The most exciting thing about Labyrinth of Legendary Loot, a roguelike dungeon crawler from Dominaxis Games, is how agile the gameplay feels despite being turn-based. You’ll be zipping around, fire and poison spewing from your hands as arrows and energy waves and on the tile you were just at, before finally sticking your Brutal Axe into the skull of the wizard who’s been hiding behind a wall of spiders and bears since you entered the room. It feels fast (despite being, you know, turn-based), it feels intuitive, and like all the best roguelikes, RNG granting you an absolutely busted combination of loot feels amazing.
You start the game with a straightforward tutorial that teaches you three basic concepts. The first is that the game is turn-based, with moving one tile taking up a full turn, and bumping into an object or enemy making your character perform a melee attack. The second is that your character can come across six different kinds of equipment, each with unique active abilities (except for amulets, which only have passives), often involving firing ranged attacks, buffing your character, or moving them around. The third is that projectiles cannot travel the length of the screen in a single turn, often allowing you to dodge projectiles by merely spending a turn to move aside.
These three form the foundation for a combat system that feels like a good marriage of turn-based tactical RPGs with a real-time action game’s reactive nature. One set of greaves, for example, allows me to reposition my character by one tile without spending my turn, allowing me to sidestep a surprise arrow from a skeleton archer while firing off a flame wave counterattack of my own. Meanwhile, a particular chest piece can give me the ability to heal myself for three turns with the heal increasing the more enemies surround me. Simultaneously, one of my amulets deals a burst of damage around me every time I gain HP, allowing me to purposely wade into crowds and bulldoze my way through them like an unstoppable paladin.
Of course, these gameplay mechanics wouldn’t be nearly as fun if the enemies’ abilities didn’t also play into the fluidity of combat, and thankfully they do. Spiders snag you with web attacks that forcefully pull you out of position and right into their faces while bears and dogs spend one turn channeling their abilities before unleashing wide sweeping attacks or leaping forward a couple of tiles at once. Giant slimes explode upon death into smaller slimes that explode into acid that cover tiles, attempting to restrict your movements, and you’ll never know what can happen when you enter a room with a pissed-off wizard.
With stats being based entirely around equipment bonuses instead of levels and RPG stat sheets and with its basic systems being so intuitive, Labyrinth of Legendary Loot makes for a perfect entry point for players new to roguelikes and dungeon crawling games alike. And as someone who thought the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games could have had more dynamic combat, I couldn’t be more delighted with what I just played.
Give it a try. If nothing else, this game lets you phase through enemies and teleport behind them with a blade like an anime villain, and everyone knows there is no more satisfying way to beat up a wizard.
Labyrinth of Legendary Loot is available for PC on itch.io and mobile devices on Android. This review is based on the free PC version. Note: The screenshots were provided by the developers as we couldn’t use our own due to technical difficulties.