A Return to the Labyrinth
What can I say about dungeon crawlers that you don’t already know? For me, they’re pretty much huge hits or enormous misses – there isn’t much of an in between here. I find exploring the dungeons of this genre immensely enjoyable, typically regardless of if the experience is worth my while. There’s something about filling in a map and watching as the blocks stack one against the other. Learning the lay of the land and discovering secrets builds on that success. Where these games often lose me is its combat.
I am simply not a fan of the first person view with attacks animating as little slashes or fireballs on screen. This will, of course, never negatively impact a score on my end (it’s a personal preference and not a flaw of the game, after all), but I would prefer a classic turn based style (think Final Fantasy VII if you will). I know the essence of the combat is the same, but for me, dungeon crawler combat dulls the overall experience (unless it was Mind Zero, which artfully blended combat into a blissful final product).
In any case, I digress. Labyrinth of Galleria is the tale of Eureka, a girl with the self-proclaimed ability to discover things that are expertly hidden, sometimes unnaturally so. And she’s in luck, too, because the Galleria manor is specifically looking to hire an individual with just those talents. Eureka soon discovers that the manor is not what its facade would suggest, as deep within is a massive labyrinth that no human has explored – and returned alive. In order to do so, the mysterious woman in charge of the manor, along with Eureka (unbeknownst to her), summon a spirit that link with Eureka’s soul. Thus, Eureka can successfully explore the labyrinth vicariously through the spirit and her controlled puppets.
Much like the previous entry into the series, Labyrinth of Galleria is all about exploring a mysterious underground labyrinth while seeking out countless hidden treasures and secret passageways while using puppets you create to battle during the expedition. Gameplay is very standard for a dungeon crawler, with perhaps slight variations on some combat mechanics and, more importantly, exploration mechanics (they seem to be improved from the last entry, and exploration definitely felt much more open than the last time through).
Sound in Galleria is a typical NIS affair – boisterous brass with the occasional peaceful strings. Voice acting is solid, as usual, too, as NIS recruits experienced anime voice actors for their projects. Really, I have little complaints about this one – it’s not a particularly easy adventure, but the payoff for solving a puzzle, discovering a valuable secret, and advancing the story are all worth the entry fee. Additionally, replay value is high, and you’ll most likely sink well over 50-60 hours to feel satisfied with this one. If this is your style of game, I would say it may be a must buy. If you’re like me and not too fond of this style of dungeon crawler, you may find a lot to like (I did). I would encourage you to watch some gameplay videos to see if it is right for you. In any case, the final product is successful, and it is something that I will revisit well after this review is published.