It seemed like a regular old detention for Remi, a regular high schooler who’s plenty familiar with the her school’s disciplinary system. She just had to tidy up the library and put away all the books—easy, right? At least, it was until she tried to move Lore, a sentient, hundreds-of-years-old tome who’d decided a long time ago that this library was a nice, quiet place to live. In his surprise at being picked up, he accidentally cast a powerful teleportation spell—as you do when you’re a “Grand Grimoire”, I guess. With that, the pair of them were transported to Ragnoah, Lore’s once-peaceful homeland that’s now overrun with dangerous “mecha-monsters”. With Lore’s magic all but depleted, the only way to get Remi home (and Lore back to his peaceful slumber) is to fight through the hordes towards a distant portal.
It’s a familiar setup, certainly, but it cleanly sets up the meat of RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore: a fun, simple hack-and-slash game that sees you fighting through swarms of colourful robots using everything from regular old swords to soup ladles and plastic flamingos. A bit of luck with procedural maps and randomised loot helps, but surviving mostly comes down to quick reflexes and making smart use of Remi’s evasive dash; RemiLore is all about the action. Combat is all about watching enemies’ tells and avoiding their attacks as necessary, while hammering away on the attack buttons to dish out as much damage as possible in between.
It’s a timeless formula, though RemiLore‘s take on it is perhaps a bit simplistic. Each weapon offers a wide array of different combo strings, but there’s little to differentiate between them other than visual effects, so offence mostly comes down to mashing buttons. Almost every attack can be cancelled into an evasive dash, and most enemies’ attacks are slow enough to start up that there’s ample time to get out of the way. The result is a game that’s great at letting you just go wild—which is satisfying, in its own way—but doesn’t demand much in the way of strategy.
As “rogue-lite” games go, RemiLore isn’t particularly difficult (on Normal mode, at least). Once you get familiar with the ebb and flow of combat and know what to watch out for, there isn’t much that’ll take you by surprise, and health potions are common enough that there’s some decent room for error. If you do die, you’ll have to restart from the first floor of the current—still a hefty punishment, but not as severe as having to start again from square one. Genre diehards might take issue, but I think it works; the story is charming and the cast full of life, so it’s nice to be able to see it through to the finish without too many roadblocks.
The challenge comes after you’ve completed Story Mode for the first time and unlocked a wealth of other, far more difficult options. Hard mode simply jacks up all the monsters you fight so they hit harder and have more health, but in Nightmare mode a single hit will kill you and in One Coin Clear mode any death sends you right back to the beginning of the game. Wildcard Weapon randomises your weapon every time you destroy an enemy, Power House increases your attack power at the cost of speed, and Sugar Rush does the opposite. The first run might be breezy, but RemiLore has plenty of different ways to make switch things up for repeat playthroughs.
There’s also an overarching character progression system that spans multiple runs. As you kill enemies and break objects littered about each map, you collect Dessert Points that can then be spent on upgrades for Remi and Lore. These aren’t raw stat upgrades, but rather things like new support spells for Lore to use, improving the effectiveness of potions, and increasing the chances of getting good loot. Aside from maxing out the effectiveness of health potions—which I’d strongly recommend as your first priority for Dessert Point spending—there’s nothing here that’ll make or break a run, but it all helps contribute to an overall sense of progression.
As a game that’s so clearly designed with repeated playthroughs in mind, it’s a good thing that RemiLore‘s world is as inviting as it is. This isn’t a game of dingy dungeons and morbid atmosphere; there’s a cheerful energy in everything from the cartoony design of the mecha-monsters to the fact that desserts are the currency of choice. The world is bright and colourful, with each of the four major areas representing one of the four seasons and celebrating the natural beauty that comes with them. And finally, the story that ties everything together is a cute tale of friendship and sibling rivalry, brought to life through a group of delightful characters and an irreverent sense of humour.
That’s enough to make RemiLore worth checking out. Hardcore roguelite players might find it a bit on the simplistic side, but it’s a far more welcoming take on the genre that makes for a great introduction for newcomers, and one that gives you plenty of reason to keep coming back for more.
The publisher provided a review copy of RemiLore to Shindig.