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Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk Game Poster Image
Mature, entertaining turn-based dungeon adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There are no positive or negative messages here. Characters only have the dungeon to explore and monsters to fight.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players assume the role of a "living book" called the Tractatus de Monstrum, which helps a witch explore a mysterious and expansive dungeon, relying on puppet soldiers to battle enemies and collect treasure. There's no real development of the book character, so it's questionable as to whether it's a positive or negative character.

Ease of Play

Played from a first person perspective, this dungeon-based turn-based RPG is simple to pick up and the controls aren't difficult to learn. If the game is too tough -- as some boss fighters are difficult to take down -- you can scale back the challenge.

Violence

Combat makes up most of the game. Theres some blood and the word "Gore Hit" splashed on the screen at times. Turn-based combat lets you exchange blows against monsters with weapons or magic, until someone's life meter is full depleted.

Sex

Some female characters have only their nipples and genitals covered by paint or bubbles. In one boss fight, one large character, who may be male, is topless, with nipples shown. In some cutscenes, a woman is described as touching another woman (thought it's not seen by the player). There are plenty of sexual comments in dialogue, and moaning sounds heard implying off-camera sex.

Language

Frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a dungeon crawling adventure for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs. The game has some violence -- such as slaying human and non-human enemies with weapons and magic, and wit occasional cartoon-like blood splatter. There's some sexual content as well, including some characters who are partially nude (with private parts mostly covered), sexually suggestive dialog sequences that refer to off-camera sex, and moaning sounds can be heard. The game also has strong profanity with words like "f--k" and "s--t."

User Reviews

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What's it about?

LABYRINTH OF REFRAIN: COVEN OF DUSK is a first-person dungeon crawler. This single-player narrative follows a witch named Dronya and her young apprentice, Luca, who arrive in the far-off town of Refrain. Masquerading as a simple traveling puppet show, Dronya's true intention is to infiltrate the Well of Khalazain the center of town, which leads to the sprawling dungeons beneath, which are supposed to lead to mountains of treasure. The problem is, it's guarded by vicious monsters and laced with deadly traps. By using the book, Tractatus de Monstrum, Dronya summons her loyal puppets to soldier on in these subterranean labyrinths to lead her to the prize. You can create your own puppet soldiers, assign them different roles, and send them out in squads to destroy those that stand in their way. You'll roam around a huge labyrinth and, through turn-based combat, tackle enemies using weapons and magic, find treasures, and level up over time.

Is it any good?

While you might not have heard of it, this role-playing game (RPG) is lots of fun, and will make gamers think of classic adventures with its dungeon focused gameplay. Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk features a lot of standard features RPG fans will recognize, such as winding maze-like dungeons, puzzles, collectibles, secrets, and turn-based fantasy combat. As such, it'll likely remind seasoned gamers of classics like Wizardry, The Lands of Lore, and The Bard’s Tale. In fact, there's a ton of variety in the dungeons and you're approach to them -- such as shrinking down in size to battle evil plants or tackling huge dirt-covered trolls, which require different tactics to take down successfully. You can use magic to break down walls, study the map to uncover secret passages, and spend as much (or little) time you like customizing your huge party of puppets.

As you get deeper into the game, you'll unlock more slots to drop fighters into, and balancing out your party once you find a winning combination is vital (friendly party members fight stronger together, too). Some bosses are quite challenging, but they can be gratifyingly defeated through trial and error. There's a lot of depth here, and if the game gets too tough, you can decrease its difficulty, too. While the mature storyline may not be everyone's cup of tea -- some of the sexual dialog, imagery and moaning sounds felt out of place for this game -- and the presentation isn't as impressive as it could have been -- there's a lot to like here. From the story to the dungeons, Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a surprisingly good game for fans of the genre.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sexual imagery in games. Would Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk be just as fun without the sexual imagery? Does this imagery add anything to the gameplay, or is it simply for shock value?

  • Do you feel connected to the characters that you control in Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, or do they seem like meaningless figures because they're puppets that you control? Would you be more interested in they were real people you met and got to know along your journey?

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