Sometimes, you make a bad choice. When RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore appeared in our list of games to review, I run a fast google search since the title caught my attention. What I conducted was that the game must be an anime-like Diablo featuring cute manga chicks! That was an instant sell for me. But boy, was I wrong. What I got was a lesson in boredom. Under the cute outlook is a badly-designed dungeon crawler that simply has too little excitement to hold attention through its simplicity.
Remi is a lazy and dumb high school student who has to clean up a dusty old school library as a punishment for slacking off in class. That task is too much for her as she laments all the time. Waving her broom around, she accidentally brushes a tome lying on a table. It turns out that the book is a grand grimoire called Lore who panics when woken up suddenly and accidentally casts a teleport spell. The duo ends up in Lore’s dimension, populated by mecha-monsters roaming about. Lore promises to take Remi back home as soon as they find a portal and so they traverse across the magical plane. Remi whines and whimpers all the time as she hacks and slashes mecha-monsters with different weapons ranging from soup ladles and tennis rackets to swords while Lore provides magical support with his ultimate spell. Well, it’s not as ultimate as he likes to think as he has a tendency to exaggerate his importance. Soon, they run into an android girl Choux who wants to take Lore into her possession.
RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore is a rogue-like dungeon crawler which advances from a room to another that make up the randomly generated levels. Each room houses mecha-monsters and an assortment of furniture that all must be smashed to bits for candy. Sweets are used as currency in Lore’s world to buy upgrades for Remi, such as increasing healing values of potions. The most important upgrade to buy is a boost to weapon drops, ensuring Remi gets better arsenal to fend off monsters with, although foes seem to scale up according to the weapon ranks. Remi can carry only one weapon at a time, adding some strategy to deciding between item drops. One-handed weapons provide speedier action than two-handed weapons that are slow to wield but more powerful. I preferred fast arsenal to keep my attention up as it was fading the further Remi and Lore made headway.
The game plays out like Diablo-lite and also “NieR for minors” for featuring a talking, hovering grimoire who delivers some light ranged support. Too bad RemiLore is nowhere near as engaging as those two games. Rather, it’s stupefying and repetitive with the recurrent and simple gameplay loop of entering rooms and chopping up monsters and furniture for sweets. As simple as the game is, there are still design flaws. Hit impact is so tame it’s hard to tell if you’re hitting monsters or not. The view is too close to the action, so it’s hard to perceive the happenings around Remi. She also gets too easily stuck into those environmental objects she can’t destroy, like pillars. It doesn’t help that the essential dodge-dash is regulated buy a three-part stamina bar so in a case of running into a stall, you can’t escape that easily.
All these design flaws lead into unnecessary deaths. Even though the game is cute and sweet in its appearance, it copies punishment for failure from much harsher Souls-likes. Continue takes back to the first level of current chapter, no matter if you have a more recent hard save. Also, if you exit the death screen without continuing, thinking to pick up later from a saved game, think again as the game erases the save upon exit. As a small consolation, purchased upgrades remain, so it makes it faster to reach the point where you were left off. Still, punishing for death makes the game unnecessary stressful. Maybe it’s to avoid boredom that can creep in even in local co-op play that you’d think is more hectic by default. I was wondering why the other character was running into walls and I caught my brother dozing off!
The game can also be played without story parts which might be for the better. Remi is such an annoying and whiny numbskull that you really don’t root for her. It feels almost like it has brought perverted pleasure for developers to constantly bring up new bad sides to her through dialogue between her and Lore. Choux is a more exciting character, even though she such a cliché from her looks to her laconic demeanor. In the end, RemiLore is a collection of nice programming routines – smooth scrolling, nifty animation and neatly moving objects from monsters to projectiles – but they alone don’t make a very good game when everything else is mostly lacking. Manga girls don’t always equal great entertainment. Lesson learned!
Video game nerd & artist. I've been playing computer and video games since the early 80's so I dare say I have some perspective to them. When I'm not playing, I'm usually at my art board.