Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society Review

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Labyrinth of Galleria is a very engaging dungeon crawler filled to the brim with many gameplay mechanics allowing you to build any kind of team you’d like. It also has one of the best stories I’ve ever seen in a video game. I won’t spoil any of the plot in this review. I’ll only provide a brief synopsis of the first half hour of plot and provide non-spoiler screenshots. I’ll talk about gameplay elements shown later in the game but I won’t be spoiling the associated plot.

The protagonist is Eureka, a girl looking for a job so that she can send money back home. She finds herself at a creepy manor and she meets a witch named Madame Marta, who explains that her new job will involve making puppet soldiers to explore a magical underground labyrinth to collect a set of relics called the “Curios d’art”. The player of the game actually plays the role of a wandering green spirit nicknamed Fantie who goes underground with the puppet soldiers, and you can make decisions throughout the game as well. Fantie cannot speak however, and they can only do simple motions that the characters react to.

The cutscenes are presented with 2D illustrated characters talking on the screen. Although the cutscenes aren’t 3D, it makes up for it with dozens of hours worth of cutscenes in the game which are all fully voice acted. There is no voice acting when speaking to NPCs in the dungeons. I played through the game with the English dub and it had amazing voice acting. The voice acting for all of the characters is very well done and there are many kinds of scenes, both happy and tragic, that have phenomenal acting.

Labyrinth of Galleria The Moon Society BAI GAMING Screenshot 1
The cutscenes are presented with characters talking on a screen. You play as Fantie, a wandering green spirit with an eyeball! (Image: NIS America)

That’s all I’m going to say regarding the plot. The plot really opens up once you collect the relics. The plot really is grand and epic and I’d even go as far as to say that the first “act” of the game is really a giant tutorial for what is to come next. Some of the bad endings in this game moved me to tears.

Every scene in the game has a purpose, and although you get many cutscenes bordering on half an hour or longer the plot, the characters, and lore of the world is really amazing with so many plot threads that tie together as you progress. If you get confused about the plot part-way through the game, know that that’s meant to happen, but as you keep progressing through the game everything makes more and more sense. Going to the end of the game and watching plotlines come together was really one of the best feelings I’ve had.

This game is a sequel to the game Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, but the story is completely unrelated except for a few namedrops so you don’t need to play Refrain to understand this game’s plot.

Character designs (and facet designs, which are the puppet soldiers you control in the labyrinths) were illustrated by Takehito Harada and it has his unique cute-looking anime artstyle we’ve seen in many other NIS games. There are dozens of uniquely designed characters in this game and the artwork is very charming for both the main characters and your playable team.

One thing to note is that the cute anime artstyle doesn’t reflect the atmosphere of the plot. This game takes place in a medieval time period and the game isn’t afraid to show it. One example that is a non-spoilery scary scene is when one girl doesn’t introduce herself to a queen properly and almost gets beaten to death by the queen’s guards, even though she was only a child, to the point where the girl’s friend starts screaming frantically and begs the guards to stop. The plot is probably one of the most mature I’ve seen among a game that looks anime style.

To get through the game to the true ending you need to keep going past bad endings by loading up your save again. Don’t just stop the game even if you see the credits, you need to load the clear save again to continue on. The plot is really good because there’s so much time for character development even for the smallest characters and I shocked by how cataclysmic some of the later plot events were.

In Labyrinth of Refrain, the original game, there were lengthy and mostly self-contained plotlines within the actual labyrinths, adding to more padding, but in this title they reduced the padding. Most of the plot in this title is actually outside of the labyrinth with the main characters, so even though this game is longer you actually get more time with the overall plot and the major characters. Sometimes the plot drags when they introduce new characters but if you keep playing there’s definitely payoff.

The gameplay is that of a dungeon crawler. Dungeon crawlers have similar aspects of a JRPG but with a few differences. In this game you control many generic puppets who have stats and levels. The main difference between a JRPG and a dungeon crawler is that there’s a lot more emphasis on exploring dungeons and you have to find better equipment rather than just buy them in a shop.

The gameplay involves exploring labyrinths to get to an objective, and you need to fight enemies and bosses. You collect items and equipment from treasure chests, getting rarer loot as you progress. You also collect mana and currency by selling old loot for money or converting them into mana.

