, for instance, might increase your strength or intelligence but lack defense or vice-versa. These decisions could make for a better game where builds are essential. However, the enemies and stages are too simplistic to matter much. As a result, I frequently went with items that increased stats rather than my defense and barely noticed any changes if I had taken gear with a high defense.

Despite the shortcoming of the gear, I did find it easy to pick up my Switch, beat a stage, and put it back down. This gameplay style perfectly fits the Switch in handheld mode, which I exclusively played in. I doubt that playing docked would see any noticeable difference.

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While navigating menus, I noticed no implementation of the touch screen. While not needed, I could tell that the menus would have benefited from clicking on the tab I wanted to reach rather than using the d-pad. Considering that the title was previously released on mobile and PC, adding this functionality would have made sense.

Labyrinth Legend doesn’t offer much in the way of a story, and gear drops leave much to be desired. However, it makes up for this with delightfully simple gameplay and brief stages, making this a solid experience for every Switch owner.

Score:
7/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Nathan Mejia

The guy who will play anything you throw at him. Will talk your ear off about anything and everything Video Game, Music, and Anime related. You have been warned.