Review: RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore (Switch)

Girls gone rogue.

By Joshua A. Johnston. Posted 03/01/2019 06:30 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Cool anime style; easy-to-learn hack-and-slash combat
Poison Mushroom for...
Gets repetitive after a while; forgettable story; annoying game save restriction

Nicalis is a video game publisher best known for the cult classic Cave Story, as well as The Binding of Isaac. The company is known for quirky, indie-style games that bend genres and do things a little differently than what one sees from traditional publishers. The company’s latest project is RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore, a multiplatform title releasing simultaneously on Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The game’s initial price runs $39.99 across all platforms, and is available as both a physical game or as a digital download. The title is very much in the same quirky mold as the publisher’s other offerings, although it doesn’t quite achieve the heights of some of their previous releases.

One of the first things a player will notice about RemiLore is its style. The vibe is anime at its quirkiest, with schoolgirls running through a fantasy world laden with robots and desserts, battling baddies with the likes of brooms, scissors, and tennis rackets. The sound runs the same mood, with a whimsical score and voicework done entirely in Japanese, translated by English subtitles. On top of all that, levels have different daytime settings and even seasons, which gives the whole package a sense of time passing.

The game bills itself as a “rogue-lite” game, which is distinctive from a “roguelike” game. A traditional roguelike game usually consists of two important qualities: randomly generated dungeons and permadeath, where the game ends when the character dies. RemiLore does have randomly generated dungeons, but instead of permadeath, getting killed gives players the option to restart a level (or “act,” as they are called in the game) rather than the game entirely. That makes this game a somewhat more forgiving experience than a traditional roguelike, which can be good or bad depending on how hardcore a gamer is.

Beyond the rogue elements, RemiLore is a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler with some light role-playing touches. Players make their way from one room to another, fighting enemies and collecting donuts, popsicles, and other treats that make up the game’s currency. Along the way, players will have the opportunity to acquire new weapons dropped in the field, and use the desserts to unlock upgrades. The game unlocks are permanent, meaning they remain even after death or starting a new gameplay session. The combat system is basic but it works, and is easy to pick up thanks to a useful tutorial mode. Players have two types of attacks: a dash move, and a magic ability. The dash allows players to close distances and to dodge, which is particularly important as there are no block moves in the game. The attacks and magic ability, meanwhile, are weapon specific. Each weapon has a different damage level, attack pattern, and magic ability (i.e. freeze, projectile attack, attack buff), and swapping out a weapon can change those things. Some weapons also have a buff or other special characteristic.

The title has three different gameplay modes: single player, story, and co-op. Story mode consists of a full set of randomly-generated levels, accompanied by a storyline. In this mode, players hack through the game while interacting with a magical book that serves as the source of the player’s abilities. It’s here that most of the dialogue plays out, and the fact that it’s voiced in Japanese is both a blessing and a curse: the language choice gives the game an authentic atmosphere, but because some of the dialogue happens in the heat of combat, players might not be able to look down at the subtitles while fending off the mechanical hordes. It’s not clear that players miss a lot, though, as the tale that goes on between the protagonist and her magical text isn’t a particularly deep one. It’s mostly banter between two people expositing on their quirks, with an android girl plotline that feels more of a hook for pulling players through the levels rather than something that stands on its own.

The remaining two modes, single player and co-op, are more or less identical other than the number of players involved. In both cases, the game plays out more or less like the story mode, except that the dialogue is cut and the action is the only consideration. Of the two, co-op is by far the more entertaining, as single-player can get rather boring after a while. In fact, co-op may be the best part of the whole game, as even the single player mode can get a bit mundane after a while. By contrast, the co-op lets two players team up and conquer the levels together. (The co-op also seems to be a little easier.)

One major negative is the way the game handles saves. In true roguelike fashion, players can only save one game at a time, and starting a new game requires overwriting the old save. The problem is, starting a new single player game overrides an existing co-op game, or vice versa. That means that if you are halfway through a single player (or story) campaign and you want to have a friend over for couch co-op, you have to erase your existing single player save to start the co-op one. This seems senseless and avoidable, and puts a limit on the game that shouldn’t be necessary.

Limits, unfortunately, are ultimately what keep this game from greatness. Despite the good looks and a solid mechanical foundation, RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore is a game hampered by repetitive gameplay, a story that isn’t all that compelling, and a save system that discourages mixing it up. Some of this could well be hammered out in subsequent installments, but as it stands now, this is an okay diversion but not a stellar title, especially at the starting price tag.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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