Labyrinth of Galleria The Moon Society BAI GAMING Screenshot 3
You explore the floors of many labyrinths over the course of the game. Enemies and bosses take the form of moving spheres. (Image: NIS America)

As you progress the story, you unlock more and more features, such as being able to upgrade equipment and being able to unseal sealed equipment you find. The labyrinths have many kinds of obstacles, but you’ll unlock more and more abilities to overcome them. For instance, there are mud pits that damage you when you walk on them, but later on you can unlock an ability to become immune to their damage for a period of time. This happens with water as well, where early on you need to navigate in a way to avoid all the water tunnels, but later on you obtain an ability to swim for a period of time which can be also further upgraded as well.

This means when you revisit earlier dungeons you can get through them much easier and also access hidden areas, so the game is a Metroidvania in that sense. The game encourages you to explore previous areas again by giving you unique keys later on, letting you unlock treasure chests you couldn’t unlock earlier. There are also requests you can complete, where you get unique rewards if you’re able to give a particular item to an individual. Some items you give are found as monster drops or at collection points.

You can return to your base at anytime to heal your characters. Your characters can die, but it’s not permanent. Your puppets have limbs that can be damaged, meaning you’ll have to repair them but it’s never expensive, and it’s more of a small maintenance cost. Dying in a battle doesn’t mean a game over; rather, you can just repair your puppets and keep playing, though you’ll need to get back to that point in the dungeon again.

This game is a unique dungeon crawler in that all encounters are spheres you encounter in the dungeons (it’s not random enemy encounters), meaning you can avoid regular enemies and mini-bosses if you’re careful. In some cases you need to avoid purple colored spheres which are very strong boss type enemies you can’t handle, similar to FOEs in Etrian Odyssey. The game is never overly hard with its dungeon design and often there are multiple ways to reach your objective.

Another big difference with Labyrinth of Galleria is that you can break most walls, allowing you to create shortcuts, as long as the wall isn’t colored yellow on the map. The broken walls aren’t permanent (except for certain spots for permanent shortcuts) and you spend a resource called Reinforcement Points (which refreshes when you leave the labyrinth) to break walls so it’s limited how much of the dungeon you can actually destroy, but it’s an extremely unique mechanic and makes it fun to re-explore. It only involves breaking walls and you have the ability to jump, so you can never accidentally softlock yourself or anything like that.

The dungeons are very carefully designed so you can’t sequence break. You need to complete objectives and the map screen will highlight points of interest with exclamation marks. Sometimes you’re told to just find unique treasures and you’ll just need to explore and it’s never overly hard or tricky to find them. When you complete these objectives or run into an obstacle you will be asked to make a Witch’s Report to progress the story.

In regards to the battle system, your puppets are individual characters you need to manage in five groups, and these groups are called covens or pacts. Characters have facets which are just the classes of this game, one quick example is the peer fortress which are the physical tanks you use to absorb damage while other facets can be ranged or magic units.

Labyrinth of Galleria The Moon Society BAI GAMING Screenshot 2
There are many character classes to choose from. This is just a sample of classes to choose from near the beginning, unlockable classes are not shown to prevent spoilers. These facets also have great designs from Takehito Harada. (Image: NIS America)

You put one or more characters into covens. These covens or pacts are found throughout the game and some are also given as you progress the story, and they let you use a certain number of characters in battle as well as supporting characters who don’t directly battle but grant other passive bonuses. These pacts also give your groups unique donums (which are just spells). Some character classes may have certain donums as well they can add to their group which require donum points to use (basically MP).

Your covens will have the stats of the characters mixed together to a certain extent, so one trick is to put similar units into covens together. For instance, you can put your mages together in a coven so that their coven has a high total donum points allowing you to use more costly spells.

Your covens can also be set in the vanguard or rearguard. Vanguard covens receive more attacks. Rearguard covens will be harder to attack. At the same time that applies to you, and your rearguard will need ranged weapons to attack the enemy or suffer significant attack penalties.

You can also reincarnate your characters, which lets you reclass them and carry over innate abilities from their previous classes to your current class. Reincarnating level 99 characters resets them to level 1, but also increases their soul clarity. It can be thought of as carrying over levels past 99. When you level up to level 99 again with a higher soul clarity the maximum stats for the character will be even higher and you repeat the process, kind of like grinding levels for characters in Disgaea. Some pacts will grant an experience bonus to its characters that you would need to make use of if you’re planning on grinding levels.

Like any other dungeon crawler you need to use all of these gameplay elements to synergize your party and make a strong team. One simple example is that I used one coven of bulky physical tanks in the vanguard who used the skill “Incite” to draw in enemy attacks, and my other covens were gothic maids who had an ability called “Limit Breaker” which multiplied their damage but also damaged them each turn, and I had a fast healer coven doing a group heal every turn. I had unique pacts that contained donums that had good buffing spells, such as increasing my entire team’s attack and defense to 1.7x and debuffing the enemy’s defense to 0.7x.

