Lapis X Labyrinth – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America, Lapis X Labyrinth is a fast paced action RPG with rogue-like dungeons, an abundance of loot and a cast of colorful characters. This title is available for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, links to both versions of the game will be available at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: this is a rewrite of previous coverage, with an updated format and details. The previous work has since been lost, so this will be the only version available to read. The software used was originally provided by NIS America for the purpose of review, the provision of the software has not influenced the contents of this piece, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review, starting with the story.

Story – a village in the Golden Forest has fallen on hard times, struggling to survive and are in desperate need of increasing their financial stability. To accomplish this task a guild has travelled to the village, deploying their company to plunder the labyrinth below and they must battle the creatures of the dark, collecting as much treasure and loot that they can from the depths below.

Gameplay – this title employs a mix of 2D platforming, dungeon crawling and beat ‘em up action, with a party system that allows up to four characters to be used from any of the character classes. The character classes are split into three sub-types, made up of melee, ranged and support types. Each of the characters has their own unique skills, with screen filling attacks that can obliterate all enemies encountered.

Before going into the dungeon the player sets their party leader, builds their character party, choose a quest from the quest board and visit the shop for items. Inside the labyrinth the party is stacked like a totem pole with the leader on the bottom and the rest sitting on top. The classes that are included in game are as follows;

  • Hunter – a close range sorceress, she uses deadly twin blades, magic powers and unrivaled spped to wipe out the enemies in her way before they see it coming.
  • Necromancer – a ranged spellcaster, armed with a scythe and dark magic, this hero controls the battlefield for her party and securing victory in the dungeons.
  • Shileder – an all-round melee warrior, he is armed with an axe to fight and a shield to defend. This fighter is an important part of any party.
  • Maid – a melee support member, she uses her frying pan and other tools to weaken enemies with haste, cleaning up the many hazards in the labyrinth.
  • Gunner – a ranged combat expert, armed with a variety of firearms he can mow down anything in his path, a talented marksman that fills monsters with more holes than Swiss cheese.
  • Witch – a mid-range magic user, her spells cover a good area which allows her to slay enemies with ease. The fireworks from her magic wand aren’t just for show.
  • Bishop – a mid-range support, she is equipped with a spear that can knock back monsters in her way, creating distance for her party to recover. She may look innocent but she is far from pure.
  • Destroyer – a melee specialist, wielding his great sword, this unstoppable force cleaves enemies in twain making up for his slow speed with immense power.

Be aware that each of the characters have their own unique move set, with standard combo attacks, a set of special moves and a team blitz that fills the screen that is great for clearing out lots of foes. All attacks can be synergized and with effective use, players can maximize their gains when in the dungeon. This is because each action taken in the labyrinth can cause various effects for the party, including;

  • Treasure Points – these are accumulated by collecting the many treasures and items scattered throughout the dungeons, influencing the final score and ranking that is earned at the end of each quest.
  • Treasure Combo – gain combo points by grabbing the loot without taking damage from enemies, with higher combo scores provider greater rewards for the party.
  • Gear – grab new items and equipment for the members of your team by defeating the monsters of the labyrinth, opening chests and even uncovering rare drops hidden away.
  • Materials – collect resources during adventures that can be used to purchase upgrades and items from the village shop, with higher rarity items offering better benefits.
  • Experience – collecting the treasure builds an experience meter, leveling up the party during battles and providing more health, increased power and more special attack uses.
  • FEVER – the last dungeon effect is the FEVER meter, a bar that fills up gradually with each treasure collected and activates the Fever mode when full. During these events, the quantity of treasure pick-ups is increased, the party receives buffs and more items are obtained until the timer expires.

The labyrinth itself is made up of different zones that each follow their own unique themes, with the zones broken up into a set of dungeons that have an element of randomization. The random elements of dungeon floors provide a great incentive to replay stages, grinding out rewards and materials/gear. However, the generation of dungeons does cause its only minor flaw, which is the tight timer which can kill a quest run if the player gets lost in the dungeon.

Outside of the dungeons the player can alter their party and gear, equipping them with different items that will alter their stats within a pre-set point ratio. There are different attributes and equipment points attached to each piece of equipment, along with items that are specifically set for a certain character class. Setting up a party with optimized gear can make dealing with challenging enemies and bosses much easier, given that some gear has very special buffs that can make the party very strong.

Now with the gameplay covered, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with controls.

Controls – the controls for Lapis X Labyrinth are tight and responsive, with zero lag or missed inputs when playing docked or handheld play. The movement and platforming is smooth and intuitive, alongside responsive combat and special attacks that respond instantly which is great during the big boss battles. However, it is possible to hit the wrong inputs when frantically attacking large amounts of enemies, but this doesn’t detract from the quality of gameplay.

Difficulty – there is a moderate difficulty curve for this title, with recommended quests for quests that are optional. Players can ignore these recommendations to make the game more challenging, with the ability to alter the party composition, equipment and play style between sessions. This is a great way for players to tailor the difficulty of the game to their own taste, creating a flexible experience for all skill levels.

Presentation – visually this is a beautiful title, with fantastic backdrops, chibi styled character models and adorable character portraits. The graphical performance is almost flawless, as the hardware of the Nintendo Switch can be pushed past its limits with rare frame drops during play. The sound design is fantastic, with exciting beats and orchestrated arrangements that set the tone for dungeons. The game is voiced in Japanese only, which adds to the charm of the overall experience.

Final Thoughts – I enjoyed this title the first time I played it and that has not changed after returning to it for this rewrite. This is a fantastic action RPG title with fast paced action, flexible combat and a detailed customization system. I loved the style and attention to detail on show, with beautiful settings and wonderful character designs that breathe life into the world, creating a fresh experience that separates itself from other titles in the genre.

I cannot recommend this title enough, the creators of Disgaea have been able to knock it out of the park with a fresh property that is well worth the time and effort to pick up. The game is a treat to play either on the big screen or handheld, with absolutely no issues that detract from the game aside from the minimal time constraints.

In the end, I give Lapis X Labyrinth a final score of 5/5. This title is fresh and exciting, with unique gameplay mechanics and action that separates itself from other titles in the genre. The artwork is beautiful, the soundtrack fantastic and the game is a real joy to play. If you want to check it out for yourself, links to both versions of the game will be below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation 4 version (HERE)

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