I love getting my hands on a good old-school dungeon crawler and thankfully, Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi completely hit the spot.
Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi was made by the developers of some of my favourite dungeon crawler RPGs and you can even choose portraits from their past games such as Saviors of Sapphire Wings, Stranger of Sword City, and Students of Round: The Eternal Legend when you're creating your character. How awesome is that? Well, we're off to a good start! After being thoroughly introduced to the world of Undernauts, I was quite surprised by just how grisly it is. For starters, you play as a team of adventurers who are searching for treasures in underground monster-filled dungeons and along the way, you'll end up meeting plenty of disturbing monstrosities and even do things like scoop brains out of convicts you killed to feed them to a boss. How does everyone not immediately go insane? v1d30chumz 3-236-107-249
The gruesome world within Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi is one of its most striking aspects and some will appreciate that more than others as it can become quite repulsive. However, something I'm sure everyone will love is the clever use of items as you traverse the dungeons that can do things like create and unlock doors, erect ladders, and extend bridges. Collecting these items then using them in order to discover new areas and create shortcuts so you can easily return to various areas is exceptionally satisfying stuff.
There's a substantial layer of puzzle-solving involved, too, as you'll have to piece together how to complete each area within the massive game world. Once you narrow down how to master an area then defeat the boss, it simply feels awesome as your abilities to manage your party as well as deduce how to progress will both be thoroughly tested. With that in mind, some of the puzzles had me scratching my head for far too long such as one that said the proper solution is behind a paper clue that I had. Does that mean it's written on the back of the paper? No, it was on another piece of paper that was located behind where I found the first one. Okay... 🤔
Managing your party is open-ended which is something that I always appreciate because it makes success feel like it's entirely up to you. Besides creating each party member by choosing their background, job, and even a trinket; you'll also be able to promote folks to a couple of job variations, equip them with upgradable weapons and armour, and learn and upgrade passive and active skills. There's also a fusion reactor that allows you to convert your items into currencies that you can use to purchase various things with. Although all of this is excellent, I found optimizing my party to be quite time consuming so I wish that there were more automated options available such as auto-equip, sell everything, upgrade to max, etc. Instead, I didn't optimize often as I wanted to just keep trekking ahead.
Now, Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi takes a healthy chunk of time before it becomes truly engaging. Traversing the first dungeon area which spans 3 floors takes a very long time and although you'll solve some stand-out puzzles, explore a few immersive and memorable locations, and meet a handful of dastardly foes; it still feels confined until you unlock the ability to use the warp flowers that have been popping up whenever you cleared missions as they take you to some very different environments. Specifically, you'll enter a poison-filled forest with odd guardians dotted around, a creepy cemetery, and the perplexing Tower of Alchemy. As you explore these dungeons, you'll complete oodles of side-missions so it constantly feels like you're progressing even if you end up juggling the tasks at hand.
Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi is up there with Stranger of Sword City, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls, and Demon Gaze on my short list of favourite dungeon crawlers of all time. It may be gruesome and occasionally perplexing but holy hot damn, is it rewarding.
- + Absolutely outstanding dungeon-crawling gameplay with rewarding puzzles
- + Awesome open-ended party management
- + Exceptionally clever scenarios and bosses
- - Some puzzles and party management aspects could be more intuitive
- - Takes quite a while to get interesting
- - Might be too macabre for some