Labyrinth of Zangetsu brings traditional Japanese art to the dungeon crawler genre

PQube and Acquire have announced a new game that is sure to excite those of you who like your dungeon crawlers: Labyrinth of Zangetsu! And in contrast to many other DRPGs out there today, the game eschews a colourful anime style in favour of a moody, inky aesthetic inspired by traditional Japanese sumi-e art, making it immediately stand out.

Acquire, if the name sounds familiar, are a prolific and well-regarded developer who are best known for their Tenchu and Way of the Samurai series, but over the years they’ve also worked on a variety of RPG titles, including co-developing Octopath Traveler with Square Enix, Mind Zero for Vita, the Akiba’s Trip series and Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls.

Labyrinth of Zangetsu

In Labyrinth of Zangetsu, you take control of a party of adventurers who have come to the fortress city of Ido. Ido is one of the last bastions against a deadly force known as the Ink of Ruin, and the people live in fear of the Ink Beasts that take over the bodies of anyone they encounter.

Your adventurers are Ink Destroyers, equipped with the ability to head into the areas overrun by the Ink of Ruin and defeat the Ink Beasts within — with the ultimate aim of saving Ido from destruction.

In Labyrinth of Zangetsu, your party of six adventurers can either be drawn from a predefined lineup, or you can create your own using distinctive stats and abilities. The game makes use of a two-row structure in battle, with three vanguard characters in the front row attacking the deadly Ink Beasts, while three in the back row support the party by defending, parrying and using various other abilities.

Labyrinth of Zangetsu

Much as the game’s art style is inspired by traditional Japanese sumi-e techniques, the monsters in the game are also drawn from traditional Japanese mythology and folklore. Expect to encounter a variety of demons, youkai and ghosts; you’ll need to make good use of all your characters’ abilities to come out on top against them.

And likewise, the game’s soundtrack also makes use of traditional Japanese instrumentation, melodies and compositional techniques to provide a truly authentic-feeling experience.

Labyrinth of Zangetsu is a first-person grid-based dungeon crawler, meaning that the emphasis is firmly on exploring maze-like dungeons and battling enemies along the way. Acquire has plenty of past experience in this genre — perhaps most notably, their work on 2011’s Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls saw them contributing to the latter days of the series that essentially defined the dungeon crawler as we know it today, so they absolutely know their stuff.

These games are often very mechanics-centric, but Labyrinth of Zangetsu also combines this gameplay-focused approach with a strong narrative that apparently allows you to both “enjoy your successes and reflect upon your losses”.

Labyrinth of Zangetsu

Exactly what this means as yet remains to be seen, but it sounds as if the game will allow you to continue after suffering setbacks rather than simply hitting you with a “Game Over”. If so, this will be an interesting twist on the usual conventions of the genre; either way, you’ll probably want to save often to ensure you get the best out of your party of adventurers!

Labyrinth of Zangetsu is on the way for PC via Steam, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Our friends at Funstock are doing a physical release of the game for both PS4 and Switch, and this is available for preorder from today. You can also add the game to your Wishlist on Steam right now.

If you’re a fan of the DRPG subgenre, this is definitely going to be one to watch — not just for its distinctive art style, but for the development pedigree behind it. It looks set to be a great time for those hungry for some challenging adventure, so we’ll have more on it a little closer to release.

Join The Discussion

Rice Digital Discord
Rice Digital Twitter
Rice Digital Facebook

Or write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page by clicking here!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!

Pete Davison
Spread the love!

Related post

This will close in 0 seconds