“What if Diablo was a roguelike about anime girls?” It’s a question as old as time, really. While mankind was busy exploring the moon and creating artificial intelligence, this very thought has endlessly occupied the back of our minds. It’s only now that the brave people at Nicalis have stepped forward and tried to answer that question with RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore.
The connection to Diablo is, admittedly, rather thin in RemiLore. Still, it’s mixed into the DNA of the game enough that fans of those sorts of hack-n-slash RPGs will feel right at home. RemiLore sports an angled top-down camera perspective and a simple control scheme. You have a dash button, a light attack, a heavy attack, and a spell attack.
While the simplicity of the controls is appreciated, the lack of depth and absence of defensive options led to combat becoming dull, repetitive, or a mild combination of the two. You can use your dash ability to move away from incoming enemy attacks, but when multiple enemies are crowded up on you and it’s impossible to distinguish when an attack might come at you, the lack of any kind of guard option is sorely noticed. Your weapon attacks are kept a little varied thanks to a handful of different combos you can perform, but the real spice comes from the variety of different weapons you’ll find as you play.
This is where RemiLore diverges from a traditional loot-em-up action game, as you won’t be picking up new and slightly better weapons from fallen foes. RemiLore has all the trappings of a classic rogue-like adventure, so you’ll be finding new and randomized weapons intermittently via treasure rooms, shop rooms, or end-of-level rewards. These new weapons each have a specific spell ability tied to them, as well, although I often found myself losing a useful spell in favor of a higher-damage hammer or sword.
The layout of each level is randomized, so you won’t always know when or where you’ll be able to grab a new weapon or a health potion. The game is pretty forgiving, though, so you’ll rarely be hurting for either of those. Nicalis describe RemiLore as a “rogue-lite” game, and I can see why. It’s generous in almost every aspect. The currency you use to buy upgrades and items is dolled out handsomely, and when you die, you lose a small chunk of it and can choose to restart at the beginning of the level you’re on. It’s a great balance of difficulty for people who are new to the genre, but hardcore rogue-likers might not appreciate just how easy the game is.
RemiLore also sets itself apart from other roguelike titles with its emphasis on characters and writing. There’s a story to this game, and it’s constantly moving. You play as a girl named Remi, who was transported to another world when she accidentally startled a talking book in her school library. Now, the two have to journey through a mysterious fantasy world in order to find their way home.
The overall narrative isn’t entirely gripping or unique, but I loved how quirky and well-written the duo of Remi and her talking book Lore were. They bounce off of each other endlessly through cutscenes and mid-battle dialogue, and it’s all voice acted really well to boot. The only shame is that mid-battle dialogue tends to repeat way too often, but if it truly becomes a concern, you can circumvent it all thanks to an arcade-style mode that strips the game of all the story elements.
While care was put into the writing and characterization of RemiLore, I can’t quite say the same about the visuals. The game runs well, sure. And yes, the graphics are sharp and high-fidelity. Despite those facts, though, the game just absolutely lacks any kind of cohesive design or style. Environments and enemies are all so generic my eyes would glaze over them, and a majority of the weapons you find are goofy generic assets like soup ladles or tennis rackets. A stronger sense of cohesive visual design would have really brought this game together into a more memorable package.
RemiLore lays a decent groundwork in terms of gameplay and design, but it never really goes beyond that. Combat is simple and promising, but the lack of depth makes it hard to stay engaged with it for very long. The visuals, likewise, lack any kind of unique punch or distinct art style to make them stand out as anything other than generic. The game is helped by its forgiving nature and the likable pair of protagonists you control, but a bit more care and effort could have helped make this game something truly special.
A review code was provided by the publisher.