It sounds complicated, but you really have to just play around with teams and setups, kind of like in Etrian Odyssey and there’s not necessarily right or wrong builds with the exception of the final bosses which I’ll explain later without spoilers. There are many viable character and team builds you can use in this game.

Labyrinth of Galleria The Moon Society BAI GAMING Screenshot 4
The battles are presented in a first person point of view format. The enemy designs are 2D illustrations. It starts off with easy tutorial enemies such as above, but later on you encounter very ferocious looking bosses. (Image: NIS America)

The early part of the game takes place in two giant labyrinths (as well as a few smaller dungeons called Transepts) which are masterfully created.

My main criticism is that in the second part of the game there aren’t any unique dungeons with the exception of a couple of small unique dungeons. Instead, the second half of the game features mostly randomly generated dungeons, which contains a unique floor every 6 floors. The game really starts to slog at this point and I’d imagine many people would drop the game before the plot gets good again. I’d recommend you to keep going through it, the game’s plot really picks up again.

At times it felt like I was just forcing myself to go through the dungeons to get back to the amazing plot. It’s not hard by any means and you can get breaks every 6 floors, you can use abilities to return to those unique floors and there’s plenty of elevators and trains as shortcuts and the mini-bosses aren’t particularly tough, it’s just that it gets boring and feels like a very big shift gameplay wise compared to the previous dungeons in the game.

The environments in the second half of the game are somewhat boring too, filled with mostly apartment designs and I wish there were more outdoors dungeons or dungeons featuring distinct biomes like winter or even greenery.

It is a slight letdown because the early dungeons are well-designed and unique, where you struggle to get through them but you unlock abilities and you can get through them faster and you can uncover every single tile on the map, so it feels like you mastered it. But looking at the second half, the random dungeons are small and most of the time you break through all the walls to get to the stairs to the next floor, turning me into an automated machine just looking for stairs to progress the story. The fixed floors every 6 floors are uniquely designed, but it doesn’t feel grand or mysterious like the dungeons in the first half of the game and it gets repetitive quickly.

Another one of my criticisms is that although most of the enemies and bosses are very fair, the endgame bosses get grueling in difficulty and the game is unfortunately cryptic just like the original Labyrinth of Refrain was. I will not be saying any spoilers regarding the story, I’ll only be talking about the gameplay mechanics.

In the first act of the game to progress to the second act you need to complete all previous character requests (as well as talk to a certain NPC in the dungeon). The requests can be a pain and you better not sell any loot. The game lets you buy back loot if you sold it by mistake, but that is limited depending on how many items you sold and how long it’s been. It’s never permanently missable of course, but if you sold what you needed to give for requests chances are you have to keep running around to collection points to get those items again and some can take a few hours if you sold everything. I was mildly annoyed because the item description said “can be sold for money” making it look like it wasn’t important. More requests will appear only as you complete earlier ones (like a quest chain), meaning you may suddenly get a new request asking for an item you might’ve sold in the past. You don’t get the ability to unlock a larger inventory until a bit later, which was what led me to selling loot in the first place because the game wouldn’t let me obtain any new loot.

Another aspect I disliked was that the second act’s final boss requires a special pact to weaken it. Remember how I said previously that pacts may carry unique donum? There’s one that has unique spells to weaken that boss and only that boss, otherwise you can barely damage the boss. To get that pact you need to find a single treasure chest in one of the dungeons, but the key is obtained from completing a particular chain of one NPC’s requests. You need to use this key to also get unique weapons that can also help in defeating this boss. I do believe you should indeed be rewarded for going back to collect treasure chests and for completing requests, but I really disliked how you had to use that particular pact to beat the boss. I believe it would’ve been better if they gave that pact as part of progressing the story.

One last small criticism I have is that the true ending is locked to post-game. Again, I will not be presenting any spoilers. The normal ending is sufficient, but the true ending has a lengthy epilogue and feels like the actual ending to the game with all final loose plot threads tied up. To get to the true ending, you need to complete 3 floors of a normally designed dungeon which I actually really liked because you use all of your abilities and it felt like a final test. But after that you have to complete 3651 floors of a randomized dungeon to get to the true ending boss.

Surprisingly, it’s not as bad as it sounds, they made patches from the Japanese release that is already included in the base edition of the western release, making the random floors easier. The trick is that you can randomly find elevators that can take you down hundreds of floors at a time, so depending on your luck you may only actually have to go through a few hundred floors and you can grind for items called silver/gold/platinum spoons, which stop enemies from spawning. You can also purchase abilities to alert you when an elevator is on the floor you’re on and there are wardrobes that let you exit out, save, and return to where you left off and there are checkpoints every few hundred floors.

