Indie Review: The Labyrinth Game
The Labyrinth Game, developed by Static State Games, is an indie horror title in which you need to traverse an underground maze, survive long enough to retrieve a key and use it to escape.
- Worth The Time?Yes, definitely for thrill-seekers looking for their next fix.
- Things LovedThe fantastic visuals, the unnerving atmosphere and great use of sound, the dangerous enemies, the clever and all-round solid game mechanics, the randomly generated world makes for a dynamic experience.
- Things HatedEnemy attack animations are a bit choppy.
- RecommendationHorror fans looking for another fix will find a very satisfying one here. The game is both unique and intriguing enough to easily get your attention.
- Name: The Labyrinth Game
- Genre: Horror
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Static State Games
- Publisher: Static State Games
- Price: Free
- Reviewed On: PC
You can download the game for free here.
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The Labyrinth Game, developed by Static State Games, is an indie horror title that focuses on survival, stealth and navigation. In the game you find yourself trapped in a large underground maze, and you’ll need to not only survive the dangers within it but also search it for a skull key that you’ll need in order to escape. I went into this game knowing almost nothing about it, and I have to say that I’ve come away from it very satisfied and actually quite impressed. It may not be the scariest game you’ll play, but it’s far more focused on thrilling you rather than frightening you, and that’s really what makes it exciting. Either way you look at it, the indie scene continues to show that horror in gaming is far from dead.
Labyrinth, as it’s shortened to, makes use of simplistic but clever mechanics in its gameplay. You start out the game with a torch and a map that only highlights your immediate surroundings, so you’ll know where corners are and have a basic idea of your direction, but not much else. You’re able to strike with your torch, but this cannot damage enemies, only stun them and knock them back so you can retreat. You can also put out the fire of your torch, and reignite it using flints you pick up, and this is essential to the stealth part of the game, as is your sneak ability. Helpful notes are scattered around the place that give you hints and tips, but the general idea of the game is rather easy to grasp, and after one or two initial plays, you’ll certainly get the hang of it, and that’s exactly where the real fun begins.
The game has a very unnerving atmosphere, and sound plays an important part in the experience. You’ll need to carefully listen for nearby enemies, their footsteps and noises, and this ensures that you don’t run into trouble. Enemies, as already mentioned, can’t be killed, and you’ll need to avoid them by sneaking. If you’re seen, usually because of your torch, you’ll need to run, and there are various tunnels you can use to retreat and wait for enemies to wander off again. But your instinct counts for a lot in this game, as well as your ability to adapt, because basic enemies can crawl into tunnels to get after you, and it’s easy to get spotted if you’re not careful. Often quick thinking, and putting out your torch fast enough, are essential to survival, and striking enemies should be a last resort if they get too close. These elements of the game really help make it an intense experience, especially when you’re getting chased, and if you fail to act accordingly and quickly enough, you’ll die very quickly.
The world is randomly generated, which includes the location of the skull key you need to find, and the enemies inhabiting the labyrinth. Fortunately, the maze is just the right size, and it’s a great credit to the game design that you won’t ever get lost or have no idea where to go, and the map does play a key role in this as well. However, you do need some sense of direction, because once you find the key you’ll still need to return to the starting area of the game and use it. But before you get worried, the starting area is rather central and easy to find, which makes survival your main issue. Enemies are very lethal, and it takes only a few hits to take you down. The most dangerous of your foes is a giant Minotaur-like beast that charges you down the moment it sees you and takes you out in a second, but if you’re careful enough you can usually hear its loud grunts and footsteps a mile away.
The game looks like it was custom-built, and it’s certainly pretty impressive visually. Enemy models look fantastic, but I do have a nitpick that their attack animations are a bit choppy. The environment, while mostly dull in colour, is very fitting for the game, and the atmosphere is extremely good. It’s easy to get a very tiny bit of an Amnesia: The Dark Descent vibe from this game and, if inspiration was taken from that title, that’s definitely commendable. But it’s not just the visuals that deserve praise, but the great audio work as well. Apart from your own footsteps and rather creepy background noise, the music only flares up the moment you’re spotted and jogs a little when an enemy is near, which immediately creates high tension. Enemies can be heard in the distance, and this does a lot to add suspense as you’ll attempt to judge where the threat is. And once you actually pick up the skull key, the excellent sound work really nails home the atmosphere. Just for a last bit of technical information, the game uses its own installer, and it’s very easy to download and get running without any problems at all.
The Labyrinth Game is very well-made, and extremely enjoyable to play. It’s almost always thrilling, and it’s both intriguing and exciting enough that you’ll be compelled to finish it, and will feel rewarded when you do. This is a very satisfying experience, despite its short length, and it’s definitely worth playing.