MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death (Playstation Vita/TV)

Thanks to Idea Factory International for the review code

Title: MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death
System: Playstation Vita/TV
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 09/13/2016


Story

Taking place in the same Makai Ichiban Kan series that Trillion did, MeiQ is the story of a group of Astral Mages who met set out on a journey to the five towers of the world in order to save it from destruction. While the story doesn’t go directly mention Trillion or really feel like a sequel in terms of story, it does have similar aspects such as the art style, menu designs and other minor similarities.

Graphics

Continuing with the anime artstyle seen in other Idea Factory titles, dialogue is presented in text boxes with characters giving expressions based on the events of the story. Menus have a similar design to those used in Trillion, though thankfully this game isn’t filled to the brim with them. Dungeon crawling takes place in a first person perspective, something that I’ve seen a few times already. While the insides of the dungeons themselves look cleaner than the dungeons I had to deal with in Stranger of Sword City, I couldn’t help but feel that this first person dungeon exploration has been done to death already.

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Music and Sound

Unlike the forgettable soundtrack from Trillion, MeiQ goes for a calmer soundtrack, with the Black Tower theme being one that provokes a sense of curiosity and dread. While this still isn’t a soundtrack that you’ll want to go out of your way to download, it is one that will remain somewhat memorable in comparison to the previous game in the series.

Gameplay

As mentioned above, MeiQ is a first-person dungeon crawling RPG, where the main objective is to explore every nook and cranny of each floor in the five towers. Encounters are randomized and when pulled into a battle you’ll have the option to fight the enemy with either your guardian mech (which gives you special abilities depending on their equipped body parts) or your Astral Mage, which can be switched via the triangle button.

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The astral mages have low defense and physical offense and will go down quickly, but they can help turn the tide of tricky fights due to their high attack magic. You also seem to gain more experience for defeating enemies as the mages, giving the combat system a bit of a risk and reward aspect to it. However, you can’t use their magic attacks non-stop as they have a limit to how many times they can perform a move in one dungeon trip. This means you’ll have to focus on being careful with your mage attacks and learn to master the guardians mechs. Depending on the resources you find from enemies or hidden chests in the towers you may be able to upgrade their equipment to change their movesets, which vary by element.

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Unfortunately, you will inevitably run out of steam sooner or later, and return trips to town are crucial to surviving the dangerous enemies in later towers, meaning there will be some grinding to do regardless of the difficulty you choose. This constant effort of going back and forth between tower and town makes the game feel repetitive for quite some time, only to get a bit better once you level up and learn a spell that teleports you to tower checkpoints.

Conclusion

In conclusion, MeiQ is another game that suffers from the lack of a hook, or something to draw me towards finishing the game. I did give it a good shot, completing the first tower and making my way through a majority of the second, but after a while the repetitive nature began to show, and despite a solid combat system and being a much better entry in the Makai series than Trillion, it’s tricky to recommend on a system that already has multiple games of the same type. If you don’t mind the repetitive nature that comes with first person dungeon crawling, and are sure that this game will keep your attention then I think you may enjoy MeiQ for what it is, though outside of that I can’t really recommend it to outsiders of the genre, but at least you’ll get your money’s worth when it comes to the length. I give MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death a 7 out of 10.

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