MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death Review: Boredem Does In Fact Kill
ESRB Rating: T
It’s September, meaning the holiday season has begun. In terms of what’s to come to the Vita, one of the first games on the chopping block is a game known as MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death. This game is the second game produced in the Makai Ichiban Kan series with the first being Trillion:God of Destruction. These games share nothing in common outside of key members of the development team. Unlike Trillion, which was a mix between life-simulator and rouge-like, MeiQ is a Dungeon Role Playing Game through and through.
MeiQ’s story is pretty simple: the planet’s rotation has stopped and so the world is in a perpetual darkness. Mages from all over the world pilgrim to Machina City, specifically it’s Southern Cross section, as it’s said that a powerful mage there made the world turn again. You play as Estra, a relaxed mage that lived in a village only to make it here. Sadly outside of that and her seemingly not knowing much about technology that’s all we really know about her. This pretty much applies to the entire cast as well. There’s Flare, the hot-headed one always ready to fight, Connie the happy-go-lucky little girl, Maki the brains, and Setia the shy one. These girls travel through the towers in town to bathe in their holy waters in order to receive blessings. Receiving said blessings would allow them to gain the power to turn the planet’s key allowing the world to go back to normal. As far as plot goes, that’s about it. Of course there will be villains getting in your way but that’s that. The game is pretty light in terms of lore and story otherwise. Which is fine in retrospect of what the game is about but with how the game is padded, it just comes off as super bare bones.
The game’s dungeons take place in said towers, and with a name like Labyrinth of Death, the dungeons are huge. Howeveryou won’t be dying in this game, or at least, not much if you picked the normal difficulty. For some reason the the game gives you some ridiculously strong items in the beginning of the game which causes some weird balancing issues. The battle system is also super slow, you can speed them up holding down the X button but in the end, I almost wish I could turn them off because eventually I ended up doing the same moves over and over again making the battles pretty boring to look at and I just wanted them to be done with. Considering there are only a few dungeons in the game you’ll be going through some of them multiple times, because for some reason there would be an item in the previous dungeon to go get to help you out in the new dungeon. It’s not a pain to do it perse, but the game just becomes super repetitive in its story structure because of it and it just feels like the game is just being awkwardly fluffed up when, well, there’s nothing there to begin with. It should also be noted that, for a tile based dungeon crawler, there aren’t any traps in dungeons which is pretty unfortunate and the only time there’s a hole in the floor, there’s a story reason behind it. Overall, the dungeons are just bland and boring with one of them having a decent mechanic to them only to have it made terrible by the ‘defeat all of the monsters in the room to continue’ trope.
Speaking of terrible, to backtrack a bit, even though battles are terrible yes, min-maxing your stats are actually pretty fun. You see, these girls aren’t fighting on their own; they’re helped by giant robots called Guardians. While Guardians have a fixed element to them, you can change their body and both of their arms to suit your needs. Note that the changing of arms are how your attacks are mainly gotten and the Guardians native element dictate how well they can use them. You can buy some parts in shops but the real deal is having recipes to craft the really good parts, along with actually evolving your Guardian’s body. Guardians are generally on the front lines of battles while the girls don’t do anything on their own unless you have them do so. While having them do an action would place them in the front line, they generally aren’t attacked unless you have them attack or defend on their own. Doing anything else will just have the Guardian attacked instead unless the enemy can bypass this with one of their own attacks, which is pretty rare. That said, beware, if a girl goes down, the guardian also goes down; in the opposite situation girl is still active and can fight. Unfortunately the game just circumvents any form of difficulty by some characters the ability to use an escape spell at the end of a battle with generally every floor of a dungeon having a warp point. Meaning, if one of them is still active or you have an escape item, you can escape to the city and rest in the inn (for free I might add) and just continue back on that floor in no time at all. Not to mention that nothing happens if you lose either as you’re just sent right back to the inn. The gameplay just gives the game no sense of urgency whatsoever.
There are side quests in the game if you wish to do them. That being the case I honestly don’t know how deep they go other than fetch quests. When a mission was completed, another two missions popped up and the monsters never dropped the item they were supposed to. After hunting them down 10 times or so, I just stopped trying altogether and kept continuing what was – at the time – a decent and fun adventure.
In conclusion this game just has too many problems to be recommended to anybody unfortunately. What started off as a good and entertaining time just became a race to finish the game as fast as possible to get away from it. As stated before, the labyrinths are certainly huge but it does absolutely nothing with them. Customizing your robot is great and yet, the battles aren’t fun. The game certainly has cool ideas but there’s way more negatives than positives; with the worst of it all being that the Vita has so many DRPGs on it already – some of them being the best DRPGs ever made. For this one to come out after them just feels like wasted potential.
+Customizing your Guardians
-The amount of padding in the story
-Large dungeons with nothing special about them