Labyrinth of Zangetsu: Review


This game was reviewed on Playstation 4

Reviewed by: Ke'Juan Valentine

I'll be honest - when I first heard about Labyrinth of Zangetsu, I was skeptical. As someone who has never been a huge fan of dungeon crawlers or map tracking in games, the idea of traversing through maze-like labyrinths battling folklore-inspired monsters seemed daunting. However, I'm happy to report that Labyrinth of Zangetsu pleasantly surprised me with its stylish art direction and straightforward yet strategic gameplay.

The moment I booted up Labyrinth of Zangetsu, the hand-drawn ink brush art style immediately grabbed my attention. The environments and character designs are beautifully illustrated with a traditional Japanese aesthetic that feels reminiscent of old folktales brought to life. It's a stylish presentation that helps the game stand out in the crowded RPG genre. The ink blot motif that represents the recurring "Ink of Ruin" disaster is particularly striking.

As for the core gameplay, Labyrinth of Zangetsu plays like a classic first-person dungeon crawling RPG. You assemble a party of up to six customizable characters across classes like wizard, cleric, thief and more. Each class also has race options like human, elf, dwarf, and other fantasy staples. I'm always a fan of deep character customization, and the variety of class/race combinations allows for diverse team strategies. With this much customization, you can assemble a well-rounded group specialized in close-quarters combat, ranged tactics, and magical support. Leveling up and collecting equipment allows you to finely tune each character's stats and abilities to create synergistic teams tailored to your preferred playstyle. The extensive selection of skills and spells at your disposal makes combat an engaging experience of positioning and strategy. A thoughtfully streamlined interface ensures managing inventory and abilities remains intuitive even in the midst of hectic battles.

The procedurally generated labyrinths keep exploration exciting by altering terrain, character placement, and content. Frequent checkpoints coupled with short backtracking ensure death is never too punishing while still providing a steady sense of progression. Helpful quality of life features like an auto-mapping system let you focus on combat and navigation rather than cartography. The gameplay finds a great balance between challenge and accessibility for a satisfying action-RPG experience. Once in the labyrinths themselves, the turn-based combat emphasizes positional tactics. Stronger warriors can be placed up front to tank damage, while ranged fighters and healers benefit from the back rows. Despite the maze-like nature of the dungeons, I never felt hopelessly lost or aimless.

The narrative itself is relatively straightforward - an "Ink of Ruin" disaster has tainted the world, and your party delves into labyrinths to try and reverse the damage. It's a simple but effective premise to drive the exploration and combat. I appreciate that the story doesn't get overly complex or bogged down in convoluted world-building.

In conclusion, I am surprised that I enjoyed it. The graphics and design of the game is aesthetically pleasing that is reminiscent of old Japanese art. I honestly wouldn't have bought this game for myself, but I still enjoyed myself, nonetheless. Would I play it again? No, but it was fun for a first-time experience. Besides, it also felt easy to play. If you're a fan of dungeon crawling RPGs and you like to take it easy, this game might be for you. I rate this game a 7 out of 10.

Reviewed by: Ke'Juan Valentine