It's hard to get too immersed in Deep Labyrinth, a first-person-perspective role-playing game in which you must navigate mazelike levels while fighting monsters with swords and magic. You control the game primarily with the DS's touch screen, and you may even guide your character's sword slashes by drawing across the screen in different directions. The magic system also involves drawing arcane symbols using the touch screen, but elements like these aren't fully baked, and the rather dull environments and clunky combat don't help matters either. Deep Labyrinth does have two separate stories in it and each one is reasonably interesting, but the underlying game feels like a grind.
Deep Labyrinth is a fitting name for a game in which you'll mostly trudge through one same-looking corridor after another.
The game's two different chapters may be played in any order, though the first one is the focus. It casts you as a boy named Shawn, who's on a road trip with his parents and his pet dog when the car suddenly blows a tire. Shawn's parents disappear when they go off in search of help, his dog runs off, and soon enough, Shawn himself gets dragged into some strange portal that dumps him in a fantasy world filled with smart-alecky mice, a purple platypus that saves your progress for you, and a bunch of weird foes. Apparently this is a place where old memories go to get erased, and it's where Shawn's parents wound up. This is a game about a dysfunctional family, and that's at least a little more imaginative than the typically generic role-playing game storyline.
The second chapter is based on the original version of Deep Labyrinth, which, as the preface to this chapter explains, first appeared on Japanese cell phones. The idea in this one is that you somehow get sucked into your own cell phone and find yourself about to get skewered by a sword-wielding skeleton. You manage to survive the encounter, and soon find an image of a young woman in a crystal...someone who your character seems to know. You're left with no choice but to fight your way through this gloomy prison, attempting to figure out what's going on. Neither of the two storylines figures into the game very prominently once you start playing. But they give context to the action, and help make the two chapters feel rather different in tone, even though they're very similar in both their presentation and gameplay. The second chapter is also substantially tougher from the get-go than the first one, which is mired down by too many basics and expository sequences.
While the visuals are fully 3D, they're still pretty crude by current standards. Most of the areas you'll explore are simple boxlike corridors with the same textures repeated over and over every few steps. There are some outdoor areas, but they're boxed in just like the subterranean ones. Some of the enemies do look good, at least. There are a few rather imposing boss opponents you'll go toe-to-toe with, and these are sometimes introduced with a bit of dramatic flair, as both the DS's screens are used to show how much bigger they are compared to you. Normally, the DS's top screen is used to show both a map of the immediate surroundings and the entire map you're currently exploring. This map system isn't clear at first, but it works well once you get used to it. The game's audio is pleasant enough, but unremarkable, save for a couple of standout music tracks that evoke a high-fantasy vibe very well.