Not a big fan of the purple clothes on a purple body routine. Consider yourself on Fashion Probation.
I've only played the first thirty minutes of Labrinthillium. I can tell I'm going to have a lot to say about it (Hopefully!). So rather than shutting down the review machine (which is already pretty slow) I'm going to try to review it in chunks as I go along, like the world's worst Let's Play.
So for the record, this first chunk encompasses gameplay experience from the intro to the first boss. When the story starts, a mysterious figure has got you dead to rights. Usually, I dislike it when a story starts with an instant mystery (After all, Matlock starts with an alive guy, we find out the reasons people want him dead, then he dies, THEN Matlock solves it. You don't start with the dead body, like, not instantly), but I think it works here for two important reasons.
Number one is that it's very, very brief. About 4 or 5 textboxes and then play. Refreshingly, there's no unwinnable battle at the start. I hate that. After all, Matlock doesn't start with him losing a case and then coming back to win the next one. He's the world's best lawyer, his record isn't 50/50, god damnit.
The second reason, equally important, is that it doesn't overshadow the immediate threat. "i've been captured by a mysterious figure AND MUST ESCAPE FROM THIS MAGICAL DUNGEON", the emphasis is in the right place, I guess you'd say. I don't have a Matlock metaphor for this paragraph. A lot of games are like "a dragon is burning his way up the coastline AND I REALLY WONDER WHERE MY DAD WENT 10 YEARS AGO" and it doesn't work, the priorities are out of whack.
You're not alone in this prison, though. You've apparently not only been a bad girl (rowr), you've been a leader of bad girls, and now you're weakened, alone, surrounded by former lackeys and henchmen. Bad wizard girls in a bad wizard prison.. ooooh yeah. You're not entirely alone, thankfully. You've got your Feenicks trademark snarky hetero-life partner broad to help out.
At this point, the explanations are done, the training wheels are off, and you can clearly see one thing: God DAMN this is a good looking game. It's another 3D Dungeon Crawl, like Feenicks' previous game Festivus. Festivus was gorgeous, but Labyrinthillium is the Ginger to its Mary-Anne. The battle backdrops and out of dungeon pieces especially are improved, with this unique aesthetic that reminds me of the Money for Nothing music video from when I was 50 years old.
It's in battle that a few of the quirks start to show up: You can't target your attacks. This bothered me a lot at first, but an NPC explains that it's decided on an attack to attack basis and is intended to be part of the strategy. I'm not sure if I like it or not, but I'm curious how it'll play out. The battles use the default engine, but from a unique perspective to hide the fact. You also get EXP and Gold on a separate screen after the battle to further hide the default OHR stuff. This is great and something everyone should do: As much as possible, file off the serial numbers and make your game its own.
The main hero can "copy" skillsets from the enemy and apply them for later use. This is why the way skills auto-target is extra strategic, because you have to choose the right skill set for the situation. I like the idea of this, but I don't fully understand the layout of the menu, and you have to hit space to confirm your selection. Enter, and presumably the other use-keys, didn't work. It's a minor annoyance but everytime it happens you kinda bust out of the rhythm of menu.
Still too early in the game to judge difficulty, but I think it's in the sweet spot of risk/reward. My first time into the dungeon I made it halfway through, opened a few short cuts and then had to come up for air. Second time through I made it a little farther and third time through I busted the boss. She was kind of a whiny henchman who went off to pout after I beat her. I get the idea she's going to join the party later, and I can't wait.
I like that the NPCs give hints, in that old Legend of Zelda style, where there's just a room in the dungeon with a dude who tell you "There's a reason your attacks are acting weird" or "Enemies have different colors for a reason, figure out why". NPCs in the dungeon are a very good thing because they give you good landmarks. The only downside of this beautiful 3D style of play is that it's harder to get a sense of motion and location because so much of the screen looks the same each step. In a traditional overhead look, there's 4 rows or columns of pixels that change every step and you can feel where you are a little better.
Just like Festivus, there's a minimap system and it works great, but just like Festivus, when you load a save game you lose the minimap progress. That really bothered me in Festivus, I considered it a necesary technical omission, but now I think of it more as a feature, a compromise between old-school "DRAW YOUR OWN MAP" brutality and the modern hand-holdy bull crap.
Since I'm still playing, I guess I don't have to wrap things up. Awesome. Would I suggest the first 30 minutes of Labyrinthilium? Absolutely.