An Adorable Roguelite
In RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore, it’s up to you to save an alternate fantasy world while armed with your dessert-fueled spells and mighty broom. Or, if you prefer, a sewing needle, a cheese grater, even a pink flamingo. These are just some of the unique weapons in this anime-style, hack-and-slash roguelite by Pixellore and Nicalis.
The vast majority of RemiLore is reminiscent of ‘90s magical shoujo anime, making it a refreshingly bright member of the roguish crowd. The game follows Remi, a high school girl pulled into another dimension by Lore, a trigger-happy sentient spellbook. If she wants to return to Earth, she’ll have to deal with the android leader Choux and her robot army as they overrun everything. Story and character development don’t get a lot of exploration. Aside from cutscenes, there are small bits of dialogue while navigating levels. These can be fun, except when they happen during a fight. It sometimes fits, but mid-battle dialogue can get distracting fast.
Even worse, dialogue can repeat itself and break any semblance of story chronology. Sometimes, the repeated dialogue feels particularly out of place when it no longer fits on-screen events. For example, it makes sense when Remi complains about fighting in the beginning. Lore stranded her in another dimension with aggressive robots minutes ago. It's less understandable when she makes that same complaint in the final world. She’s tearing through enemies armed with a superweapon, why is she complaining about fighting again when she's winning?
While the narrative doesn't make for the most memorable experience, it's ultimately passable and endearing enough. However, plot, characterization, and their little related details are not the main focus. At its heart, the game favors combat as the main attraction. RemiLore is a wonderfully pure form of hack-and-slash action with an appealing anime aesthetic.
With two buttons for attack and one to trigger Lore's support spells, combat distills to its essentials and is easy to pick up. Personally, I find button mashing and hitting something until it goes down to be a fun time. RemiLore does more though. The constant threat of death resetting your progress compels you to change up tactics to survive. Evasion becomes critical when you realize health potions are hard to come by. Only shops found at the end of levels guarantee a chance to get one.
If Remi is nearly dead while nowhere near the end of a level, your only hope is randomization. Randomly generated treasure chests or mini-shops offer chances for health potions, and sometimes a defeated enemy may drop one. The scarcity of health potions makes it crucial to avoid as many hits as possible. At least, that was my strategy. I roughly learned different enemy patterns, figured out when it was best to dart in and out to attack them. I chipped away at them while preserving Remi’s health bar. The dash control feels amazingly intuitive and responsive. It's largely able to let Remi cancel any of her attacks to immediately dart out of the way.
However, evasion can’t be used recklessly since it's on a cooldown meter. Since I couldn't dash forever, I learned the hard way to keep track of my stamina. It's frustrating when the enemy catches you when you lack the energy to get away. In the end, I really enjoyed how the limited resources inspired me to come up with a workable strategy. I liked that the gameplay compelled me to put a little more thought into hack-and-slash.
Strategizing doesn't end there. Besides careful evasion, you can capitalize more on Lore’s support spells. Depending on what weapon Remi has, Lore’s abilities can vary. Certain types of magic better fit a solo campaign facing hordes of robots. Spells great for mechanical mobs include Freeze and Slow, which impede enemy movement with a brief status effect. Other spells that give you a straight attack boost aren't as instantly effective when enemies inevitably surround you.
With the right spell, you may even want to lure the robots in. Gather them in one spot and strike them all at once with magic. The randomly generated environment layouts affect decisions like this too. Are you in a small room where the enemy can corner you? Or is the room open enough where you can easily dart away from the enemy? Open rooms are great for a little divide and conquer. There's enough space for you to separate enemies and take them down one-by-one with just your weapon. Paying attention to the environment adds another delightful level of strategy to hack-and-slash fighting.
Magic has its own meter, but that can only be recharged by gathering the world's main currency—dessert points. Every destroyed enemy drops colorful desserts like cupcakes and candies. The destructible environment will also cough up more sweet confectioneries to replenish magic. Besides providing more quirky visuals and powering Lore’s magic, dessert points can get permanent upgrades. This is part of the suite of features that soften the game’s more rogue side. No matter how many times Remi dies, your various upgrades—like increasing spell effectiveness—will remain. Similarly, though you can only use one weapon at a time, death can’t make you lose it.
Like the dessert points, the wide variety of weapons adds to the world’s quirkiness. They also provide a lot of potential unlockables. The achievement menu hints at several different weapon styles, but you largely start with the one-handed sword style, and then the hammer style. You only unlock another style after completing the story mode once. Despite this, you can find a lot of different weapons within just those two weapon styles during the main campaign. The player can get something as classic as a flame sword, or something as unique as a squeaky toy hammer.
While weapons serve as another amusing visual, practicality is the deciding factor in choosing what to battle with. You obviously make more progress with higher-ranked weapons. Luckily the fun designs don’t stop as the weapons level up. For instance, one of the highest-ranked weapons is a golden broom.
Besides the chance to unlock more weapon styles, there is more replayability after the main campaign wraps. For example, completing story mode unlocks a new character to play in local co-op mode. This character has her own look and a new default fighting style to experience.
Co-op mode does have a different feel. It’s more chaotic with one more character on screen, and it’s faster progressing with a partner instead of going solo. Co-op also doesn’t have any story scenes, giving you a more arcadey experience. This extra chaos is part of the fun. It's entertaining to burn through enemies and share the experience with someone else.
Whether solo or co-op, there’s a nice level of progression when battling through the various worlds. Players start off learning the ropes with low-level weapons. Later they advance, developing their skills and equipment until they’re able to better control fights and rampage through enemies.
Obviously, bosses are different from the typical robot enemy. Clashes with them become more about patience and caution. This is in response to their greater strength and long health bars. There's also virtually no chance to replenish Remi's health, and dessert points become scarce. Evasion, figuring out enemy patterns, and carefully chipping away at their health bar is all the more important in boss encounters. Act too recklessly or rush too much, and a boss can end you and send you back to the first level of a world. Thankfully, that's not the beginning of the game, but it's still quite a trip. Finally beating a boss after they’ve sent you back to square one multiple times is particularly exhilarating.
The sense of progression and the challenge of bosses can feel more heightened in a solo campaign. However, co-op mode again offers the satisfaction of shared experience and teamwork. Playing both ways is entertaining, and it’s worth returning to the game to experience both. While it may not be a new classic that’s set to make waves, RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore is plenty of fun with hack-and-slash action that can be replayed again and again.
TechRaptor reviewed RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore on Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.
- Fun Combat System
- Charming Art
- Catchy Music
- Entertaining Co-Op Mode
- Distracting Mid-Battle Dialogue
- Average Writing
- Unclear Save System