A Switch remake of a game originally released in 2007, Etrian Odyssey is a dungeon-crawler that tasks you with revealing the secrets of a dangerous labyrinth. Upon arriving in Etria, the town at the border of the maze, you report to the explorers’ guild and start recruiting your team.

Due to the labyrinth’s fame, there are already adventurers of many classes and abilities milling around the area. Rather than having to seek them out, you can simply create your party exactly as you want it from the very beginning. This makes for a very streamlined start to the game.

You can take up to five characters with you into the labyrinth and leave up to 30 behind at the guild. This allows you to have a diverse pool of talent to pull from depending on what you want to achieve each time you venture in.

As your characters level up, you can assign points to different skills. Once you reach the maximum level 70, you won’t have enough skill points to max out everything, so it’s worth having a few of each type of character in your team.

Etrian Odyssey offers you a lot of freedom to explore on your own terms. Local authorities task you with missions that further the story. People in the tavern will ask you to undertake quests in return for gold or gifts. This can be anything from battling enemies to finding lost items or interesting features of the map. Some quests encourage you to mix up your party, others to focus on one particular character class for a short while. Some drive you deeper into the labyrinth, while others encourage you to explore every corner of the floors you’ve already traversed once.

Combat is turn-based and, particularly if you’re playing on the more challenging settings, does require some strategy. Different types of moves will have different effects on the enemies you face. Some enemies have conditional drops specifically based on the type of move you use to defeat them. You won’t have enough space in your party for every type of combat specialist, especially if you plan to take a healer or defender, so you do need to think ahead.

There are a total of 25 floors to explore, split into five stratum, each with its own distinct design, enemies and loot. The game is broadly hands-off, giving you the freedom to take or leave any quests. However there are clues in the stories offered alongside each quest that help build up to the game’s ultimate message.

The key feature that makes Etrian Odyssey different from other dungeon crawlers is the cartography element. The labyrinth is entirely unmapped and the game doesn’t generate it for you as you go. In the original game, the mapping function was on the lower touchscreen, with the first person navigation on the top. 

On the Switch, both screens have been combined into one. You control your party’s movement through the forest with one Joy-con and the map-making function with the other. You can also still use the touchscreen in handheld mode. It doesn’t look amazing at first glance, but both the design and the controls are easier than you might expect to settle into.

Along with this, the revival of Etrian Odyssey comes with remastered graphics and soundtrack. While some of the design is still somewhat dated, it does for the most part look and sound amazing, so you can tell this effort has paid off. Etrian Odyssey doesn’t have the fluidity of games made more recently, but it is beautifully preserved with upgrades that shine and is well worth playing to relive it.