There are certain games which develop a reputation because of the fanservice employed within them. Dungeon Travelers 2 features a lot, which means people might not notice the detailed class system within it that encourages extensive dungeon crawling to continually improve the characters. Omega Labyrinth Life and Labyrinth Life for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 find themselves in a similar situation. It isn’t the best or most detailed roguelike game out there. If someone wants to play one one of the all-time greats, Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is the one to go with. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is more beginner (and family) friendly fare. But, Omega Labyrinth Life does get some things right about the roguelike experience and makes it easier for newcomers to understand, which is appreciated.
Omega Labyrinth Life begins with Hinata transferring in to the exclusive Belles Fleurs Academy. Most students have been there since they were children and attendance tends to run in families, so this is a very big deal. In fact, she’s the first transfer student ever! After arriving, she finds herself in a mystery dungeon, with a detached voice helping and talking her through it. She gets out fine and gets to class, immediately gets a best friend/prospective girlfriend named Berune, and seems to be immediately accepted. Except, once the students go to show the new girl the garden, they find it has withered. Since her and her arrival is the only new factor, she’s blamed. However, it isn’t her fault and, after volunteering to help try and set things right (with the help of Berune), she goes into dungeon after dungeon looking for the Soma that could restore the Great Spirit Flora and attempts to rescue the flowers. Eventually, her infectious energy and genuine desire to help lead to her being able to recruit other characters like Juri, Mei, Mio, Nanami, and Yurika to her cause. Which means more moveset options and potential pairings for dungeon-crawling. That allows you to be more strategic when planning each run into the roguelike’s procedurally generated dungeons and decide when to use healers like Yurika and damage dealers like Mei to help cover yourself.
A lot of the quality of life features present in Omega Labyrinth Life that make it an accommodating roguelike are rather obvious. You have a GPS strap feature that lets you attach something to equipment or items you like to keep them from being lost if you die in a dungeon. Dungeons start out with only about six floors, so you aren’t spending an extended period of time trying to survive. You have the option of having one partner character with you at all times, and you can switch between which member of the duo is the one you control. If the partner dies, she resurrects on the next floor like nothing ever happened. Other characters from the academy could be on a floor in the dungeon at the same time as you, ready to give you some kind of item or bonus for speaking with them and the option to pull them in as an ally. Also, any enemies that AI NPC fights while on the same floor as you also gives you experience, so you can level up quicker. When characters do level up, all of their health is immediately restored.
It’s the garden element in Omega Labyrinth Life that also helps make surviving a little easier. It is essentially an idle element that gradually rewards players. As you go through dungeons or provide certain currencies, you can acquire seeds. Planting certain amounts of flowers not only changes the garden’s look, but also the Nectar output. You’re very strongly encouraged and reminded to plant as many seeds as possible before heading into any labyrinth, watering them, then going away so you can reap the rewards when you get back. (By the way, press B after planting and watering to speed the process up!)
Once you get your daily dose of Nectar, you can head to Yuyu at the greenhouse to have her augment the heroines. Every heroine has one initial Skill Bloom to level up, and more can be acquired by doing things like purchasing them from Director Rinka’s shop. Investing Nectar into the experience triggers a touching minigame where you poke at the heroine to excite her. (You have the option to skip this, if you’d like.) You then level up certain active and passive skills that always carry over into the dungeon. For example, Rinka is a well-rounded beginner character. Her initial skill, Blossom Flare, deals damage to enemies in the eight squares surrounding her when triggered. However, she also has a passive skill like Unbreakable Heart, which will let her survive a lethal attack with 1HP left, or Increased Strength, which boosts her strength stat’s value permanently. On the other hand, Yurika is more of a support character. Her first skill is Pleasure – “Plaisir,” which heals all allies for 50HP, cures status effects, and has a regen property for 10 turns. The second one is Allure – “Aguichant,” which causes a hallucinogenic effect on monsters in her area for ten turns.
Omega Labyrinth Life seems like the sort of roguelike where Matrix Software knew that a part of its audience may have been coming for the fanservice, rather than the genre. So, it added elements that would help people thrive. There are a lot of little things, like getting health restored when leveling up or finding other allies in dungeons to swap in or out, that can help. Even more useful is the garden, which can be passively providing the nectar you need to get permanent boosts and skills that always stick with you and make journeys less hazardous. It’s these kinds of things that people might overlook when talking about the game and could be helpful to people who are interested in it for various reasons, but are unfamiliar with the genre.
Omega Labyrinth Life is available for the Nintendo Switch and Labyrinth Life is available for the PlayStation 4.