[PS4 Double Review] Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk Review
Tour a forbidden labyrinth underneath a city and find treasure and bring it back to your mistress. Did we mention you’re a living book? Learn more about this one in our Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk review!
From Nippon Ichi Software, creators of the Disgaea™ series, comes Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk.
In this dungeon RPG, you play as the Tractatus de Monstrum, a living book owned by the conniving Dusk Witch Dronya, and confront the dangers lurking beneath the quiet town of Refrain. Assemble an army of up to 40 fully customizable puppet soldiers and wield unique skills, deadly magic, combination attacks, and powerful weapons to annihilate terrifying monsters and conquer the labyrinth of Refrain!
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk – Launch Trailer | PS4
This is a double review for the PS4 versions of Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk. The game was played on PS4 by the_nmac and Tracey. This review presents what they both had to say.
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a first-person dungeon crawler. You play as Tractatus de Monstrum, Tractie for short, a mysterious book with a soul trapped inside it. The book is able to communicate by filling its pages and Tractie is being controlled by a witch known as Dronya. Dronya orders Tractie to explore the Dungeons of Refrain on her behalf. The caravan is your base of operations, the base will expand as you progress through the story. Once you begin the game only the Witch’s report will be available at the start. Viewing Witch’s reports often advance the story. In order to advance the story, you need to fill conditions Dronya asks of you.
Gameplay is pretty typical of a dungeon crawler, and you can move up, down and sideways in a first-person view by using the DualShock 4 D-Pad. While exploring the Labyrinth you will come across many enemies, and combat is turn-based. You don’t have to directly do any combat, so instead your puppet soldiers will fight on your behalf. Your puppets are assigned to units known as Covens. Each command you give is given to a Coven, and each Coven has a max of three puppets, and you have five Covens which are known as a Brigade – think of an Army Regiment. Each Division within an Army is called a Company, and a group within a Company is known as a Platoon. The setup works in a similar fashion, so once you have issued your choices you can then engage combat and let the puppet soldiers do the work while you sit back and watch! You can fortify your Covens by reducing the damage they receive, and if things get rough you have the option of escaping.
While exploring dungeons, when you see a red exclamation point this will a mark for a story event. You will experience many of these story events as they help progress the story a little bit, and sometimes they give you a little bit of info on what you do next. Also while exploring dungeons there are many treasures for you to find, and if you see any green markings on the map they are for mana, so do collect it all! You can choose to destroy common stuff and keep all the good stuff from the settings menu, so make sure you adjust the settings before you play the game. There is also dual audio, so if you prefer Japanese voices you can make the change.
The mana is pretty important since the mana you collect while exploring the dungeons will allow you to buy skills to aid you, which includes a skill called Mud Exit which will prove to be very valuable to have as it creates a portal that will make the game a little easier in the long run. You can also purchase difficulty changes if the game is too easy or too hard for you, so explore every nook and cranny so you can buy up every skill you want.
Skills costs Reinforcement Points to use, and you begin the game with a fixed amount, so you need to be mindful of your Reinforcement Points and use them only when you really need to. You can use the points to break down walls and find hidden secrets, but I would wait until the entire dungeon is fully explored so that you can see how many points you have before doing this kind of activity. Going back to the Caravan will recover your reinforcement points, so do keep that in mind!
You can also craft new puppet soldiers, but in order to do that you need souls and puppet parts, and the level of customization available when creating puppets is very fun, but I will leave that element of surprise for you to find out! There are six classes to choose from for your newly crafted puppet soldiers, so be sure to mix things up so that you can have a balanced party that can deal with anything the game throws at you!
The game is really addictive the map fills out as you explore and that urge to fill out every single square is really strong. There will often be multiple paths you can choose from and you will find yourself wondering which path to take but end up doing both. Walk a little ways one side and then rinse and repeat and hope for a dead end to appear so you can carry on through the other side. The need to completely fill the entire dungeon is very very addictive!
Last but not least, the trophy list is very… cryptic. Most trophies are related to the story and to some surprises here and there. This being a dungeon crawler, the difficulty does ramp up as you progress, and a single run is not going to net you all the trophies in that one go. You’re going to spend dozens of hours in this one, and it’s certainly going to be worth it!
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is an interesting game which I’m glad I got the opportunity to play. Tracey covered a ton of similar thoughts that I had but I wanted to dive into some things a bit more. I’m a huge fan of old school first-person dungeon crawling, which can also be seen in MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death and a bit in Severed – albeit with some different gameplay mechanics. As someone who is a completionist when playing games, there is a deeply satisfying gameplay loop of exploring the floors, filling in the maps and finding all of the secrets as you descend further into the dungeon.
