MeiQ: Labyrinth Of Death review (PS Vita)

meiq-labyrinth-of-death-ps-vita

Written by Xchel Nakamura

The PlayStation Vita doesn’t receive a lot of the love it deserves. While Sony seems to have just given up on the it, we luckily still have a few companies, such as Bandai Namco Entertainment, Idea Factory International, NIS America and XSEED, still bringing us content for the system. That being said, some of the titles can be hit or miss, and MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is no exception. This game was developed by Idea Factory and Compile Heart, the duo known for bringing us the Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise, along with the various spin-offs. With its mix of dungeon-crawling gameplay and RPG aspects, one has to wonder: will it make for a good game?

When most of us think of dungeon-crawler games, we expect either an over-the-top view (third person) or a first-person perspective in the game. But with MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, we get a turn-based RPG-style game, similar to classic’s, such as the Dragonquest games, only with more dynamic camera angles. The attacking is done in phases, as the game alternates between the protagonists and their enemy. In its own right, it’s not a bad thing, but, as well, nothing spectacular. Its premise is not as unique as I thought it would be: the world has fallen under darkness due to a curse, that of which can only be broken by having a hero (or in this case a heroine) going through an adventure that will involve interesting trials. This is not limited to performing various rituals, and using mecha-like guardians and magical stones, to recreate the world as it was before this tragedy on their world began. There is a catch, however: the only ones who can save the world are ones who can control and perform Machina (this world’s version of magic). So, we are introduced to five cute, young women who have unique versions of Machina that makes each one of them important in this adventure to save their world.

meiqlab

We begin by being introduced to the 5 Mages that will be the saviors: Estra, Flare, Connie, Maki & Setia. Estra, the Yellow Machina Mage, can be described as cheerful and the most optimistic of the bunch. She is compassionate towards others and her willingness to help others is a quality that makes her very special. She controls earth-type magic. Flare, the Red Machina Mage, controls fire-type magic. Strong-willed, full of confidence and determination, Flare considers everyone a rival, and will stop at nothing to achieve the goal set forth for herself. Connie, the Blue Machina Mage, controls wood-type magic. Though she is young and sometimes naive, she brings her expertise in wood magic to the team. Then there is Maki, the White Machina Mage. She is very intelligent and keeps her composure, even during difficult times. She controls metal-type magic. Then last (but not least), we have Setia. Shy, often pessimistic and well-read, she is the Black Machina Mage who controls water-type magic. Besides her shortcomings, she is willing to help others in times of distress. Now, with this roster, you must be careful on how you build your team; I found it helpful to have a team of 3 balanced characters, just to make the experience of the game less stressful.

meiqlab2

While the game’s visuals were nothing too different from other dungeon-crawlers we have seen in the past, I have to admit that MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death did have amazing character art. Each of them possess unique characteristics that make them enjoyable to look at. The graphics weren’t bad, but at the same time, not great either. As the game went on, sadly, it did become a bit bland with the background and scenery of the game, as it was a bit disappointing to look at the same scenery over and over. Also, as time went on playing this game, you could tell that the developers went light on the overall story, making you focus more on the characters rather than the campaign. I did, however, appreciate the fact that the dual-audio voice over actually not disappointing, as it made for some of the story to be humorous, giving you a good laugh from time to time.

It became clear that, like most dungeon-crawler games out there, you must do some serious level-grinding to make any progression. Sometimes it does get a bit boring, to level grind in this game, as with most battles you’re able to take out a whole mob of enemies in just one hit. It progressively made the game a little dull and predictable in this aspect. If one puts enough time and effort into the game, you’re able to level up sooner than expected. The regular battles range from 20-40 seconds, while boss battles are equally short, lasting around a minute to a minute and a half. This made the game way too easy to get through, seemingly offering players not much of a challenge.

gp10

However, the great thing about this game is that you are able to control each character in your party, which, in turn, each have full control of their mecha-like guardians. These mecha-guardians play a huge role in MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, as they provide your characters with a large amounts of health, and aid you in your attacks, as such in giving you huge status boosts. Now, what I noticed about these guardians is that they can’t act on their own without their counterpart being present. So, it helps to create a bit of a bond with the mage that uses a specific guardian. That, in my opinion, is pretty neat, because it helps create a balanced attack strategy, and causes you to think carefully on how to approach an enemy. One thing to keep in mind is that this game relies heavily on customizing your guardian by unlocking achievements, and putting together parts left after each battle. I did, however, find that if you use the characters and machines together without the extra aid of parts and stones, you can still get through the game. It will only take you much longer to finish the game. With all the grinding you’ll be doing, the money that you earn will make it easier to purchase great weapons to aid you in your battles. This is never a bad thing, but as I mentioned, the level-grinding does get boring after a while.

meiqdunq

As you navigate through the game, you begin to see that nothing is really different from other dungeon-crawlers: basic, and to the point. To the game’s credit, the maps seem to be more widely spread out as the game goes on. There is one huge flaw, however: you can’t zoom in to locate your character, or look around the map area. You can only simply see what was in front of you. This just makes the game kind of one-sided when it comes down to exploring. And there is just one thing that also stood out of this game: it makes you close your current game to look at the Gallery. Never had to really do that, though, as I never had to look at any snapshot taken and wanted to save. This may just have been done to avoid any accidental deletion of data in the game. Whatever the reason was, it was just annoying and unpleasant.

As a fan of dungeon-crawlers, MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death offers a great line-up of characters, and a different battle system that, somehow, although inconsistent, fits this genre. The visuals are well done, and the environment within each map felt very well-executed. Unfortunately, the game does lack in a few areas, such as the aforementioned inconsistent battle system, non-challenging boss battles, and navigation issues, as well as a repetitive undersized plot. Despite all these things, however, MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is still a rather enjoyable game. If you are a fan of level grinding, then this game will keep you very busy indeed. And with all the cute characters in this game, I can tell you that it will be hard to pick who you want to have in your party.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

NR 3 Atoms - C

*MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death was reviewed using a retail download code provided by Compile Heart.

Facebook Comments