Lapis X Labyrinth is Nippon Ichi Software’s latest game. So how good is it? Here’s what I think!
I received a review copy of this game from Nis. America, Inc.
Lapis X Labyrinth is an action RPG. When you start the game you get to create two characters. After you complete the first mission you’ll be able to create a full roster of 4. Once you have access to every character class (which doesn’t take long at all) you can mix and match them until you find the perfect mix that works for you. I went with the Maid, Hunter, Necromancer, and Shielder. I regularly switched out the Shielder for the Bishop. I rarely used the rest of them.
The combat is in this game is really good. It’s fast-paced the controls are really responsive. You can easily switch to a different character by pressing L and you can chain attacks easily with all of them. You can attack with two different buttons. The Y button is your regular attacks and the X button performs your special attacks. If you have a full party of 4 characters you’ll be able to jump 4 times to reach some hard to get areas. In addition to your character attacks, you’ll also be able to summon help from the adorable characters on top of your head by pressing the A or R buttons. The A button sends out a single character that’ll perform an AOE attack on enemies around you while the R button throws everyone out there at the same time that deals a massive amount of damage to everything around you. I’ve downed bosses with one hit this way and it’s super useful. Especially since you’ll most likely never outlevel anything in the dungeon unless you feel like grinding for dozens of hours. At the end of each dungeon, you’ll fight a boss. These bosses are incredibly easy for the most part. All I had to do was tap the R button and watch as my party of overpowered heroes one shot everything on the screen. Once I learned how powerful the group attack is I just spammed it on bosses. You don’t start every stage overpowered though (not until you get the lunch meal that boosts your attack stat by 20%) and you’ll have to focus on leveling your party from level 1 to whatever level you can reach before you fight the boss of the dungeon. This prevents you from being overpowered at the start of each dungeon.
Beating the living crap out of enemies isn’t the only thing that this game does well. The main hub is where you’ll upgrade your weapons at the blacksmith, eat lunch for passive bonuses, buy permanent passive bonuses, and visit the dojo for even more bonuses. You can apply buffs against certain enemies (bugs, demons, etc), give yourself a defense boost against certain types of enemies, and much, much more. There are 80 quests spread across 10 distinct level types. That all adds up to about 220 different maps you’ll fight on and that’s not including the end game content. There’s a lot to do here and it helps that this game is really fun to play in short burst.
Lapis X Labyrinth is a well-optimized game. I can count the number of times I experienced a frame drop on one hand and I have almost 30 hours of gameplay in this game. There were times when I couldn’t see what I was doing because there was so much on-screen action happening and the game didn’t dip a single time. This game is colorful and has a chibi graphic design. I usually loathe that type of graphical style, but I don’t mind it here. It actually added to the experience for me this time around. One of my biggest complaints in World of Final Fantasy. You had this beautiful world with Chibi characters running around in it. It’s the opposite here. This game is colorful and I think it suits this graphical style more than games like World of Final Fantasy or the Switch version of Final Fantasy 15.
Everything in this game just pops at you. The enemies are designed well, the animations are good, and it looks absolutely incredible in handheld mode. It doesn’t look bad on the TV either, but I think this game was made to be played in Handheld mode. The backgrounds look absolutely incredible too.
The soundtrack can be good at times, but honestly, it’s kind of forgettable and fades into the background. When fever mode is activated the track that plays in the background is catchy, but that’s really the only standout song for me. The sound effects and limited voice acting is what kept this from being bumped down a section. The OST isn’t terrible. It’s just not very memorable and didn’t stick out to me at all. It’s an average soundtrack that didn’t really add anything to my playing experience.
If you’re looking for a good story play a different game. You won’t get it here. The story here is as basic as they come. You arrive in town and your goal is to complete dungeon after dungeon so the town will attract more visitors and open new shops that’ll help your dungeon diving adventures go a little easier. And that’s really it. There’s no deep dialogue or heartfelt moments to be had here and honestly, that works for me. I don’t need to play through an engaging story every time I play a game. I like that I can just jump right into the good parts of this game and have fun.
After you complete each dungeon you’ll unlock some new dialogue to progress the story. By new dialogue, I mean a couple of sentences and one of the new shops I mentioned above. That’s it.
There’s Too Much Happening On Screen:
This is probably my biggest complaint. When fever mode is activated you literally can’t see what’s going on. It’s a good thing that you can’t be damaged in this mode because odds are I would die every time fever mode activated because all I saw were these huge gems popping up everywhere and it took me a long time to adjust to it. It’s a serious flaw in my opinion. There’s already a lot happening on screen without fever mode and when that mode activates it gets to the point that I just start blindly mashing buttons and just hope that I’m hitting something.
Lapis X Labyrinth will be available on May 28th.
I had a lot of fun with Lapis X Labyrinth. The fast-paced gameplay is incredibly satisfying and I love that I can play this game in short burst and still feel like I made progress. It looks really good, performs like a dream, and outside of me not being able to see during fever mode if the year ended right now this game would make my top 10 games of 2019. Lapis X Labyrinth doesn't need a good story. That's what a sequel is for. What we have here now is a really solid action RPG with some pretty deep RPG mechanics that you can delve into or ignore completely.