The premise of RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore isn’t exactly what many would call inspired.
Your short adventure follows Remi, a schoolgirl who accidentally scares Lore, a sentient book, who then in return teleports them to the lands of Ragnoah. Over the course of a couple of hours or so you’ll fight your way through 12 levels, 4 bosses and countless bloodthirsty robots to get home. But what looks like a rote experience turns out to be one with surprising depth.
The story itself is filled with surprises. Throughout each level, the action periodically gets broken up with dialogue between Remi and Lore. These sections are well written, and actually go to explore some more complex topics. The story ends up delving into familial relationships, immaturity and abandonment. There is actually a sense that these characters grow throughout the story, and this is all helped by the fantastic writing and Japanese voice acting. I found myself looking forward to the next dialogue scene to learn more about what happened to this world.
When exploring the various procedurally generated levels and during the action itself, Remi and Lore will constantly bicker with each other. These moments add a nice levity to the actual main themes of the story and help flesh out both the characters and world.
These little quips between characters are a welcome addition, but they aren’t always executed perfectly. The first major issue is that you will hear them repeatedly. While hearing Remi go on about how she’s tired or worried about her family and what they think happened to her can add a lot to her overall character, but similarly it can get annoying after hearing about it multiple times. Luckily this is mitigated a little by all of the voice acting, with it done in Japanese. It becomes a little bit harder to notice the repetition when in order to understand what they are saying, you have to read the subtitles. But therein lies the next issue. Often these moments will happen during combat, and it can be incredibly difficult to both read the dialogue and survive the fights at the same time. This often forces you to ignore the game’s attempt at creating an enjoyable relationship between these characters, all in favor of surviving.
The development team have thankfully handled the combat system with just as much care as the story. As you progress, you unlock various different weapon types including war hammers, staffs, one handed swords and much more. For each of these weapons, there are unique combos to learn, and every time you equip a new weapon, one of 16 unique spells that Lore can unleash is attached. This is decided completely at random so you can easily find a weapon that does massive damage but comes with a spell you don’t enjoy using, however thankfully weapons are rewarded to you often enough that you are never forced to use one you don’t enjoy for too long. Between all of this – and the multiple passive buffs you can gain from different weapons – there is a ton of customization and flexibility allowed.
The actual combat found in RemiLore is also incredibly entertaining. There are up to nine different combos for the six unique weapon types, with each combo having its own place in the game, and all being satisfying to execute. The game also includes an onscreen aid to help you learn these combinations, showing what move you will perform for every button press. You’re also equipped with a dodge to help with the action. While not providing any iframes, this gives you ample room to get out of harm’s way, with the longer you hold down the A button, the further you will dodge.
You get three of these dodges available too, with a stamina bar constantly recharging. Certain abilities can cause the bar to recharge faster, but overall it feels like a rather forgiving system that is nice and responsive in combat, able to aid in exploring the procedurally generated environments faster.
At the end of every arena that you are thrown into, you get graded based on the damage you took, your highest combo and how long the fight lasted, with the conclusion of each level seeing all of your scores added up along with all the dessert points earned. This then determines your reward with multiple chests that either have more dessert points or new weapons for you to equip. It is a smart system that helps reward skillful play in a meaningful way.
Nearly every aspect of the combat system is upgradeable through the use of these dessert points. These are little candies that you can earn through your fights or by destroying almost every aspect of the environment. The system is extremely flexible allowing you to pick what you enjoy the most, favoring a specific weapon type or spell to make things more powerful. You can also use them at the in-game stores to buy health potions or weapons. As a result, death carries a tangible weight since you will lose a substantial portion of your dessert points, and it is this which adds a fair amount of pressure, especially later in the game as you rack up tons of points, and the enemies get tougher.
RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore on Xbox One may well surprise you. What I expected to be a shallow experience turned out to be a rather deep one, and between the actually gripping story and characters, to the intense fun of the combat, there is a lot to come back to here. This is helped by the sheer amount of offerings and different game modes that you can complete, from boss rushes to permadeath. While there are some small inconveniences, and the questionable decision to make most achievements deliver 24 Gamerscore can be irritating, the developers at Pixellore Inc and Remimory have created a fantastic world I hope to return to someday.