Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society Review

Dungeon crawling in the moonlight.
Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society Thumbnail

Dungeon crawlers can be a tough genre to broach if you don’t have a long-seeded nostalgia for them. Contemporary series like Legend of Grimrock and Etrian Odyssey keep the old-school first-person dungeon exploring experience alive, but they can still be a love it or hate it kind of experience. I assumed that same feeling would apply to my time with Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society – a first-person DRPG boasting Nippon Ichi art, weird vibes, and incredibly dense gameplay systems – but I ended up sinking countless hours into it and never getting bored, which is probably a first for me when it comes to these kinds of games.

Part of this is absolutely because the aesthetic and style of the game is just so up my alley. I’ll eat up anything that iconic Nippon Ichi Software artist Takehito Harada is involved with, and his unmistakable brand of vivid anime-style artwork shines stronger than ever here. Every NPC, character, and party member has an incredible look to them that manages to blend JRPG sensibilities with a more grounded, Western touch, which ties perfectly into the more rustic and down-to-earth setting of the game.

You play as Eureka, a plucky and airheaded heiress who responds to a job posting involving searching for lost items. When she arrives at a mysterious manor and ends up as the assistant to a witch named Marta and a mysterious green specter called Fantie, she’s quickly absorbed in a world of curses and mystery that constantly kept me engaged.

Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society story

The story beats, at first, feel like nothing more than light set dressing to justify the why and where of your dungeon crawling. Almost immediately, though, the game gives off hints of something bigger bubbling behind the scenes – there’s an atmosphere that makes it feel like you aren’t getting the full picture, and you absolutely aren’t. Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society takes some massive twists and turns with it’s narrative, and every beat left my eyes wide and my jaw dropped. Often times, visual novels give way to some of the most ambitious and genre-spanning stories in gaming, but for Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society to do the same, while building it alongside an equally engaging gameplay system, is a massive delight.

At a glance, the dungeon crawling and monster combat you do between these revelatory story beats seems far too dense. The game smacks you with a million tutorial messages a minute, describing the various sub-systems at work in the game. You control customisable puppets imbued with souls in order to explore a dungeon that no human can return alive from. These puppets can be modified exhaustively with their own portrait art, names, interests, classes, and stat-growth systems. Characters can be slotted into Covens and then further slotted into Pacts – the former is a party organizer that essentially lets you turn a crew of characters into one unit, while the latter is a class-based modifier that helps you boost your Coven with buffs that fit their battle role.

Labyrinth of Galleria Puppet Crafting

With all of this, alongside equipment stats and ability selection, the amount of work you can do to set up your party in Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society is vast, but once you have your party set up and well-equipped, you’ve done the work.

When you run into a wandering enemy in the dungeon and initiate combat, things play out almost automatically. You simply tell characters to attack or defend, and watch their stats and skills and abilities fire off on their own. The almost self-guided combat system makes dungeon exploration a breeze, since mob encounters hardly even feel like a distraction from your main goal. Boss fights, though, test your team composition and push you to your limits, making sure you’ve done your homework before diving in.

Labyrinth of Galleria: dungeon crawler

Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society expects a lot from you when it comes to combat and party composition. I don’t normally consider myself a spreadsheet gamer, but the way this game balances combat-simplicity with customization flexibility kept me engaged at all times. The sweetener is how unforgettable and engrossing the story is. Every hour I spent in the dungeon was another chance to get to the next story scene, and unravel one of the most unique, expansive, and well-written narratives I’ve ever seen in gaming. For some, the dungeon-crawling gameplay might not be worth engaging with to experience that sweet story. If you feel at home with a DRPG, though, then Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society will be one of the most impactful ones you’ve ever played.

Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society is a game like no other. The art is incredible, and the gameplay perfectly blends simple combat with exhaustive customization. Above all else, the story is an unforgettable and unmatched journey that absolutely blew me away. This is one of NIS America's best games, and probably the best dungeon crawling RPG you'll ever play.
  • Gorgeous art
  • Unforgettable, masterclass story
  • Fun blend of simple combat and robust customization
  • Overwhelming tutorial popups in the opening hours
Written by
I'm a writer, voice actor, and 3D artist living la vida loca in New York City. I'm into a pretty wide variety of games, and shows, and films, and music, and comics and anime. Anime and video games are my biggest vice, though, so feel free to talk to me about those. Bury me with my money.