While Persona Q's aesthetic is that of a Saturday morning anime cartoon series, all screaming colours and staccato dialogue, the game's core kernel of appeal is found in Greek myth. Like Theseus descending into the labyrinth in search of the Minotaur, you too must carefully chart your path through the complicated warren of corridors and chambers that form the game's gargantuan dungeons. Unlike Theseus, who used a ball of thread to lead him back to the exit, here your tool is a paper and pencil (or, more accurately, a touchscreen and stylus) onto which you draw the layout of the game's multi-tiered dungeon. Square by square you record the walls, doors, secret passageways and treasure chests in a curiously compelling act of digital cartography.
While Theseus carried only a short sword for defence, here the gaggle of questing schoolchildren under your command and care are armed with swords, claws, axes, guns and, of course, the titular persona, Freudian spirits who provide devastating spectral back-up. Despite the warm camaraderie of this cast of students (most of whom are drawn from the third and fourth games in the Persona series, Atlus' popular series of ethereal high-school thrillers) it's the joy of cartography that keeps you pressing deeper. You have a slew of tools at your map-making disposal including arcane symbols and a rich palette of colours which can be applied for whatever purpose you choose. You draw the map onto a gridded sheet that remains ever present on the 3DS touchscreen and you must own any mistakes you make: draw in an errant wall or doorway where there is none in reality and you will curse your blunder later, as it misleads and causes you to doubt the chart on which you rely.
As you move around the dungeons (which are viewed from a first person perspective, allowing you to take stock of your surroundings and pick out corridors and walkways) each floor tile you walk across is automatically filled in on the map. The game reports the percentage of tiles that you've touched; collect every floor tile on a level and you're rewarded with a treasure chest that contains an often-crucial item. In this way Atlus turns territory into a collectible and, as any Monopoly player or empire-minded despot knows, territory is the very best kind of collectible.