Review: MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death (PlayStation Vita)
- Release Date (NA): September 13, 2016
- Release Date (EU): September 16, 2016
- Publisher: Idea Factory
- Developer: Compile Heart
- Genres: DRPG
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is the second game within the Makai Ichiban Kan line of video game project by Compile Heart, with the first being Trillion: God of Destruction. This latest PSVita localization of Idea Factory's is a dungeon crawler that puts you in control of Machina Mages who team up with mechas to bring back light to the world.
A World of Darkness
One day, the rotation of this planet stopped.
The world was shrouded in darkness, and monsters roamed freely in the endless night.
To return the planet to normal, it was necessary to wind the Planet Key.
In this immobile world trapped in darkness where monsters have started to roam, the chosen Machina Mages have to wind the key to start the world anew.
You play as the high-spirited Estra and, together with the other four chosen Machina Mages, embark on a journey to save the planet from eternal night, with the help of Guardians, which are your highly customizable mecha battle partners.
In order to save the world, the Mages have to visit four sacred towers in order to defeat the deities in each and perform a cleansing ritual. Once these are completed, they must return to their central tower and wind the Planet Key to set the world back in motion.
MeiQ: Labyrinth of...
In true DRPG form, navigation is done in first person and the area you're in is initially unmapped, encouraging exploration. In so doing, you'll map your surroundings, find rare items, uncover bits of history about the state of the world, run across enemies that appear at random and may even fall down pit traps!
These might sound interesting at first and indeed it is until you start backtracking a lot between the towers to progress. Repetition seems to be an inconvenient constant in this game. Even the story uses all too common tropes for the other Mages, paving the way for a shallow narrative. Nevertheless, the plot is spiced up a bit with the presence of additional characters like dark mages that'll get in your way of progressing to the towers, the mysterious Golden Dragon knight and shape-shifting thieves.
The Mages will initially compete with each other since whoever saves the planet becomes the next guild master. However, as you progress, you'll be able to team up with the other Mages and their guardians. Each of them having their own unique spells and abilities to unlock as they level up.
This brings us to the battle system. Combat is done in a turn-by-turn basis where you buddy up with a Guardian to engage in battles. Only one in the pair (Guardian or Machina Mage) can fight at any given time. Your guardian also acts as your shield, blocking most but not all attacks that come your way.
Theoretically, the battles function on an elemental system where you have to know how the five elements work with each other (there's a handy chart available for that). To this end, there's an elaborate equip system to fine tune your character and guardian with newly crafted weapons, upgrading parts and equiping items. See the first word of this paragraph? Yes, you can overlook the elemental system altogether and defeat most enemies as long as you have a decent damage output. Moreover, there is an imbalance since the normal enemies' strengths don't reflect that of some bosses, who might catch you off guard and you'll just have to get good. This is especially evident around the third tower where their combat feel repetitve (especially the animations) and little new elements are introduced.
This DRPG has a good start, prompting exploration and customization of your team. However with a shallow narrative, clichéd moments and frequent backtracking, it soon becomes repetitive to the point where you'll be asking how long before you can end the game.
+ Highly customizable team
+ Interesting element-based combat
- Repetitive sequences
- Imbalance between easy enemies and tough bosses in the same area
- Shallow narrative
The game has a gripping start but interest gradually fades with the repetition throughout.
It plays like a lot of DRPGs but the elemental system for battles could have been put to better use.
Although you can unlock additional areas in the towers, you'll find it hard to replay the game since it's hard even on your first go to get even with all the repetitive manoeuvres.
out of 10
(not an average)
MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death might not appeal to a wide audience, particularly fans of DRPGs. A shallow narrative, an underutilized battle system and repetition make for an average game.