Labyrinthica is a simplistic RPG that is easy to get into and even easier to enjoy.
RPGs are occasionally associated with multiple pages of statistics to decipher, upgrades to consider and experience points to grind – yet sometimes stripping all of this away in favour of a more simplistic approach can make for the best adventuring experiences. Labyrinthica: The Quest of Lima captures RPG gaming in its purest form, offering minimal stats yet a huge sense of progression.
Everything from the fighting to levelling up is simple yet effective, providing a journey that is so easy to get into, but difficult to break away from. Certain elements could perhaps have been explained better, and the interface needs a clearer mini-map, but in general Lima’s story is definitely worth following.
Labyrinthica begins with the story of Lima, an ordinary girl who heads out one day to pick apples. Without warning she faints, and awakens to find herself in a mysterious forest. She picks up a twig for a weapon and heads out to find her way home.
Gameplay is entirely melee-focused, with players aiming at enemies with the mouse and clicking to take a swipe at them. The arrow keys direct Lima around each randomly generated maze, and your task is to help her kill enough monsters so that she can escape through the exit. As enemies die they will drop food, weapons and potions that Lima can pick up to aid her in her quest.
Lima will automatically equip any weapons or armour that is of better quality than what she is wearing, meaning that the user doesn’t need to faff around in menus changing her inventory around – the focus is entirely on fighting and exploring without silly trips to the menu breaking up the flow of play. Each new item of clothing Lima wears or new weapon she equips will change the appearance of her character model – a very nice touch indeed.
There are twelve potions in total that Lima can pick up, and each has a different ability depending on how it’s used. She can choose to either use a potion on herself, or throw it at an enemy – hence, there are two-dozen different potions effects that can occur. Using the Berserk potion to make yourself breath fire all over your enemies is cool, but throwing one on an enemy and watching it burn all its friends is even more entertaining!
As mentioned previously, the levels are randomly-generated, meaning that no two playthroughs will be the same. This adds plenty to the game’s replay value, especially as you begin to discover the best uses for each potion and plan your own strategies. Your surroundings are initially out of view until you walk a little further, at which point your current path opens up to show where you’re heading. Progression is a huge part of Labyrinthica, and finding your way through dangerous environments is great fun.
What Labyrinthica does so right is keeping play very simple and ultimately very playable – you’ll spend all your time killing baddies and exploring, rather than checking stats screens. For example, your current level is shown as a bar at the top and each time you level up, your health increases. Yet your actual level is not shown on the main screen, as it’s technically not important – it’s the gameplay that is important.
Labyrinthica may be simple, but even so certain elements need explaining better. There is a help screen that describes each element, but a short tutorial would have done a much better job of explaining. The minimap in the corner of the screen is also a bit too simplistic, and we found ourselves not relying on it at all.
The game also lacks polish – the interface feels rather static and shallow, while the character animations aren’t exactly the best we’ve seen. With some extra work, Lima’s quest could have felt so much more alive.
As something a little bit different for RPG fanatics, Labyrinthica: The Quest of Lima will deliver hours of hack ‘n’ slash fun that is also easily accessible for more casual players. Make sure you check out the demo at the very least.