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Lapis x Labyrinth

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Lapis x Labyrinth Game Poster Image
Stacking battle tactics gives clever twist to action tale.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This cartoon-like game doesn’t attempt to deliver messages to the player (positive, negative, or otherwise). It’s a straightforward action/role-playing game that has you stack small heroes on top of one another, fight enemies, and earn treasure.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Like many role-playing games (RPGs), there are several male and female characters you can choose, level up, and pair with others in the party to create a strong team of fighters. We don't get to know these protagonists, so it’s difficult to ascertain whether they’re good role models, but they do fight against evil monsters.

Ease of Play

The mandatory tutorial walks you through the controls. It’s not difficult to pick up, but the game isn’t a cakewalk either. You’ll have a limited amount of time per dungeon, so it can be challenging to clear each room in time.

Violence

There's plenty of fantasy violence, as you fight against several kinds of enemies using swords, guns, daggers and scythes to destroy enemies all around you. But there's no blood or gore shown, and the enemies simply explode into colorful gems once defeated.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents should know that Lapis x Labyrinth is an anime-inspired action role-playing game (RPG) for the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The adventure has you stacking characters on top of one another, traveling underground to fight monsters with various weapons (swords, guns, daggers), and collecting as much treasure as possible within the time limit. Fantastical beasts cry out when attacked, but there's no blood or gore shown when monsters are defeated. Instead, creatures turn into coins and gems. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found in the game.

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What's it about?

LAPIS X LABYRINTH is a an action/role-playing game (RPG) adventure that casts players as friendly townspeople in a dire situation. When a struggling village falls on tough times, its only salvation is to raise enough money to turn things around, so you and you party agree to venture deep under the Golden Forest to find and retrieve gold and other treasures. Problem is, the hoards of monsters that lurk in these labyrinths aren’t going to give up these riches so easily. Players will customize (and upgrade) their party with more than 4,000 unique combinations, and then take advantage of the unique “stacking” gameplay feature of putting multiple characters on top of each other in a large column. These tactics are learned before hacking and slashing through enemies in synchronized attacks, unleashing special melee moves to clear a room, engaging in 2D platforming levels, unlocking treasure, and getting out before the time is up, per quest.

Is it any good?

This action-RPG may take some time to get used to, but once you do, you'll be surprised at how much fun is included here. Lapis x Labyrinth offers a ton of depth, customization, and intense, rewarding dungeon-based combat. The plot is simple, and the gameplay may seem a bit repetitive after a while -- each stage is basically getting a quest, going into a dungeon, and trying to defeat monsters before time runs out. The treasure you collect earns you points that can be redeemed to gain new weapons, armor, items, and other extras. But the charm of the game begins to emerge after you’ve mastered the controls and begin to clear areas of enemies, all the while seeing your points rising on the screen. Perform enough consecutive attacks, which incur a ton of damage, and you’ll unleash Fever Mode, which temporarily turns the screen into bright colors, with hundreds of gems flying around in all directions.

Much of the depth lies in the stacking system, where the characters literally stand on top of each other – akin to little kids wearing a large trench coat to appear as if they’re a tall adult – to take out opponents. Depending on the members of your party, they'll each come with basic attacks and special strikes that can be unleashed at any time. What's more, the ability to swap the order of characters at will is a smart way to adapt to the threats each monster can throw at you. With more than 80 quests spread across 10 unique areas, and more than 200 maps, there’s a ton of content here. The fights of Lapis X Labyrinth might start feeling like deja vu after a couple of hours, but the gratifying gameplay will keep bringing you back for one more dungeon run after another.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Lapis X Labyrinth affected by the fact that there's no blood or gore shown when you're attacking and defeating enemies? Would the impact be intensified if enemies showed blood or gore when they were attacked instead of coins and gems?

  • How important is it to understand how each one of these characters work together as a team to defeat enemies? Does it seem like the stacking battle mechanic gives you more functionality than other traditional, less acrobatic adventures?

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For kids who love action

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