Last Labyrinth is without a doubt one of the most distinctive, unforgettable, and dare I say important VR titles released in recent years that will stick with players long after they've escaped its imposing facility
Last Labyrinth places you in the role of an unnamed character who finds themselves strapped to a wheelchair in a dark room with no memory of how they got there. Their only means of interaction is a laser pointer attached to your head that you can use to communicate with a young girl named Katia. As Katia pushes your wheelchair from room to room, you begin to piece together what happened and how you can potentially escape this mysterious facility. Right from the start, it establishes an unsettling atmosphere and leaves players feeling helpless and vulnerable. However, it also quickly becomes apparent that Last Labyrinth is much more than just a horror game - it has deeper things to say about human connection and the themes of free will vs fate.
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The story is told in a minimalist fashion, with no dialogue or discernible language used between you, the player, and Katia. Their relationship is built solely on observation, body language, and trying to interpret each other's needs and intentions. This roots the experience firmly in virtual reality since it relies so heavily on the sense of presence and social interaction only possible in VR. It creates an undeniably powerful emotional connection to Katia that makes failing puzzles and witnessing her subsequent deaths all the more impactful and disturbing. Last Labyrinth isn't afraid to pull any punches either - Katia meets incredibly graphic demises like decapitation, crushing, and strangulation if the player makes a mistake.
While the graphic violence was difficult to witness at times, it serves the narrative purpose of emphasizing how helpless you feel and how much responsibility you have over Katia. It brings to light moral questions about putting others in danger for personal gain or curiosity. Do the ends justify the means if it leads to a gruesome demise? Last Labyrinth avoids easy answers and leaves much open to interpretation. It shows how our choices and actions, no matter how well intentioned, can still have unforeseen tragic consequences for others.
Between the disturbing fates that befall Katia and the unsettling mystery of the surrounding environment, Last Labyrinth establishes an thoroughly unnerving aesthetic and mood. However, its scares are thoughtful rather than cheap jump moments. It uses tension and unease to hold you in its clutches rather than shocking gore alone. Additionally, the diverse selection of intricate escape room-style puzzles help break up the horror with problem-solving gameplay.
Each room presents a unique environmental puzzle and hazard that must be solved by guiding Katia to press buttons and pull levers in the right order. They display creative design and slowly ramp up in difficulty over time. Later puzzles are quite devious and had me stumped for lengthy periods. Solving them and advancing the story felt genuinely rewarding. That said, a few puzzles did border on feeling unintuitive or unfair due to blind jumps in logic required.Still, most challenge the player in a fair yet demanding way that keeps the experience constantly engaging.
In terms of presentation, Last Labyrinth oozes with craftsmanship and uses VR to its fullest potential for environmental storytelling and presence. Its dilapidated metallic and industrial environments feel plausibly run down yet visually striking. Everything from the rusty details to lighting and shadows enhances the immersion. Katia herself is also expertly animated to feel like a real person. The sound design too helps teleport you into this disturbing world with unsettling ambient noise and cues that indicate danger.
I played this on a Quest 3 and it looks incredible in headset and remains every bit as unsettling and gripping an experience through standalone VR. Loading times are quick and comfort settings allow both seated and roomscale movement for accessibility. The lack of full locomotion was also a non-issue given the nature of being strapped to a chair.
Ultimately, Last Labyrinth left me with conflicting feelings that lingered well after taking the headset off. Its bleak atmosphere and subject matter weigh heavily, yet its expert demonstration of VR storytelling is undeniably impressive. The narrative subtly tackles complex philosophical issues interwoven amongst the tense horror and ingenious puzzles. Last Labyrinth is without a doubt one of the most distinctive, unforgettable, and dare I say important VR titles released in recent years that will stick with players long after they've escaped its imposing facility. For those willing to engage with its difficult subject matter, it delivers a singularly impactful experience that blends sophistication with visceral thrills. I strongly recommend this game. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a Quest 3 using a review copy provided by PR. Last Labyrinth is out now on Meta Quest, PlayStation VR and PCVR.