+Amazingly intricate dungeon designs
+Intuitive gameplay mechanics
–A Shallow story that feels rather silly and impossible to follow
–Difficulty spikes can be difficult to overcome
–Building new bots can be a rather large hassle in its own.
Whenever I hear that two of my favorite duos have teamed up once again, it’s hard for me not to be excited, and it continues on to be that way with Idea Factory and Compile Heart. They are one of the strongest duos in the industry when it comes to making some of the best RPGs in the world, and it continues on thankfully to the help of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, which I’ve been enjoying for years on end. The latest from this team up comes under the name of MeiQ: Labyinth of Death, which brings us into a new gameplay perspective for the PlayStation Vita. Well not new, but definitely new from Compile Heart and Idea Factory.
With near constant releases across the world, MeiQ is a series I’ve neglected with the many releases the series has received over the years, but thanks to Idea Factory that has changed and we’ve finally gone hands on with it. Not just hands on, but full playthrough that has allowed us to try and enjoy this latest entry for MeiQ. While I know that Compile Heart and Idea factory aren’t a one trick pony, it still comes out hard to believe and doesn’t seem to change much between their two games.
MeiQ: Laybrinth of Death isn’t all Bad
Before I begin to truly pick apart the games flaws, lets take a look at what makes MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is a rather enjoyable before I begin hammering down on some of my biggest problems with the game. To begin, the world we are presented isn’t a bad one, nor is it flawed. Each character feels truly alive, enjoyable, and even brings in something completely new in comparison to what we’ve experienced before.
The world has been cursed with an eternal night that seeks to never end. With the curse being more problematic than ever before, game presents itself as in need of a hero that can attempt to lift it, and place those at the helm of the cause to rest. With various guardians spread across the world, it’s hard for any of the hopeful heroines or heroes to find their way through, but for us it is possible thanks to our ability to control a machina.
The downside to this, the hopefuls are weapon that are barely dressed, oddly young, and could quite easily be said to be overly well endowed. Their enemies should be worried more about their chests than the weapons or magic they wield. This is quite easily offset by the games overall appeal, which is quite unique thanks to the games beautiful artwork and character designs. While there, as stated, a diverse set of characters, MeiQ fails to alleviate on this as much of this unless you look into their personalities, which even then are almost one-in-the-same at the end of the day.
One thing that does make the game a bit more enjoyable is the games use of dual audio that can be chosen within the options menu. Here you can use the Japanese voice overs, which quite honestly, alleviates some of the nuances this game comes embedded with. This only serves as a minor alleviation from the games painful and identical encounters that seem rather identical. It’d have been nice if they had seemed to make this game a bit more unique with newer monsters, mini-boss fights, and more intricate puzzle designs.
And Now for the Ugly Side of MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death
As stated, MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death isn’t such a horrible game at all times, and in many ways, it has been quite painful for a good bit of it. Much as one would expect, the game has five characters that players will be able to choose from to form their party, and in this one we are restricted to using only three of our characters to choose from. Also, our heroes will be paired up with mechs titled “Guardians”. Unfortunately, this also means that players will be grinding out gear parts for these Guardians in order to customize them and grab new parts.
In order to also enjoy the game requires fans to enjoy an RPG that isn’t just turn based, but also requires fans to constantly click forward, left, right, or back on the d-pad or thumbsticks in order to get where they want. As much as this seems as a small problem, after ten-to-twenty hours, it becomes a rather large scale problem for many. while characters and their use of magic as well as items can be useful, it’s not near as useful as it could have been have been were they using their guardians. Another issue, however does lie in wait with the games combat systems: Combos. While Combos seem like something that would be hard to enjoy, it is something present within this game, but is not nearly as easy as games like White Knight Chronicles or even as the ones on Phantasy Star IV where players could easily access them when needed be as players alternate between Guardians for each character.
However, let alone does combat show these issues, one of the largest ones just happens to come about with difficulty scaling. This actually shows up quite easily in several occasions where players will encounter Boss Genbu who just happens to show the games later spike in overall difficulty. It’s places like him and even The Earth Dragon Gomorrah battle where the difficult spikes and even requires fans to grind quite a bit more before taking on further adventures. The downside to this exists in the extent it slows down the overall enjoyment of the game due to how much time fans will spend moving across each dungeon once more. To be honest even on easy the game presented itself with an overall difficulty spike that at times, made me wish there had been an easier selection, and a choice in boss difficulty levels.
Unlike other RPGs, MeiQ: The Labyrinth of Death isn’t one where you can expect to just beat your way through it. Instead the game does require players to use strategy, farm, and even get the best gear available for their characters. Defeat in the game is actually an option as there is no penalty for it. I’ve found times when I’ve died a few times on boss fights before moving back, and even found myself grinning at the idea I didn’t find my health lowered, or even penalized for each of my deaths. Had the game punished me a bit more, I’m sure I’d had been a bit more cautious in my overall adventures. For now, even post review? I’ll find myself still trudging on even more violently than ever before to ensure I can brute force my way through the games hard difficulty.
Closing Thoughts on MeiQ: The Labyrinth of Death
MeiQ: The Labyrinth of Death – PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV
Developer: Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory
Released: Available Now
While my complaints on MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death seem minor, the game does suffer from multiple scenarios of issues relating to a shoddy story, poor character development, difficulty spikes, and even repetitious combat that will send many cringing in pain due to all of it. While some may find fun in MeiQ: The Labyrinth of Death, it’d be easier to pick up a different Compile Hearts title and even find one that you may enjoy a bit more, but that does not go without saying that this game does deserve a fair chance from those wishing to give it a chance.
For now, I’ll stick with Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Rising and keep giving it the multiple playthroughs it enjoys.
Our review is based on a full release version that was provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.