In a truly original storyline, a young boy has been transported to a magical dimension, and must now rescue his family...
As I get older, it seems my memory isn't what it used to be. So, I ask, where are all those memories going? Are they just disappearing into thin air? Or are they locked deep down into the vault of my mind? Well, actually all my lost memories are being taken to the land of Deep Labyrinth, where they are processed and erased by Volgalt, the elephant-headed pink monster. Um, yes, you did read that correctly. But, Volgalt will only be one of your worries once you get there.
Deep Labyrinth is a 3D first-person RPG originally released in Japan as a cell phone game, now is being imported to the Nintendo DS with expanded story, content, and reworked gameplay.
The story starts off with Shawn, a sixth grade boy, who is traveling with his parents and dog, Ace. They suddenly get a flat tire, and stop in front of a mysterious house. The parents and dog approach the house and enter searching for help to fix their tire. (I guess AAA wasn't available.) While Shawn is chilling out in the car, he decides to go explore also. He opens the door to the house, and (you guessed it), he is transported to a mystical and magical land, in which he encounters Volgalt, the pink elephant dude. Volgalt explains that his parents have been taken to Vimana, the airship of the gods, where memories are processed and erased; otherwise all those memories would be too much for us measly humans to handle.
Thus your quest beings to find your parents. You soon will encounter a bevy of strange creatures and characters. There is Moccho, the magical platypus, with a tattoo on its duck bill, wearing a funky golden crown. Moccho basically serves as a character who replenishes your health and allows you to save your game. The Mice are a group of rodent creatures spread throughout the world that will help you gain information and pointers as you progress through the game. A good portion of the game will take place in a deep, intricate, maze of a dungeon, where you will continue to encounter all kinds of strange enemies, such as evil two-headed dogs, troll-like creatures, dragons, and knights.
Gameplay mechanics are fairly easy to learn. All combat will be in real time, not turn-based as a traditional RPG. Movement is controlled by the d-pad, or the buttons, depending on your preference. (As a left-hander I really appreciate this feature.) Four icons along the right side of the screen represent combat, magic spells, defense, and items. By touching each icon with the stylus, it will activate what action you wish to execute.
When you touch the combat icon you activate swordplay, which is controlled by moving your stylus across the touch screen. The spell icon will bring up a grid, which you then draw symbols, called "kirie," across the grid to perform your spells. Different "kirie" are collected throughout the game to increase you spell inventory. The defense icon activates your shield. And the Items icon activates your inventory, which allows you to keep some items ready in your pocket, such as potions. Also you easily can pull up your character stats with the stylus.
Deep Labyrinth is divided into two chapters, with "First Chapter: Shawn and Ace" geared for younger audiences and newcomers to RPGs, and "Second Chapter: Wandering Soul" geared towards the expert RPG player, with mature overtones in music and style. It is this second chapter which is closely related to the original cell phone game, whereas the first chapter is the new content for American audiences.
First person RPGs aren't really my thing, but Deep Labyrinth has several things going for it that get my attention. For one it is being released by Atlus, who released one of my favorite DS titles, Trauma Center: Under the Knife. Atlus is becoming one of my favorite publishers; I am always interested in what they have coming down the pipeline (do I need to mention Contact?). Secondly, the game has some big names attached to it. Masato Kato, who worked on Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII and XI, and Xenogears is the scenario designer, and the music is composed by Yasunor Mitsuda, who worked on the Xenosaga series and Mario Party. With names like that, sign me up.
Deep Labyrinth is slated for an August 14th release.