Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk – Review
Follow Genre: RPG Dungeon Crawler
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, PC
Tested on: Nintendo Switch

Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk – Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Very indepth storyline and gameplay
Bad: The dungeon graphics lack some refinement
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Dungeon crawlers are an ancient genre that still inhabit the gaming world. After all these years it still can bring some new and improved elements to the table and with the new Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk game, NIS America served us with just that. An intriguing storyline takes you to the depths of a labyrinth filled with miasma which kills humans. Only one human survived the underground maze and lived barely long enough to write down his story and findings. He spends nearly seven days and seven nights without sleep to finish it and died under mysterious circumstances a few days later. By doing so, he leaves behind his legacy and grants you the only known knowledge to start your adventure.

Story

This story will take you to a world faraway called Tanis, where faint traces of magic still linger. In this world you can find a little and mysterious town, called Refrain. Refrain is holding onto one of the more darker secrets of Tanis. Far beneath the surface of the land you can find an unexplored labyrinth. Not a soul knows who ever build it or even when and why it was build. Some say it contains treasures that could control the world and make you immortal all with slumbering demon king whose awakening could end the world.

What is known for certain is that the labyrinth is filled with cursed miasma, a substance that brings death to any human it touches. One day, the great witch Baba Yaga aka Madame Dronya, arrived at the town of Refrain with the intend to explore the labyrinth. She has in her possession a legendary book, said to have been written by the only man who ever explored the labyrinth and lived to tell about it. This book has a particular name, the Tractatus de Monstrum.

You’ll aid the witch in her quest of exploring the labyrinth and unravelling the mysteries that reside above and below the ground of Refrain. Her storyline intertwines with yours and develops slowly but certainly after every completed ‘floor’ in the labyrinth.

Graphics

We don’t know how this game makes us feel in terms of the graphics, because the drawings are absolutely stunning and well done, there is not a single remark we could find about them. The landscapes or background images of the game are amazing pieces of environment art, but when the storyline isn’t shown and you are exploring the dungeons we see something totally different. Green miasma is smudged against all of the walls, looking like a frog puked over every single one of them. The green lakes filled with miasma are way too basic and the hallways are pretty repetitive in terms of textures. Then again, when we look at the monsters or your party icons inside the dungeon, we can only compliment game art designers.

Sound

Sound wise the game doesn’t lack a thing. Every story driven scene or passage is fully voice acted, all of your characters have their own lines they shout when they attack and if that isn’t satisfying you yet, they also picked the right soothing background music! Sadly, this is something a lot of other games lack, while NIS America succeeds in it with this title.

Gameplay

Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a RPG dungeon crawler which is a nice addition to the game genre and will surely give you hours of fun. As the Tractatus de Monstrum you need to map out the whole labyrinth for your mistress, the great witch Baba Yaga aka Madame Dronya, who controls you. Because you are a book and can’t magically fly or walk, you’ll be carried by any chosen amount of covens which contains puppets, the limit of covens you can activate are five.

Those puppets are also your fighters, mages, rangers, healers or whatsoever. In the puppet workbench you can create them, but solely when you have the required parts for them. You can choose between six races which can be male or female and have racial abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Take care of them in the dungeon, because when they all die, you’ll lose all your progress and your puppets lose limbs, which are a pain in the ass to repair.

The combat does also involves the skills of the puppets. They all have a basic attack, one or more Donum attacks (Donum is the term they use for stamina or mana in this game) and a defence stance. The better your gear, the higher you hit and the lesser your enemies can hurt you and the combat is turn based. Also when it comes to gear you have a lot of possibilities regarding the weapons. The rest of your outfit contains a jewellery item, headgear, shoes and body armour.

In your main menu in the game you can access in the caravan, here you can prepare yourself and your puppets for the exploration, watch the storyline and occasionally save your game. When you are ready to explore some more you can enter the labyrinth trough the well of Refrain. You can only move in four directions and use your arrow buttons, the joysticks do not work. When exploring the labyrinth you’ll encounter a lot of enemies, question marks with tips and treasures. It is up to you and your acquired skills to make it out alive.

Conclusion

Overall Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk ticks all the boxes it needs to. It has a lot of good RPG and dungeon crawler aspects and an intriguing storyline that keeps you playing for hours on end. The way they display their puppets is a pretty nice change in our opinion, instead of your usual ‘minions’ who are depicted as their human form. This is obviously one of the more expensive titles of the Nintendo Switch but proves its worth in the first few hours of playtime.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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