’m going to try carefully describing Labyrinth Legends to you. So you know what a dungeon crawler is? Alright, you’ve pretty much got a good idea of what you’re in for with this game.
In Labyrinth Legends, the player controls a knight on a quest to save a princess. On his quest he’ll pick up loot like armor and gold and fight hordes of zombies while traversing cavernizzddiuhihuihuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii--WHA! What? What just-- oh it appears that I fell asleep at my desk while typing that sentence. Where was I?
I always feel bad calling a game “boring.” It’s often reductive and a disservice, even to a bad game. The worst games I’ve ever played have, at the very least, given me something to talk about. But some games are just... boring.
That’s how I felt during Labyrinth Legends. Nothing about it got my ire up or frustrated me. It’s just not very well done, and doesn’t even attempt to give us anything other than what we expect from the most basic information about the game. You have a guy. This guy kills things, and he uses a sword. Square is normal attack, triangle does a woosh thing that has a cool-down and there’s a dash in there, because why not.
Occasionally we see puzzle elements that liven things up. Some buzzsaws sometimes fly out of the wall for you to dodge, or the floor will move. And I guess SOMEONE must think pushing blocks is still fun. We still see it so much that there has to be one guy out there who still enjoys doing it. I, however, was done with that on the first PlayStation.
After a few dungeons you’ve seen all the game’s tricks. Repeated puzzles (like pushing blocks) add nauseum, and it eventually feels like the level designer is dragging and dropping things like the game was built in a level editor with very few options. Sometimes you get a room that seems unlike anything else in the game, but it'll be over quick and those moments are few and far between.
Attacking while holding forward will make your character perform leaping power attacks, leaving him wide open for the whole jump. This makes running into the fray really annoying, because every time you confront an enemy who’s more than one step away, you must either wait for them to get to you or run up to them, stop and then attack lest you leave yourself open to losing a whole heart right at the beginning of a fight. This kind of thing plagues all the controls. Everything just feels kind of chunky and segmented, and like I’m just yelling commands to someone else playing rather than feeling like I’m in complete control. It adds to the overall cheapness of the game’s feel.
If this were four or five years ago, I would just write off the lame visuals and controls as, “Oh, it’s just a download game.” But now we have Journey, Castle Crashers, Flower, and a plethora of other great download games that cost very little money compared to AAA games, despite them feeling just as polished as those games you buy at a store on a disc. It even looks like a game from five years ago with its flat, Adobe Flash-looking aesthetic, limited movement in the animation, and lifeless characters. And now with almost everything -- even big budget games -- being available digitally day one, the line between retail and download games is getting more and more blurred. There just isn’t room in the market for me to recommend a game like this these days.
Labyrinth Legends consists of a mayonaise sandwich on white bread from Subway. It feels like someone told a few guys to "make a dungeon crawler," and they did. It’s competent enough, but with its unintuitive controls, ugly presentation, and failure to even attempt movement beyond the most basic genre trappings, it really doesn’t fit in with the other great games available for the same price on PSN.
If this ever drops to $3 on PlayStation Plus, I say go for it. It’s fine for an afternoon. But it will be forgotten by everyone within the week (if it hasn’t been already).