The CCG is kind of the new hotness in gaming as people chase after the success of Hearthstone. But simply making any ol’ card game won’t guarantee success. You need to innovate, and that’s what Free Range Games is doing with Labyrinth – a hybrid tactical RPG meets CCG, hitting early access for $9.99 later this month. Read on for our hands-on impressions.
Kickstarted in 2015 to the tune of $156K, Labyrinth has been quietly building from its humble beginning seed of an idea into a potentially genre-changing new take on the CCG. This week I had the chance to play the game and talk with Free Range’s developers about the project, its goals, and what comes next. If you’re familiar with games like Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, or HEX and you enjoy them, then Labyrinth is right up your alley. With the exception of HEX though, those other CCGs have never done it for me, personally. I’ve always wanted card games to carry a bit more RPG and that’s just what Labyrinth aims to do.
You’ll build up your own dungeon, protect it with your own monsters, and charge into other folks’ dungeons fighting your way to cards and resources to craft new cards with. Right now, the game’s multiplayer is asynchronous, meaning you don’t actively fight another player in real time, but there are plans down the road after launch to add that, co-op PVE, spectating, and more. In its early access form, for $9.99 you’ll get the full game and some nice perks and cards to be named later when the game launches as a F2P title on Steam. And for those wondering, yes – console and mobile editions are also planned but Free Range couldn’t comment more on those formats for now.
On the offensive side, you’re going to build a party of three heroes, from a cast of dozens, each with their own decks, skills, and so forth that you’ll collect. Of course, the game will be F2P, so packs of cards can be purchased with real money. But they can just as easily be crafted via loot and resources should you have the time and patience to collect the necessary ingredients.
Each Raid in Early Access lets you first choose from 1 of 3 lesser bosses, and if you defeat it you move on to the next level where you choose from 1 of 2 more, and then finally in the third wave you’ll face the dungeon’s final boss. If you manage to beat him, you’ll get the aforementioned loot and rewards in the form of cards. Each fight takes around 10-15 minutes, so a full dungeon raid should take between 30 and 45 minutes each, and progress is saved if you have to log off after one boss fight.
On the defensive side in early access, you’ll collect and create tons of boss monsters and choose where to set them on your own dungeon. It’s early access, so there’s not a whole lot of customization yet, but the goal is to have a lethal combination of bosses that opposing players will have trouble raiding against. Down the road, more customization in your own dungeon will be possible, including traps and the like, but the beginning of early access is all about testing the gameplay, seeing what works and what doesn’t and taking all that feedback and molding it into an even better game.
Labyrinth is set to hit Steam’s Early Access program next week, and can be bought into early for the low cost of $9.99. If you’re already a backer from the KS, then you don’t need to purchase the game again. If you’re a fan of CCGs and tactical RPGs, this is one you’ll definitely want to check out.