Thank you Circle Entertainment for sending us a code for the game to review!
A few years back 3DS owners got to experience a unique twist to the RPG genre through the game Adventure Bar Story. In it, we ran a bar, cooked food, and adventured across the land searching for new ingredients to cook with. Now we're treated to its sequel, Adventure Labyrinth Story, which switches out the usual RPG gameplay for a rogue-like approach.
The game starts off with a few familiar faces discussing a labyrinth that has recently opened up outside of the town. A legendary weapon is said to be within it, and that pretty much sums up the story. The main character for this one is Lidia, and she has to clear a training dungeon before gaining access to the real labyrinth. This serves as a tutorial, but it shouldn't be taken lightly as one mistake could send you right back to the first floor.
Every time the labyrinth is entered it will be completely randomized. Item locations, enemies, and the stairs to progress lower will always be different. This isn't a new feature for a rogue-like by any means, but it helps to keep things feeling new. The top-down perspective allows for Lidia to see what's in the current room, but corridors will reduce her vision to a small circle. This only displays what's directly in front and behind her. Monsters will usually find you in these hallways and ambush you.
Scattered around are weapons, potions, and various books. Books can be used to identify items that are unknown, reveal the map layout on the bottom screen, and some cast magic on enemies. Defeating the creatures encountered will gain Lidia experience points and she'll eventually level up. This increases her attack and defense as well as her maximum health. Combat consists of facing an enemy and pressing 'A' to attack. A separate screen appears and displays the turn-based action. There's no inputs or actions to choose from, you just attack until either you or the enemy dies. Ranged combat is the way to go though as you'll get a hit on an enemy before they can initiate combat.
Lidia can only carry 24 items total, and multiples of an item do not stack. Initially I found this to be a flaw as I quickly ran out of room to hold things. I eventually discovered I could throw excess items at enemies to inflict damage. There are also special potions that can be thrown at enemies that will inflict statuses. There is also an item that lets you "tune" weapons and shields. By combining two of the same pieces of equipment a slightly more powerful version is created. This can also help to alleviate inventory space.
Once inside the labyrinth there's only two ways to return to town. By using a book called "Book of Escape" or dying. As the penalty for dying is being returned to town with no gold, it's not too big of an issue. The main reason as to why you'll come back is to cook up dishes to eat. Regardless of how you get back to town, you'll always start from the first floor when returning to the labyrinth. You also do not retain any levels gained; instead the items and equipment found are the only ways of starting off a new attempt with better stats.
A small feature that returns from Adventure Bar Story is finding ingredients to cook with in the labyrinth. Cooking up dishes can yield bonuses to Lidia's stats. Hunger also plays a part in the game. It's not enough to just drink health potions. You'll have to eat real food to keep your hunger away. If your hunger meter falls to zero, you'll begin taking damage from movement. Hunger is rarely seen as an actual detriment to progress in RPGs, and it's a welcomed feature here.
Visually, the labyrinth is a little on the bland side, though enemy designs are well done. Equipping different weapons is actually noticeable and I enjoy that attention to detail in RPGs. There's no 3D which was a shame. The music is serviceable and so are the sound effects. Nothing mind blowing, but it gets the job done all the same.
If you're ok with a little bit of fantasy violence and magic usage in your dungeon crawler, Adventure Labyrinth Story might be up your alley. It's a fairly vanilla dungeon crawler and most likely won't exceed your expectations of what the genre can produce. Though with that being said, it's still an enjoyable experience that you can sink a dozen hours into.