Labyrinth X (Xbox 360) review
"Trial and error so tedious, it even takes the gleam off barely-covered anime tits."
A little ways in to Labyrinth X, you might find yourself in an unexplainably cosy dining room, where you're greeted by a buxom cook. No doubt she senses you're tired from the almost half a minute or so of adventuring that had come before you, and offers you a welcome reprieve.
Maybe you think it's suspicious that such a kindly offer is afforded you so early on, politely refuse the invitation, and continue on your way. What a rude adventurer you are! Just because you're right in the guts of an evil maze, trying to rescue numerous large-breasted women from the grip of pixallated evil is no reason to be such a suspicious Sally! There's no reason to pass up a delicious home-cooked meal, and who's ever heard of an attractive young lady using her looks and cooking skills to trick someone before? (Isn't that right, Andrea Summers, former girlfriend and stealer of half my DVDs? I know you read these things) . A courteous adventurer accepts this gracious offer.
Bet none of you saw that coming!
It should be worth noting that munching a few mouthfuls of boiled zombie head doesn't really have any ill effects on you. It's just a valid example of some of the oddball happenstances the exploration of Labyrinth X can throw your way. Had you taken a different turning, you would have instead met an elderly magician guarding a decapitated head frozen solid in a block of ice. He explains that it was the head of his wife, lost in battle and kept on ice until such a time as he can revive her. Then he promptly forgets about the subject, whisks you into the next room, and makes a dodgy Matrix reference.
Thing is, I'm not sure that this is an attempt at irrelevant humour, or just bad writing. If anything, I'd lean towards the latter, because Labyrinth X is, on all levels, a pretty lazy game. I'll not take the chance to jump up on my soapbox and attack developer Team Shuriken's myriad XBLI arcade titles, because it's common knowledge what they offer; paper thin games constructed behind the promise of barley covered anime tits. This game is perhaps the best in their library. This does not bode well for them.
Maybe its biggest problem is that it doesn't want to settle on a challenge curve. The first 'puzzle' offered comes right at the entrance of the maze after you're given a pep-talk by a female barbarian in a fuzzy bra, It's a dead end, guarded by a spaced out little monster you have to engage to continue. The game offers a number of choices, from poking it in either eye, sticking your fingers up its nose, or disturbing a moth settled on its head. One option unrealistically opens a hidden door. The others lead to hilarious animations sadly found lacking in hilarity.
Progression is assured via harmless, time sapping trial and error. However! Stumble across any of the game's 'real' battles, and you're given a static menu offering a list of attacks that make no contextual sense. Not kicking a giant spider leads to a gory, but bravely animated death scene. Why? Dunno. Likewise, try and kick a bat, and you die. You see, the correct answer to fighting off an evil bat is to punch it. You punch bats, and you kick spiders. That's the way of the world. Apparently.
There's a moral to this story: should you want to revel in this game's only real selling point, do a Google image search on "ecchi", save yourself 80msp, and enjoy countless pages of free fanservice. To find the admittedly well drawn examples hidden within this game means undertaking pointlessly random choices that seem to verge far too heavily on irrelevant trial and error, making you replay each failed choice endlessly until you learn the correct combinations to advance through your path of unexplainable failures. Then you see some tame softcore porn, possibly get a glimpse at a belly button, and it's on to the next frustration. Labyrinth X does attempt to break up some of the frustration with scattered checkpoints, that's appreciated. I'd certainly be a lot less forgiving if this game's lethargy towards basic logic ensured that I was punished by every mistake with trip right back to the pointless monster whose nose I could penetrate with my index finger. But, hey, check this shit out:
Those are very nice, I do admit. But they're not even close to reward enough to trudge through what Labyrinth X has to offer.
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