You do have to watch as you are exploring as there are pitfalls that can affect you, including drops to other levels of the dungeons which can cause some damage to your party – even to the point of death! The loop of exploring, finding treasure, going back to the surface to see what you’ve earned, and upgrading your team, is really good and will continue getting better as you play the game.
Having your puppets battle for you is really cool as well. You can continue to create puppets when you find souls and parts and upgrade them to make your group stronger. You find armor and weapons like you would do in other RPG, so you’ll always be customizing your loadout. The flurry once you start filling your Covens with puppets gets interesting as you see damage numbers flying all over the screen. The relationship between the puppets in a Coven is also very interesting since the more they are together the closer they get and the more bonuses you get.
I don’t want to dive deep into the story, as I don’t want to spoil anything, for you, but I do want to mention that it’s really fun. The Mayor of Refrain has brought you here to explore the well underneath the city which humans can’t do. In between spelunking down below you will learn more about the town and it’s dirty secrets. It’s a compelling narrative that manages to pull you in as you continue to go deeper and deeper into the labyrinths.
We fell in love with the game as we played it, taking all of what this dungeon crawler has to offer, exploring every nook and cranny. The battle system is different and fun, and we enjoyed the story the game gave us as well. We think this is a title that everyone should be checking out, even more so if you’re a fan of the genre since this is a very polished release.
Disclaimer This review is based on PS4 digital copies of Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk provided by NIS America Inc.
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An excellent throwback dungeon crawler with some really cool twists
Tracey reviewed Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX, a tower defense featuring RPG elements on the PlayStation 4, from Level Up Labs. We’ve even interviewed Level Up Labs about their Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX release!
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA is a new entry in the long-running series on PS4 and PS Vita. Read our Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA to see why it is a must-have game!
I’m a huge fan of the Ys series, having played several entries in the long-running series, so you bet I was very happy to get a chance to review Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA. It’s been a while since the release of Ys VII, which launched in 2009, and five years since the release of Ys: Memories of Celceta on PlayStation Vita. This time around, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA is available both on PlayStation 4 and on PlayStation Vita, bringing us a brand new adventure to enjoy.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA features gorgeous graphics and an amazing story, not to mention fun gameplay mechanics and challenging boss fights you can’t just button-mash your way out of. The game follows the story of Adol Christian who ends up shipwrecked on an island that is said to be cursed. Adol must explore the Island and uncover its many mysteries as he looks for survivors of the shipwreck, eventually building a new village. The survivors that you manage to rescue will provide you with their services in return for bringing them to safety.
The game’s story is great, with several twists and turns to discover as you play, which I won’t spoil in here! And along with the main campaign, there are a ton of side-quests you can take part in. You can end up spending dozens of hours on side-quests alone before even making a dent on the actual storyline in the game!
Combat is real-time and quite fast-paced. It’s not a button mash type of game, so you’ll need to properly prepare for them and strategize as needed. This is especially true for bosses since you’ll need to find and learn their movement and attack patterns or else they’ll make short work of you. There is also an EX System in place in which you’ll be able to full up a meter that will then allow you to do massive damage – I suggest you save these for bosses so that can considerably increase your odds of survival. To use your EX Skills, hold down the L1 and R2 buttons simultaneously and you’r ready to go!
You can switch characters on the fly at anytime, so you will get to experience the abilities of different characters as you progress. At the start, you only have Laxia to switch, but you will eventually have more characters in your group to mix and match as needed. There are many abilities to learn and level up, adding a nice dash of variety to the game. Variety is the spice of life, right?
One of my favorite activities in the game, along with foraging for ingredients and hunting for treasure chests, is fishing. Fishing is awesome in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA, and could pretty much have been its own separate game. Trust me, once you can fish you will spend hours doing that at every chance you get!
As expected, this massive game has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy, and you’re going to have to take the long road towards that Platinum! There are plenty of quests to complete and rewards to obtain, as well as a relationship system that will affect things here and there, not to mention the multiple endings in the game! You’ll also get to unlock some trophies for fully exploring maps, which is certainly a treat since each area is gorgeous – the scenery and locations will push you to search everywhere for new areas to experience!
