Crawling through every inch of a dungeon is tedious work, and exploring every possible path is tiring. Tough enemies are constantly around the corner and you must make multiple journeys into a dungeon before you master it. It’s difficult work, often draining your morale since it’s repetitive. Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society is aware of this, and has a tantalizing reward ready.
If you are willing to invest the time, you will find gameplay that rewards your curiosity and willingness to explore. Combat allows you to experiment with your character’s stat growth, wield different weapons, and work with different techniques. There’s also a nice story, but it all requires patience and a willingness to spend time on the game.
Labryinth of Galleria: The Moon Society is available on PC, Playstation 4/5, and Nintendo Switch for USD 49.99.
Story – Finding Lost Items
You step into the shoes of Eureka, a young girl who accepts a job at a mansion. Her belief is that she will be helping with chores and finding lost items, which was on the job ad. On paper, her job is exactly that, but there’s significantly more magic involved. Eureka will be working with a spirit (named and controlled by you) in order to find lost artifacts named Curios.
They are located in a magic wardrobe that no one has ever explored and survived, but there is a work-around. Puppet soldiers can freely travel through the wardrobe without an issue, and Eureka begins her job by creating her own exploration team.
Along the way, you will meet a cast of characters that are involved in Eureka’s journey. Madame Marta is the most prominent character, but other characters such as your spirit (nicknamed Fantie) get their time in the spotlight. The pace can be slow, since it’s determined by your success in dungeon-crawling, but it does start to open up as you explore more dungeons. If you’re willing to stick around, there’s a good story that explores multiple themes.
The story isn’t entirely linear, similar to games like Until Dawn. Your conversation choices and responses determine what happens in scenes. There’s also an option to revisit past scenes and make different choices, allowing you to learn different information. It’s great to see your choices matter, while being able to freely experiment with the past. Not only can you avoid missing information, but it lets you see what might have happened if you answered differently.
To progress the story, you must master the gameplay as you must achieve objectives to progress. It slows the pace down significantly, but you don’t have a choice if you want to enjoy the narrative.
Gameplay – First Person Dungeon Crawling
Eureka’s job involves her creating a puppet team and exploring a labyrinth inside a magic wardrobe. The dungeons are not randomly generated, and you revisit the same area multiple times. You avoid losing progress but also gain the freedom to explore and alter the terrain as you wish. A key part of the gameplay is exploring every nook and cranny and getting used to failure. There will be many missteps along the way, but when you find a new path forward, it’s a moment for celebration.
Exploration – Trial & Error
Similar to games such as Dead Space, the dungeons you explore aren’t randomly generated. They have the same layout every time, allowing you to explore familiar ground and find new places to explore. Unfortunately, your objectives are rarely linear, and you will traverse up and down floors to find what you need.
Exploration consists of searching for new paths, avoiding traps, and learning what doesn’t work. Your first trips into dungeons will include finding new paths, falling into pitfalls, or encountering enemies who are too powerful. Carving out new paths is difficult as there often isn’t an indication that a path exists. You hope for the best and break down a wall (or something similar) and repeat this process until you are successful.
There are a few visual clues to help you with your exploration, but otherwise you are on your own. This provides a mix of frustration and excitement. Frustration because you repeat the same process many times, and often end in failure. Excitement because when you do open up a new path, it’s almost always worth the effort. It’s a time-consuming process, but it actually makes you feel like an explorer, making new discoveries and moving past the failures.
Failure isn’t the end of the world, in case you fell into one pitfall too many. You just go back to the start of the dungeon with some injured puppets and lose all of your mana. It’s all about repeatedly pushing past your failures and seeing which paths open up.
The second part of exploration involves combat, because your puppet team will encounter powerful enemies that hinder you.
Combat – Build Your Best Team
You get a taste of combat in the beginning as you control a small preset team. After the trial, you start creating your own exploration team. Three puppets is all you can make at first, but eventually you can build more.
Creating your puppets for combat is a complex process that can overwhelm you at first. There are different classes a puppet can take, as well as personalities that determine their stats. Covens provide new techniques, while some classes shine in the vanguard/rear guard positions.. While these systems have their place, they confuse players who don’t want to make the wrong decision.
Fortunately, you will be able to create more puppets in the future, and move your current puppets into new bodies. This helps you grow your team as you get more comfortable with combat. You also get more items to work with, giving you a better idea of what you want in your puppets.
Learning combat will also be a trial-and-error process as you get used to different attack types and weaknesses. You will also learn about gauging enemy strength, and which enemies to avoid. Unfortunately you can’t always avoid failure as you must experience surprises before you learn about them.
Your team being made of puppets is actually relevant, as critical hits or everyone being KO’ed damages body parts. If a body part is damaged, it hurts the fighting power of a puppet and you must repair it. Sometimes it’s better to switch out puppets if you don’t have the parts on hand.
There’s a lot of strategy in combat and many systems working at the same time. It will take time to adapt, and it can be a lot to wrap your head around. But if you grasp the combat system, you will be building unstoppable teams running through the labyrinths.
Audio & Visuals – Anime Style Visuals
The story and narrative scenes in Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society are shown with anime-style visuals. It almost looks like a visual novel, and it plays out largely the same way even with the multiple choice options. When exploring in dungeons, the game takes a first person 3D view, with enemies and the environment looking appropriate for their surroundings.
When listening to the voices, you can switch between English and Japanese voice acting. Combat doesn’t have too many voices other than your puppets saying lines, or enemies making moves. Sometimes the voices blend together when your party is being attacked and the speed is sped up, but it’s not too distracting. It’s more of an indication that things have gone wrong for your party than it is an audio glitch.
Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society was reviewed on PS5 with a code provided by Reef Entertainment.