Labyrinth Legends review for PSN

Platform: PSN
Publisher: Creat Studios
Developer: Creat Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E10+

Labyrinth Legends by Creat Studios is a top-down 2D dungeon crawler with light puzzle and combat elements, making it remarkably similar to Nintendo?s own The Legend of Zelda but without all the overworld exploration mixed in. It?s not quite up to the quality level of the aforementioned franchise either, but as it stands there?s just enough charm and ingenuity present in Labyrinth Legends to make it worth a look.

You take on the role of a hero, who has set out to rescue his wife, kidnapped by mystical forces on the day of their wedding. The story element is pretty light, there?s not much narrative outside of some cutely rendered scenes bookending the game, serving the purpose of providing context between points A and B. The gameplay in between is certainly the crux of the experience, containing two overworld maps with about 8 dungeons per map to explore. You?re represented by a simple 2D avatar that walks between locations on the map, again, there?s no real gameplay outside of the actual dungeons.

labyrinth_legends_1Each dungeon contains a number of puzzles and a bit of combat to overcome as you make your way to the clearly labeled exit sign that ends each level. The puzzles run the gamut of typical video game puzzles; you?ll encounter switches, moving boxes, and even a laser reflection puzzle at one point, most of which are familiar to anyone that?s picked up a similar game in the past. Puzzle difficulty isn?t that severe, you?ll never really get stuck with most of the ones you encounter. Labyrinth Legends real difficulty stems from uncovering the five hidden stars in each stage. A few of which you will automatically run into or encounter without much trouble, but a couple are almost always tucked away behind particular events, like facing off against waves of enemies, or hidden behind hard to see switches, breakable doors, or hidden paths.

Stars are also necessary to gain, as you?ll need to find a number of them in order to unlock new stages. This isn?t much of an issue on the first overworld map, but the second one comes with stricter requirements, forcing the player to search thoroughly for hidden stars in order to proceed. It?s a good idea to force this requirement on players in the second half though, because just blowing through the stages collecting the bare minimum on the first overworld map is a tad too easy and doesn?t allow for some of Labyrinth Legends more clever moments and obstacles to shine.

labyrinth_legends_2The only real annoyance I had with Labyrinth Legends was that the combat felt awfully shallow and not particularly fun to engage in. Combat consists of a single main attack for slicing through foes with your sword, and a super attack that ends up being a fairly straightforward spin slash. You?ve got a block function that can be used without end and blocks anything that hits you and a dash ability that?s more useful for puzzles and obstacles than it is for combat. Most one on one fights just require you to mash the primary attack, and when you?re facing a group you can get by unscathed by holding block and pressing the super attack button when surrounded, then just rinse and repeat. It gets to be pretty boring for any extended amount of time, and unfortunately the handful of boss fights found in Labyrinth Legends are hardly any better.

Overall, Labyrinth Legends feels like an interesting attempt at boiling down the dungeon aspect of an adventure game to its core, and for the most part manages to be fun and pretty straight forward. It?s not something that will stick with you for any extended amount of time, and doesn?t provide much of a challenge to video game vets. But the charming presentation, solid art style, and varied dungeon format is enough to keep you engaged for the scant few hours that it lasts. It?s not what I?d label a must buy, but it?s worth checking out a demo or waiting for a sale price to hit.

Grade: C+