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA is a massive game for PlayStation 4 and Vita with so much to do. It’s a very fun and gorgeous game with a solid story, making this a game that you have to play on PlayStation 4 today. It’s definitely now in the running for Game of the Year (at least in my book), and hopefully you will feel the same once you get started with your adventure!
Disclaimer This Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA review is based on a PS4 copy provided by NIS America.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a couch co-op game in which you navigate from planet to planet in order to recover lost life forms. Read our Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime review!
The game is all about relationships and teamwork and being able to work in harmony while in space to be able to solve puzzles and save an assortment of animals from their predicaments. Your teamwork skills in this game will be tested either in single player with an AI co-op partner, in the form of a pet, or in full co-op mode with a friend or a significant other.
The ship you’re maneuvering has a lot of stations in it, since each station has a different purpose. For instance, one is for moving the ship, another is for firing up the upper turret, another is to show the map. You and your partner must synchronize your efforts so that the ship reaches its destination while recovering the captive life forms. It’s a fun premise, and you can even play with your kids! I let my daughter once in charge of the ship, only to see her ram into a planet… which is when I awarded her the title of Turret Master, as I realized I had to take care of the navigation.
I love playing with my kids, and since each mission is short, we had several short gameplay bursts right before their bed time. This is definitively a game you want to add to your collection if you’re looking for a fun co-op experience. Even if you’re playing on your own, I’m happy to report that the AI is very good, which is usually not the case for AI companions.
Be sure to give this one a go as it’s worthy of your time and money, especially since it’s currently part of the Flash Sale and available at a considerable discount!
After a lot of hype, Agents of Mayhem is finally available on PlayStation 4. Did it live up to it? Read our Agents of Mayhem review to find out!
Two years after their last release, Volition is back with a new open world adventure titled Agents of Mayhem, a spin-off to the popular Saints Row series, set right after the events of Gat out of Hell. Should you join the Multinational AgencY Hunting Evil Masterminds (M.A.Y.H.E.M.) to stop the League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations (L.E.G.I.O.N.)?
Welcome to Seoul, the city of tomorrow. After a short cinematic you’re thrown right into the action with the three initial agents available in the game: Fortune, a notorious sky pirate who gets help from her drone Glory; Hardtack, a former Chief Petty Officer who goes head on against his enemies with his shotgun and harpoon; and Hollywood, the “Face of MAYHEM,” the aspiring actor armed to the [perfect] teeth with his rifle.
The Saints Row series has always put you in control of a single character, so the first thing we can notice from this spin-off is that you can control a total of twelve agents, each with his/her own distinct abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. When leaving your base to go on missions, you’ll be able to choose the three agents who’ll be part of your squad for taking care of all missions.
Speaking of missions, there’s a ton of them, as is the case for most open world adventures. You’ve obviously got your main story missions, but then there are optional missions, crystal shards to collect (over 300!) that allow you to upgrade your character skills, and more. All those missions and objectives will earn you experience for your squad agents and money that can be used to purchase upgrades. Another interesting aspect is that the experience and money you’ll get varies based on the difficulty setting you’re currently playing on. Speaking of which, we’re not talking about two or three difficulty levels, as there’s is a total of sixteen difficulty settings!
As for how the game plays, you’re looking at your typical third-person action game where you move around the city to a mission starting point, on foot or by car, start your mission and shoot around to achieve your goals. While that sounds pretty much like all the other open world games out there (which is not a bad thing if you like the genre), the fact that you can switch between your three agents during the missions makes the planning important so that you can make sure you’re using the right agents for the job.
One thing you’ll notice while playing the game is the nice visuals, full of bright colors with a nice mix of futuristic and traditional buildings throughout Seoul. While not as jaw-dropping as a game like, say, the latest Uncharted, the game does look great. PS4 Pro owners can expect a couple of enhancements to the visuals, including full HDR support and a maximum output of 60 fps.
It’s been a while since I played an open world game, the last one being inFamous Second Son (which I loved Platinumed), so I was eager to try this one out, especially since I never got around to try any of the Saints Row games. I can report that the game is very fun and that I’m still playing it even after writing this review thanks to all the agents you can choose from and the variety they bring to the gameplay. How could I not have fun when one of the character’s special MAYHEM attack involves a boom box that stuns enemies and inflicts them with Sick Dance Moves? There are also some skin packs available as DLC, so that you can, for example, dress up pretty boy Hollywood as the Man of Iron, if you know what I mean.
