We’re looking at four new releases in the indie scene today, with reviews of Labyrinth City: Pierre The Maze Detective for the Switch and Metaloid: Origin on the PlayStation 4, as well as a look at new content for Synth Riders and the release of Indigo 7: Quest for Love – which is hopefully heading to the Vita soon!
Labyrinth City: Pierre The Maze Detective review (Switch)
We’ll readily admit that no one here was familiar with Pierre The Maze Detective prior to the release of Labyrinth City: Pierre The Maze Detective for the Switch, which comes a short while after the PC release of the game. After playing through Labyrinth City, however, we’re convinced it’s a marvelous concept for a children’s book – and it makes for a really fun game as well.
As Pierre, you have to track down your nemesis Mr. X, who’s stolen a precious magical item from the Opera City Museum called the Maze Stone. You can probably guess what it does – it turns the environment around it into a giant labyrinth. You’ll see this on screen as well, with beautifully made hand-drawn mazes you have to find your way through.
This isn’t just a case of ‘trace your way until you find the exit’, but an adventure where your way through is aided by clues that invite you to investigate the environment in order to get closer to the thief. But because these aren’t the abstract mazes you remember getting in a newspaper or magazines, each labyrinth if filled with people and objects blocking your path – creating challenges within challenges as you talk to fellow citizens and make your way around each maze.
With ladders and tunnels to aid you, investigating each maze becomes fun, rarely frustrating and never dull. It helps that the game is gorgeously drawn and comes alive with a good soundtrack as well, of course. These are easily the most lively and vibrant mazes I’ve ever seen. And once you tackle the main story, there are plenty of hidden extras and collectibles to find and enjoy as well – many of which you’ll encounter as you stray from the path because you’re enjoying your conversations and interactions within Labyrinth City so much.
If you look past the undeniable charm this is definitely a game best suited to younger players, but it’s one of those rare cases where parents will easily be enchanted by it as well – Labyrinth City: Pierre The Maze Detective ignites a feeling of wonder with anyone young at heart.
Metaloid: Origin review (PS4)
Remember METAGAL? We reviewed RetroRevolution’s Mega Man-inspired run and gun platformer back in 2019 when it launched for the Vita, but that version in itself was a port of a 2016 release. Its successor, funnily enough, was released in the same month that we did our METAGAL review, but has only now made it to consoles thanks to Eastasiasoft.
Metaloid: Origin once again takes Mega Man as a big source of inspiration, as you pick from three characters and try to make it through 9 levels in order to defeat the Lucian Corporation that has invaded your planet for its resources. Your choice of hero also determines your play style, as each character has a unique skillset that emphasizes rapid fire, increased firepower or added mobility thanks to a jetpack.
By collecting gems, you can unlock additional weapons and powers. This doesn’t happen at shops or in between levels, but can be done whenever you’ve collected enough gems and hit pause. This is especially helpful right before heading into a tough fight, but can of course also be stress-inducing when you’re just a few gems short at that same moment.
Feel like you’ve mastered the game? Then there’s also a higher difficulty level to select, although you can stick with the easier setting and still get all the trophies for the game. It’s a relatively short game, but it’s available at a budget price point and if you enjoyed METAGAL this is a solid choice for a new Mega Man-inspired title.
Synth Riders – new Caravan Palace content released
VR favorite Synth Riders from Kluge Interactive continues to expand with DLC tracks to enjoy in this rhythm-based title for the Quest as well as PC-based headsets. The latest pack to be released features five tracks from Caravan Palace, which will no doubt resonate with players who enjoyed the previously released Electro Swing Essentials pack.
Included in the new pack are “Lone Digger”, “Wonderland”, “Miracle”, “Rock It For Me” and “Tattoos”. Each song can be purchased individually as well, and the Wonderland stage comes with another audiovisual ‘experience’ that’s been choreographed to the beats of the music and provides a lovely visual diversion from the regular Synth Riders levels.
What’s worth pointing out is that these five tracks are now also available for OhShape, another VR title. Both OhShape and Synth Riders can be bought in a bundle on the Oculus store as well, where it’s discounted during this launch week.
Indigo 7: Quest for Love – out now for (almost) all systems
Now here’s one we definitely wanted to mention, but we’re going to hold off on our review for a little while longer. Indigo 7: Quest for Love was just released for the Switch, PlayStation, Xbox and PCs, but the reason that we’re holding off a bit is that the game is planned for a release on the PlayStation Vita as well! That’s right, we might be looking at the last Vita release here before the submission window to Sony’s storefront closes, and if is comes together we want to mark that occasion with a full review when the time comes.
If you enjoy obscure old MS-DOS games, then this one’s for you – Indigo 7 was inspired by a 1991 game called 7 Colors while also integrating the local multiplayer madness of the much more recent Puyo Puyo Tetris. For an action puzzle game, it also features a ton of story content, told through a comic book-like aesthetic and a fully voiced cast of characters that go through teen troubles amidst rock band ambitions.