The struggle with reviewing low budget games is that they’re typically bad, but in a way that is kind of unavoidable. Those limited funds, experience or even talent is used in the way they think will be the best for the sum of their parts and it either resonates or not. Sometimes games can rise beyond the sum of their parts, such as Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, where as other times they’re that much worse, like Next Up Hero. RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore tries to achieve the former with simple gameplay, roguelike elements and plenty to unlock, but is it enough to make a lasting impression or is it an underwhelming mess.
Your adventure begins with Remi startling a mysterious magic book named Lore, who inadvertently transports both of them to the Ragnoah. Shortly after you’re introduced to an inorganic life form called Choux, who is creating mechanical creatures to destroy the world. Later you find out both Choux and Lore, who is actually named Cream, are siblings who lost their wonderful master and it becomes a story about being together with family.
Remi’s story is more about how Lore holds a lot of grudges against things Choux did in the past than anything else. It isn’t something that is quite resolved in her story, but is touched on in Choux’s story. There it is more about rounding out the two characters, adding insight into what Choux thinks/feels and tries to bring the two siblings together.
If there is a real issue with the story, it’s that it’s completely disposable. All of it could’ve been removed, RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore could’ve been a simple roguelike game with cute girls and a magical book and the experience would’ve been the same. Not only does it do very little to stand out, it struggles to even find a point. I’m not even sure if I’ll remember what happened here in a month, much less a year from now. Sadly, this struggle also appears in the gameplay portion.
Similar to how the story is irrelevant, similar things can be said about the weapon system. The developers tried to flesh out this experience by adding a lot of weapons, each with their own unique perks, look and abilities, but in doing so they made a game with a lot of pointless weapons. Of the included 213 weapons, maybe 20 are legitimately useful, with the deciding factor being overall damage.
This is an issue for most weapons, since they also have some kind of perk. As useful as some perks are, the game is set up in a way where their value is moot. Why should I worry about stamina drain if I can regenerate a bar in like 6 seconds? Where is the value in slashing bullets if there are a small amount of them to begin with? Who cares about cash drops when you can max everything out and make it irrelevant after about five runs? Even magic cost reduction is pointless when you can routinely generate enough magic for an attack after defeating a couple enemies.
Not only is this a bad system, it’s exuberated by too many magical abilities. Most of them actually have no value. I’m never going to attack while dashing, more dash is only good if you have a defensive play style, there are often not enough bullets to warrant using that and so forth. The only legitimately useful ones are bullet onslaught, slow, freeze and lightning bolt, with the first and last one being powerful enough to beat the game with a starting weapon. Seriously, on an attempt for hammer enthusiast, the trophy for beating the game only using hammers, I was able to complete the game in under an hour, with relative ease, using only lightning bolt and the starting weapon, Makeshift Bludgeon.
A lot of this has to do with the way gameplay works, over weapons being objectively bad. Enemies have a weird, if you attack them early, you can stun lock them to death, but if it’s too late, they have unflinching and will punish you. This rewards an extremely aggressive play style, but also punishes it in a way that seems unfair. You basically either steamroll everything or everything steamrolls you. Another issue comes when multiple enemies attack. There are times I’ve almost died to multiple enemies doing the same stun lock thing to me. Get hit by a punch, which brings you into a spear, who stuns you long enough to get punched again and so forth.
Where things become especially problematic is depth. Since weapons are irrelevant, magic is only useful in a couple forms and the average battle will be someone dominating someone else, there isn’t much to be excited for. Of the six available weapon types, only three are fun, with hammers and two handed swords being an oddly technical play style (think Monster Hunter’s greatsword) and the remaining gauntlets requiring a lot of altering attacks to be useful. From there, there is almost no defensive moves.
Where a parry, blocking or even dodge mechanics would go a long way, players are given the choice of either attacking, running away or dodging in hopes their attack will miss. Those who choose to dodge will quickly learn there are little to no invincibility frames, so they either outright miss or you take damage, with there being no in between.
As cute as RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore might look, there is literally nothing else redeeming about it. Not only is the story forgettable, it has so little going on it might be better to have nothing. From there, even though you have over 200 weapons to choose from, most are worthless and even a bad weapon with good magic is enough to beat the game. Add in one of the most frustrating grading systems I’ve seen, a pointless cash system, paper thin gameplay and you have an experience that I’d be hard press to recommend to anyone.
[Editor’s Note: RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore was reviewed on Switch platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]