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Game Info:

Puzzle Labyrinth
Developed by: Intense
Published by: Circle Entertainment
Release date: June 9, 2016 
Available on: 3DS
Genre: Puzzle Dungeon Crawler
Number of Players: Single-Player
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Everyone 10 and Up (Alcohol Reference and Fantasy Violence)
Price: $5.00

Thank you Circle for sending us a review code!

Puzzle Labyrinth is a first-person puzzle game that is also part dungeon crawler. Exploring every tile and examining each wall will become crucial in this difficult title.

There isn't an explanation as to why you're exploring this labyrinth, but the freedom of the main character relies on overcoming it. Spread across 60 stages, players must overcome varying degrees of difficult puzzles. The difficulty isn't quite consistent, as some early puzzles are incredibly tricky to solve. You initially are given five keys to unlock any of the selectable stages. If you run out, you are forced to solve the stages you previously skipped over. This became a huge hindrance halfway through the game.

Most of the puzzles involve collecting items and using them in a specific manner. Once a certain condition is met, a monster can be battled to open the labyrinth door. Battles in Puzzle Labyrinth are not at all normal though. Some levels will require the player to give an enemy an item. This will satisfy them and they will leave, opening the door. Others will require using weapons and items in correct orders to overcome bigger beasts.

Puzzle Labyrinth
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting blend of genres; Encourages critical thinking; The combat system is a refreshing change.
Weak Points: Translation errors can make some stages harder than they should be; Music is slightly repetitive.
Moral Warnings: One puzzle involves getting a monster intoxicated; There are some instances of magic.

One of the more interesting elements to the game is the usage of time travel. In some stages there are warp tiles that look like melting clocks. Black clocks will move the character forward in time, and red ones will allow traveling back in time. These will be used to manipulate time in order to do things like grow a flower from a seed in an instant. They will also act as warp zones, allowing movement to tiles that may otherwise be inaccessible. Though to be honest, it's not the most extravagant use of time travel 

As far as the music goes, it's decent, albeit only being composed of four songs. All 60 stages have the same song playing as you solve the many abstract puzzles. It's not the best song in the world, but it never got annoying to me, so I give it credit. The stage select music, which I honestly really enjoyed, will loop endlessly. Lastly is the game over track, which you'll hear a lot, and the very short stage completion track. Other than that, the sound effects are nice and help to differentiate each tile that can be interacted with.

The graphics are actually really nice inside the labyrinth. The 3D is used very well, and I had no issues when turning the slider all the way up. The monsters are all designed really well, but the dragons were definitely my favorites. They are threatening in their own way, and with the unique battle system, it makes them more intimidating when you can't kill them. As for the actual stages themselves, there are usually enough tiles with items and objects that you may not notice the drab white walls. That's not to say there aren't a few stages where there's nothing but white walls. 

Puzzle Labyrinth
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls/Interface - 3/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The biggest issues for this game are the translation errors. At this point it's not surprising for an Intense game to get a bad translation job. The problem here is that many of the item descriptions and enemy dialogue are horrendously mistranslated, resulting in me getting stuck halfway through. I highly recommend that anyone who gets this game visit the Miiverse community for help if they get stuck.

Morally, this game is pretty safe. The female flying monsters are designed to be seductive in nature so there is that. Wizards do cast magic, although, it's usually just a fireball that flings from their hands. The violence is really nonexistent as the battles do not show any kind of battle damage. A slicing animation and a sound effect are all that battles consist of.

This isn't a perfect puzzle game by any means, but that shouldn't deter fans of the genre from playing it. For the price, and the fact that I had to use my brain more than usual for once in a video game, I do recommend Puzzle Labyrinth. It took me 12 hours to get through all 60 stages, and I felt compelled to beat it. If Circle can possibly implement a patch in the future to fix the translation errors, this could be the best puzzle game on the eShop in its price range.

-Kyuremu

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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