If you’re on the hunt for some trophies, this is going to take a while. It’s a grindy one but not a hard one. For example, there’s a trophy that involves clearing missions on the 7th difficulty (or higher), but since you also have to get all your agents at level 20 (and one at level 40), it’ll probably be a piece of cake by then. The only trophy that seems a bit intense for me is for Connected Contracts. You basically have 24 hours in realtime to complete a set of given objectives, such as, for example, killing 300 enemies of three different types (a total of 900 enemies). This one pretty much demands that you play the game for a considerable amount of time during that window of opportunity, so be ready!
Final Thoughts Volition has done something great with Agents of Mayhem. It does a good job at being a spin-off that can stand on its own, providing players with a lot of content and a lot of variety to keep them busy for a long time. Fans of open world games and/or the Saints Row series definitely need to play this game. I hope it’s not the last we’ve seen of the M.A.Y.H.E.M. organization, since I would certainly be up for playing a sequel or two!
Disclaimer This Agents of Mayhem review is based on a PS4 copy provided by Deep Silver.
Pressure Overdrive is a twin-stick action racing game from Chasing Carrots. Is it a good one? Read our Pressure Overdrive review to find out!
Step up a gear with Pressure Overdrive! Start your steam buggy and join “La Resistance”. It’s still time to prevent Count Soap from powering his Uber-Spa with stolen water! In Pressure Overdrive you drive through an action packed world, filled with crazy characters and funky humor. This game will challenge your skills, while you race, ram and blast your way through countless bullets and enemies. Customize your buggy for clever play styles and have a friend join the cause in local coop mode. “La Resistance” counts on you! Do you have what it takes?
Pressure Overdrive – Launch trailer
Pressure Overdrive starts as Morgan – our main protagonist – wants to go swimming in the lake right next to his house. Unfortunately, he soon notices that a band of evildoers took away all the water off. Morgan decides to race up the now dry riverbed in order to reclaim his river. It’s honestly a silly premise, but it perfectly sets the comical tone for the rest of the game!
In essence, Pressure Overdrive is a twin stick shooter in which the left stick steers your buggy, and the right one shoots with your equipped weapon. Your buggy runs on pressure (hence the game name), and you need pressure to fire shots so that you can destroy your enemies. If you run out of pressure, your buggy won’t stop and will only shoot (really) slowly. But fear not as destroying other buggies will reward you with a small pressure bonus.
There is also a garage available where you can buy upgrades for your buggy or increase its defense. When upgrading your buggy, you’ll need to consider that some upgrades use more pressure, so you’ll eventually need to buy upgrades that increase the available pressure. I also had fun reading the short descriptions for the upgrades!
Pressure Overdrive features three different game modes. You’ll want to begin with the campaign which will lead you through the riverbed and up to recover your lake. Then there is a Free Play, followed by Endless. In Endless you will go through waves of enemies in smaller races than those found in the main campaign. Once you reach the end of a segment, you are greeted by a Slot Wheel which will give you the chance to earn one of four temporary or permanent upgrades (depending on your luck), which will be available until your buggy explodes – and when that happens you can rank your score in the online leaderboards. There is even a couch co-op mode available!
The presentation of Pressure Overdrive is impressive as the game, making this a gorgeous and colorful game running at a solid 60fps. As you progress through the game, you’ll also get to check out different cutscenes and meet epic bosses, which sometimes made me feel as if I was watching a Saturday morning cartoon! The soundtrack for the game is also catchy and you might find yourself humming a tune or two after you’ve finished your gaming session.
Final Thoughts I liked playing through Pressure Overdrive, and had fun with the way each race was setup. The environments look great and the game runs very smoothly. There are a ton of upgrades you can add to your buggy so that you can customize your experience, adding a lot of replay value to the game – especially when you factor in Endless mode and the leaderboards.
————————- Cost: $12.99 PSN Game size: 1.0GB (PS4)
Disclaimer This Pressure Overdrive review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Chasing Carrots.
Pentadimensional Games is currently working on Megaton Rainfall, a game they plan to release on PlayStation VR on September 26. Check out some new info and screens for the game!
Alfonso del Cerro from Pentadimensional Games had this to say:
Megaton Rainfall fills the market gap of “games that let you control an indestructible superbeing who can fly at supersonic speeds across the Earth facing a global alien invasion and preventing the destruction of one city after another.”
Yes, at the beginning of the game you can only roam the Earth, from the bottom of the ocean to the stratosphere, looking for threats.
Later, this freedom of movement will increase, letting you fly to the Moon or walk across the surface of the Sun — not quite a standard in the FPS genre.