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Deep Labyrinth

Metroid Prime Hunters aside, the DS' 3D powers haven't been used for the kinds of adventures that make you feel like you're really in the game. Deep Labyrinth should change that. It arms you with a sword, shield and the ability to believe you've just been drawn into a medieval fantasy world. 

The primary chapter of Labyrinth stars a boy who walks into the wrong house at the wrong time. He's sucked into a mystery world where human memories go when they're no longer needed, which is apparently under the watchful eye of a crowned platypus. Uh, yeah.

Gameplay is similar to the King's Field series, or if you want to stretch really far, this year's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The touch screen additions, however, have you slashing the screen to attack and drawing out designs to launch elemental spells at the various enemies that lurk about in this dream world. The DS microphone is also used, in one instance to blow the dust off a magic-hoarding tablet. If the whole thing could run quicker and cut down on touch-screen lag, this could be a satisfying little adventure.

To move around, you have to use the D-pad. This makes navigating the 3D world a little junky at times. You can lock on to enemies and strafe around them, but plopping some movement options to the L and R buttons sure would make moseying around all the chatty rat-people easier.

The first chapter is designed for beginning players, so the overworld is extremely simple, usually just a few rooms at a time and then a fight or two. The second chapter drops you right into the action - no tutorials or friendly animal things to walk you through it. It does use the same weapons and spells though, so you can count that as good or bad.

We're a couple of hours into Deep Labyrinth and still find ourselves curious to see what happens next. The simple interface and completely nutty storyline are mostly to thank for that, though the beatiful music (courtesy of Yasunori Mitsuda, the man behind Chrono Cross and Xenosaga Episode I's tunes) makes the journey chirp along smoothly.

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