Step into the Labyrinth if you dare. The steel framed door shuts in front of you with a powerful clatter. There is no escape unless you can perform the required task that is set out in the spiralling maze. Whether it is taking on Gargoyles by discovering their kryptonite or befriending mystical mages, using your wits is the key if you ever hope of leaving. Straight from the minds of developers INTENSE comes a challenging puzzle game that tries to make the most of the 3D capabilities that the 3DS offers and make a new, exciting entry into one of the most suffocated genres.
The aim is simple; unlock the door to leave the maze. The means to this are not, as each level brings it’s own special requirements. With sixty levels available to experience overall, unlocking them all takes time. After your initial introduction to the labyrinth you are then presented with 5 keys to unlock 5 levels of your choice out of the original twenty offered. Subsequently it’s no surprise that to gain more keys you must complete on your chosen five levels.
With the 3DS control scheme normally dominated by the toggle stick its refreshing to see both the toggle stick and D-pad used effectively. Turning is via the D-pad and selecting your options via the toggle stick blend the uses of both superbly. As a matter of fact because of this you’ll understand the control scheme after the introduction level; it’s that good!
Inside the deceitful maze you’ll encounter many types of enemies. From Wizards to demons, Using specialist tactics like putting a horse ear headband on to prevent hearing dark magic summoned therefore allowing you to use a sword to defeat the conjurer are all just a sliver of the sleek, interesting and intelligent puzzles that is put forward. With a life gauge of five hearts caution must be used when deciding your actions. Initiating a wrong decision will gently whittle your hearts down. I say gently as there is little acknowledgment to signify you’ve taken damage apart from the heart gauge itself so suddenly you could look down and be on your last heart; Something worth remembering.
Time spent is rewarding with clever puzzles constantly thrown your way. My only concern is the incline for those really wanting to be tested to the best of their ability. Patience is needed as you work through the easy challenges to reach the more thought-provoking. This can feel quite tedious as I did not feel strained until hitting the higher 40’s. Don’t misunderstand me the lower levels are still enjoyable, yet in the five or so hours spent they just don’t press as much as they should.
The level design is intricate making the most of the 2D/3D aspects. Sprites used for enemies are decorated with outrageous colour which is only accentuated by the drabness of the labyrinth. Looking like they’ve been pulled straight out of Yu-Gi-Oh! I loved the concepts that appeared throughout. The only downside to this is eventually most enemies become just different variations of what’s come before.
Looking from afar Puzzle Labyrinth may not spark with life, but venture in to the lost maze and you’ll be amazed as to what’s in store. Intricate level design, colourful anime like sprites and beneficial controls are all waiting to be discovered. There is a slow incline before you’ll truly be tested, although endeavouring this is well rewarding with some of the most entertaining puzzles as played on the Nintendo’s handheld to date.
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