Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

It's principally aimed at the series' fans, but the mesh of interlocking systems ensures that its appeal runs deeper than fan service.

Key events

Persona Q review

RecommendedPersona Q review

Back to schooling.

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.

Read more

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth gets a European release date

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth gets a European release date

Pre-orders at select retailers come with tarot cards.

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - the 3DS spin-off that combines characters from Personas 3 & 4 in a first-person, turn-based dungeon crawler - is coming to Europe on 28th November, publisher NIS America has announced.

North Americans will receive it the same week on 25th November.

Pre-orders at select retailers in Europe will include a bonus 11 Tarot Cards, a limited production item. It's not yet been announced exactly which retailers these are, so it's worth asking about.

Read more

Persona 5 a PS3 exclusive out in 2014

Persona 5 a PS3 exclusive out in 2014

Plus, Persona games for 3DS and Vita announced.

Atlus has announced Persona 5, a PlayStation 3 exclusive due out in Japan by the end of 2014.

There's little else to report on the game, the next in the role-playing series, save for its mysterious teaser trailer, below. It features five chairs, four of which have a ball and chain attached. "You are slave," the text reads. "Want emancipation?"

Meanwhile, Atlus has announced Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, a Nintendo 3DS-exclusive spin-off featuring chibi Persona 3 and 4 characters. It's due out in Japan on 5th June 2014.

Read more