Persona Q2 New Cinema Labyrinth review: Quirky swansong for 3DS
3DS ★★★★ Age: 16+
Nigh-on eight years after Nintendo introduced the 3DS handheld, we could be witnessing its death throes. Persona Q2 appears to be the system's swansong, with no more releases scheduled for the innovative stereoscopic machine.
It might feel like an odd one with which to finish an illustrious run. This bonkers Japanese RPG is actually a cross-breeding of the colourful Persona universe with the dungeon-crawling of the Etrian Odyssey series. If you've never played either - entirely possible given their relative obscurity until 2017's Persona 5 - you'll feel out of your depth straight away.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
Q2 revels in its voluminous and batty cast, byzantine set-up (our heroes are trapped in a cinema that enables them to enter the worlds of the films on-screen) and complex JRPG combat. If you can make it past all that - or are an aficionado to start with - you'll appreciate the quick-fire wit amid the scads of dialogue and gradual deepening of the battle system.
It can be tricky to follow at times with its emphasis on character interaction and its torrents of words. The mixture of two different franchises isn't a roaring success either - but Q2 is true to the 3DS signature of quirkiness and experimentation. The handheld isn't going out with a whimper, just more of an indulgent sigh.
Switch/PC ★★★★ Age: 3+
Gaming doesn't get more retro than this. Many Metroidvania-themed titles have kept the genre alive in recent years. Gato Roboto goes back to the source (1986's Metroid) for this homage, but dresses it in monochrome pixels that wouldn't have looked out of place on the earlier ZX Spectrum.
The result is a clever and amusing explorathon featuring a cat in a mech suit (but of course!) - one minute he's small and vulnerable, the next he's powerful and athletic. The next he's in a submarine diving through flooded tunnels.
The chunky art looks crisply gorgeous, the level designs feel smartly challenging and, of course, you're drip-fed new abilities that open up different paths as you acquire them. It helps enormously too that the cat is animated with such flair and character.
Gato Roboto doesn't actually do much that's new and has a short running time. But it's a refined take on a beloved genre that's a steal for less than a tenner.