A new dungeon crawler is always good news. A new game that channels a sumi-e art style is always good news. A new game revolving around yōkai is always good news. So one that hits all three of those targets? Well that’s very good news indeed. Enter Labyrinth of Zangetsu, a sumi-e-styled, yōkai themed indie dungeon crawler from that’s making its way to Steam, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch early next year.
“In the fortress city of Ido, you are tasked with travelling the treacherous area, ‘Chaingung‘, overrun by ‘The Ink of Ruin’. As one of these selected ‘Ink Destroyers’, you must fight to conquer the hordes of terrifying Ink Beasts who plague the residents of Ido… Born from the Ink of Ruin, the Ink Beasts take over the bodies of those they encounter to increase their numbers. Join the band of chosen warriors as they venture out to defeat the Ink Beasts causing this destruction. “
That’s an apt backdrop for a dungeon crawler of the Wizardry mold, as Labyrinth of Zangetsu is: turn-based dungeon crawling as you gradually map out a grid-based map, delving ever deeper into the treacherous depths and engaging foes on strategic, turn-based combat. But with that whole “Ink of Ruin” thing, it takes on a rather stylistic edge, with enemies brought to life in an evocative monochrome sumi-e style and the environment illustrating in real-time around you as you explore. Atmosphere is always a big part of these games, and this one looks like it has it in spades.
Labyrinth of Zangetsu is being developed by Kaeru Panda, an indie studio based in Tokyo. They’re best known for 10 Second Run Returns, a quick-thinking platformer built around 10-second levels, and the Yuru Yuru Theatre party game series, so a dungeon crawler is something a bit different for them. They’ve got the publishing support of Acquire in Japan, though (where the Zangetsu comes out next month), while the Western release is being published by PQube.
For anyone who enjoys a good dungeon RPG, Labyrinth of Zangetsu is going to be one to watch. (And for anyone in New Zealand who wants to get in the yōkai mood, don’t miss the Yokai Parade exhibition that’s hitting Wellington and Auckland soon!)