Lapis x Labyrinth Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Nippon Ichi Software

Publisher: NIS America

Downloads Size: 741 MB

Release Date: 28/05/2019

Price as of Article: 29.99 USD, £26.99 GBP

Game code provided by NIS America

ESRB: TEEN 10+, PEGI: 7

Story

You are an adventurer who wants to get to the lowest level of the dungeon at a ruined town. While revitalising the town with each level.

The story in Lapis x Labyrinth on the Switch is nothing to be excited for at all.

Gameplay

Lapis x Labyrinth at its core is overly simple with lots of sugar coating.

The Classes and Groups

There are eight classes to pick from;

Hunter – Fast close combat

Necromancer – Stunning enemies

Shielder – High defence and attack

Maid – Buffs and debuffs

Gunner – Long range attacks

Witch – Attacks at all distances

Destroyer – Slow and high attack

Bishop – Healer

The player can have up to four classes stacked at once. Represented by the class’ head. While stacked, all abilities given to the party by equipped items are combined. Making for one mean group if all the right items are equipped.

While exploring the dungeons there is a possibility that the bottom character (the one the player controls) can be knocked off the stack. This in turn, lowers all stats and item buffs, until re-collected. Or if the controlled character is killed all buffs and stats are lost for the run.

I loved this decision as making a stack depends on the player’s style. However, it is not as deep as I was expecting, as in my playthrough my stack never changed once I found the right team for me. It was Shielder, Necromancer, Bishop and Hunter.

If the player does decide to change a stack, they first must change out the character that they do not want. Once done, they will have to re-equip the whole group even if it was only one character change. With this happening on every change, this also leads me to stick to one group in my stack.

Dungeon Progression

The progression is simple, to destroy enough seals to open the teleporter, only half the seals need to be destroyed to progress, but destroying them all nets a nice reward boost. Along the way to opening the seals, killing everything that moves helps to increase the money collected. If the stack does not get hit, the combo meter will increase, therefore increasing the jewels and coins value.

Travel is on a 2D plane where it is all the stereotypical platformer tropes. There is, however, one slight difference; there is effectively five jumps in a row. The first two are standard double jumps, and the last three use the heads in the stack. The heads are subsequentially lost but will rejoin in seconds. Doing so is both handy for traversal and dodging attacks.

FEVER

Once enough coins and money have been collected, then FEVER will trigger. Making every hit from a character produce jewels and coins against enemies or destroyable blocks. In this mode – that will trigger a lot – it is best to hit as much as possible to get as much money as possible. While attacking, the screen will be filled with jewels, and it looks so pretty. FEVER also activates automatically, and I have wasted so many FEVER I have lost count as it enabled at the end of a fight.

FEVER was by far the one aspect that most people will play Lapis x Labyrinth for.

Fights

There are three types of fights in Lapis x Labyrinth,

Firstly, typical engagements where enemies appear and they are dispatched of.

Secondly, encounters where a small space on the map is closed off, forcing you to kill everything.

Thirdly, a boss fight, these are more powerful and have lots of extra loot pinatas to kill.

The fights are not that hard. Even when the required level of the mission is twenty levels above the group level, it was still a breeze. Fights within the game became two button attacks and combined attacks. As most of the characters with melee weapons hit in the front and behind where most fights are, then stand in one place and mash attack. As bosses can tank a lot of hits, a combined attack that uses all four members is best used and typically dispatches a boss with one blow. Each class has its own combined attack. There is also a special attack, but most of the time it is not needed.

Town

The town is the world hub; this is where weapons armour and so can be sold and bought. Buffs can be purchased, like increased damage. Along with the player’s house, where they can look at the in-game stats, for instance, the list of items found and a bestiary.

There is also the guild shop that will need a job to be accepted to enter the dungeon and move to the next stage. There will be an intro stage, once cleared a short cutscene will happen between the major and the hero. Then six jobs will be unlocked, once completed a boss battle will be the next quest. Once killed another cutscene, with a new shop to use, for example, a blacksmith, that can increase and attach abilities to weapons. Along with the store allowing to buy more upgrades, this happens on every level.

It is good to get more stores, but it feels so repetitive. It is the same thing over and over.

The Dark Side Of The Dungeon

One thing that I have noticed, and it is glaringly apparent, is the repetitive nature of Lapis x Labyrinth. Not only in the base mechanics, i.e. fight and mission structures, but also with the level design.

Levels are basically all the same but with a new coat of paint. There is some variation, but after playing the game for the first few hours, I noticed that I knew an encounter was going to happen, or that if I jump here, I can get to chests. Paying more attention to the design of the levels they are, for the most part, the same. To the point where some levels were almost identical to previous levels.

For this to happen in a game today is just lazy. It does not detract from the fact the game has a decent base and could have been something amazing. Seems almost like they needed a game out, so let us get this one out.

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Audio

Lapis x Labyrinth does a good job with its sound effects. Everything is over the top and crazy. Sword swipes sounds like damage will be done, or how powerful the magic sounds. Along with the FEVER how everything that you can hit tinkles with the noise of jewels, the sounds effects are fantastic.

The music is a bit hit and miss, very repetitive and get boring fast. Except for when FEVER is activated. You hear it a lot while playing but as it breaks up the monotony of the dungeon music, it makes if feel special and added a bit of urgency to the game.

I have mixed feelings about the audio. On one hand the sound effects are over the top and crazy, but the music is very generic and average.

Visuals & Performance

Visually Lapis x Labyrinth is a feast for the eyes. The beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds, with a water coloured paint style, are simply stunning. The chibi styled character models are all stunningly animated and rendered.

The best part of the visuals is FEVER, it is like a party has started with fireworks exploding in the background, and jewels and money covering the screen. It is totally bonkers and over the top, the type of stuff that makes people want to play NIS America games.

The game ran perfectly smooth in both handheld and docked mode. Lapis x Labyrinth should be played on a TV to get the full view of the FEVER feel.

Value

With the price at 29.99 USD, £26.99 GBP I feel this is overpriced. I would have liked to see Lapis x Labyrinth at least five pounds cheaper. 

I just felt the repetitive nature of the game should not be so expensive.

 

Pros

P

Looks lovely

P

FEVER

P

Great foundation and idea

Cons

P

Repetitive gameplay

P

Lazy level desgin

P

Too easy