The true ending boss is another story, it’s fair in the sense you don’t need to use a certain pact like the act 2 final boss, but it’s hard and I had to do every single gameplay mechanic because it was that brutal. This included me grinding for the best equipment, using alchemy to power up equipment with all loot, grinding mana to use alchemy, leveling my puppets to level 99 and reincarnating dozens of times to increase soul clarity, reincarnating across every class to get the best innate skills, grinding random floors so I could find powerful pacts, and only then I was barely able to scrape through that fight by the skin of my teeth. So if you’re looking for a challenge in the post-game, it’s definitely there.

If I had to give a recommendation succinctly, I would’ve preferred if this boss was an optional post-game superboss with no story instead of being required to see the true ending, like how Baal is unrelated to the main plot in the Disgaea games. I’m used to grinding in Disgaea games but by the end of it I was getting annoyed with the game and I was barely able to get through. The game does have adjustable difficulty options, but you do need to do due diligence when building your team otherwise you will be exponentially outmatched; for instance, the enemy may deal about 30% less damage on an easier difficulty, but it won’t matter if the enemy has 10 times the stats your characters have.

With the exception of just a few missteps, Labyrinth of Galleria really is an amazing dungeon crawler with many fun gameplay mechanics and a very ambitious story. Although I criticized the second half of the game, don’t take my criticisms to heart. It probably has the most mechanics used for building a team out of any dungeon crawler and is one of the most recent dungeon crawlers released with many quality of life improvements compared to older games.

The story is hands down one of the most amazing I’ve seen in a video game with many likeable characters (and unlikeable villains) and even if the gameplay was stressing me out near the end I always excited to see the next story event. I was genuinely shocked by many of the game’s plot twists and it does subvert your expectations often. The voice acting had such great direction and really added to my experience.

Even if you don’t play dungeon crawler games, this is a good game to play because the tutorial is really good. The game gives you many tools to use and will hold your hand until you get your bearings – it’s only at the final bosses that the game really gets challenging but most of the game is very reasonable. The artstyle is really charming and the soundtrack is amazing as well, with tracks being able to convey a full range of moods from excitement to sorrowful depending on the scene.

I really recommend you to give Labyrinth of Galleria as well as Labyrinth of Refrain a try, they’re criminally underrated games with some of the most mature stories I’ve seen and they’re a good entry point into dungeon crawler games. My only recommendation is to not be afraid to look up a guide if you get stumped.

Labyrinth of Galleria:
The Moon Society

Our Score: Great


  • One of the most recent dungeon crawlers released and has many quality of life improvements compared to old dungeon crawlers.
  • The dungeon design for the first few dungeons are simply phenomenal, and you gain more and more abilities to conquer them.
  • There are many different character classes and abilities, allowing you to make many types of builds to fill any niche. The gameplay is extremely addicting, just like in Etrian Odyssey.
  • Character designs from Takehito Harada. All of the characters as well as Facets are so pleasing to look at and are oozing with charm.
  • The English dub is amazing and the story in this game is simply epic. The hair on my arm would stand up because of how shocking the scenes were. Whereas Etrian Odyssey didn’t have a story and encouraged you to create your own, this game’s story is instead more comparable to Strange Journey Redux in the sense it really gets tonally horrific at parts.

  • The plot can drag on a bit during certain parts.
  • Sometimes it’s unintuitive where to go next and early on you can get lost. Of course, that is the fun of a dungeon crawler, but it would be bad if you missed the one tile you were required to explored.
  • The Request system is still annoying, and if you sell an item you should’ve kept you’ll need to grind shiny collection spots for them. All of the earlier Requests are required for the true ending.
  • Some bosses are a bit unfair. The final boss of the “second arc” requires a pact that is tricky to find. The true final boss is fair, but it’s definitely up there as one of the most challenging bosses I’ve fought, comparable to Strange Journey Redux’s true final boss.
  • The second half being mostly randomly-generated dungeons was a missed opportunity for them to showcase unique dungeons. The epilogue being behind a 3000 randomly generated floor dungeon is another awkward design choice as well.

Brandon Harris
Reviewed on PC

Brandon is a passionate gamer and reviewer who respects the artistic and technical prowess that goes into creating interactive experiences. He enjoys playing the guitar, volunteering, and traveling to experience different cultures.

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