Beyond The Labyrinth: The most striking 3DS game in development?

Our first look at a thoroughly modern dungeon crawler...

Admit it: you weren't expecting to see the word '3DS' next to a set of screenshots this lovely.

Tri-Ace's upcoming title bears an uncanny resemblance to PS2 favourite Ico, or the more recent Wii game A Shadow's Tale, with a similarly minimalist art style and an environment consisting almost entirely of old ruins and bleached sunlight.

Add five years, and make her approximately 56% more mysterious, and the game's unnamed heroine could even pass for Ico's waif princess Yorda.

However, there's enough here to differentiate Beyond The Labyrinth from its inspirations, and more than enough to get excited about. It's the latest title from RPG maestros Tri-Ace, who made revered RPG Valkyrie Profile and, er, the less revered Star Ocean, a series that started off good and ended up face-meltingly bad.

Whether you love their mostly traditional role-playing games, or you loathe them with a fiery passion normally reserved for the cast of The Only Way Is Essex, you have to concede that Tri-Ace have plenty of experience when it comes to RPGs.

That's a good sign for a game that, on first impressions, looks like a lightweight, arty exploration title. No RPG features have been confirmed as yet, but the developers have pretty much revealed that it's a dungeon crawler.

Yes, a dungeon crawler - set in one of the most beautiful and airy dungeons we've ever seen. Viewed in that light, the game seems less like an Ico rip-off and more like an original, bold take on a very traditional genre.

'Dungeon crawler' is a term synonymous with brutally difficult, hardcore RPGs such as Etrian Odyssey, so it'll be interesting to see if (and how) Beyond The Labyrinth sets itself apart.

Tri-Ace are being cagey with the details - it's still unclear whether the girl is the protagonist or merely a companion - but it has been confirmed that she'll talk rather a lot. What that means is anyone's guess, but it's another thing that differentiates this from the mostly wordless Ico.


Okay, so we know as much about Beyond The Labyrinth as we do about the lost city of Atlantis, but we know enough to tell you this: keep two eyes on it, when you can spare them.

Not only is it one of the most striking 3DS games currently in development, but it also has the potential to be great, particularly if Tri-Ace have decided to fire on all cylinders.

Order NGamer here and have it delivered straight to your door