Labyrinthilim is a 3D dungeon-crawl released in 2016 by Pheonix/Feenicks (Festivus, Witch, Winged Realm). The narrative is centered on Hyvera, a deposed Demon Lord, and Palion, Hyvera’s sole loyal underling, as they seek to escape the Demiplane in which they have been imprisoned – a journey which leads them to the mazelike realm of Altinum, in search of a rumored exit that will permit them to ascend to another plane. Or something. Anyway the point is you’re “in,” you need to get “out,” and “out” is through a maze.
The environments are vague and evocative in just the right way, although much of the dungeon is repetitive (as I suppose is probably the point in a labyrinth). A shadowy palette of blues, purples, greens, and grays creates an atmosphere of Lovecraftian weirdness throughout. The droning ambient sound that scores the opening sequence has a spooky quality that lends the experience a sense of mystery and foreboding. Later areas feature moody chiptunes that vary from Metroidian ambient synth-bleeping to very well composed classically-influenced compositions – full of memorable melodies, tense harmonies, fluttering arpeggios, and surprising key transpositions.
Although the dungeon is navigated from a first-person perspective, the player characters are depicted by no less than three graphical representations; all of them consistent enough in design, aesthetic, and palette to be readily understood as their respective character. The small portraits and sprites are only seen as part of the menu interface (when checking status and using/equipping items), but nevertheless they are very cleanly executed. The avatars that are seen most are the large portraits that appear in the dungeon view when the player characters are conversing amongst themselves. These illustrations are not as tightly drafted as the smaller avatars, but their sketchiness lends them a homemade charm that I find agreeable. If anything, some stray pixels could be tidied up around the edges.
All of the character designs are strong and sport easily identifiable color schemes. The enemy sprites look great, and the battles bring some Japanese RPG flavor to a game that is otherwise largely influenced by early Western RPGs. The shopkeepers all have a hint of personality, and there are even a couple of unexpected NPC encounters. Text is revealed gradually but rapidly, accompanied by a percussive sound that conjures the sensation of using a typewriter or early home computer. A small detail, but hugely satisfying.
If Labyrinthilium has any strikes against it, they are largely by-products of it being a demo rather than a complete game. That is to say it is unique, attractive, functional, and uses the OHR engine in a novel way, but doesn’t offer much substance in terms of gameplay and narrative. Overall though, one of the more impressive OHR projects I’ve seen. I’d love to see it expanded to completion.
...spake The Lord Thy God.