QCF: Remilore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore

oguelike games in various genres are a fixture in the gaming landscape more now than ever before. It's no surprise that a lot of these games have made their way to the Nintendo Switch, given that the platform allows for these kinds of games to be played anywhere and Roguelikes, in general, have a very pick up and play quality to them, to begin with.

Nicalis is one of the latest publishers to make a Roguelike happen on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4; developed by Pixelore, and Remimory, Remilore: Girl Lost in the Lands of Lore is a lighter version of this punishing subgenre –known affectionately as a “Roguelite”, which is much more approachable than many other hardcore titles available in the Roguelike subset. So what makes this a game to check out? Let's take a closer look.

Remilore follows the exploits of Remi, a magic school student who, while doing her chores, stumbles upon – and startles – a living grimoire named Lore. In a panic, Lore transports them both to his far off homeland called Ragnoa, where he once lived with his master. However, they are not alone: a mysterious girl has constructed a robotic army to destroy Ragnoa after the passing of Lore's master. Throughout four progressively more difficult areas, players will uncover the mystery of what happened and who this girl is... and what she wants.

 At its core, Remilore is an action RPG. Each of the main areas has four sub-stages, which are all randomized, except for the boss floor. These areas all have a number of rooms that will be sealed off as enemies appear to confront Remi and Lore. The main objective is to locate and destroy the floor's mini-boss while dealing with all of the other opposition that appears as well. When the mini-boss spawns, a life-gauge will appear on the bottom of the screen to let players know that it is present. No matter the room, regardless of whether a mini-boss is present or not, so long as enemies remain, the room will be sealed off until they are all dealt with.

Dispatching enemies and destroying various bits of furniture and such will often reward the player with a bunch of sweets. Unlike other games though, these sweets are used for currency rather than health regeneration. To recover health, players need to find red potions, which are much rarer than sweets by a large margin.

Remi can switch out her weapon with others found in chests at alters that require sweets to randomly generate them, or from random drops that certain enemies leave behind, and before picking these weapons up, players can see at a glance, whether or not they are more or less powerful than the one that they have. Weapons have a range of damage; a low and a high end is shown to the player, with red being lower and blue being higher than the player's current value. These weapons can also have various modifiers as well; a player, for example, might have a sword that is less powerful than the one they already have, but it may have a critical attack boost, making for a more powerful strike more often.

There is also a spell attached to any weapon that can be used with various effects. One may have Lore create a Danmaku-style bullet barrage for a certain amount of time. Others freeze enemies in their tracks while other still increase Remi's ability to move, deal damage, and so forth. Defeating mid-bosses will drop a scroll, which can do just this, but it can also do several other things as well; the player could gain or lose maximum health or magic. They might recover life to max but lose all of their magic power. They could get a small or huge amount of sweets. These abilities and modifiers are always randomized and fits into the sometimes-risky nature of the game.

When players clear a room, they are graded on their speed, how many hits are landed and how much damage they sustained, with a maximum rating of S. When players reach the end of the floor, these ratings are averaged and a final letter grade is awarded to the player. Depending on the grade, many chests will appear to reward the player with new weapons. There is also typically a few alters for players top try for random weapons and health regeneration by way of a red potion if needed.

Remilore gets hard very fast, and players are definitely going to see the screen fade to grey before game over often. Players can actually continue their game from the beginning of the last area they've made it to; if a player can make it onto stage 3-3 before biting it, they can continue from stage 3-1 with the weapon they had when they died. This makes the game more approachable, for newcomers and less frustrating if the player hits a rough patch or ends up getting ganked by a crowd of giant sword-wielding, flailing robots.

There's a better way to get further though; using sweets, players can upgrade their weapons to a maximum of 5. The higher the weapon level, the better the new pickups will be. It's easier to get an S-ranked weapon with tremendous power with a level-5 stat. Each weapon type has the potential to be upgraded in this manner. In addition, new spells can be unlocked and upgraded in the same way, opening up new support strategies that gradually enhance when the player needs it, especially for later down the endgame. Players can even determine what kind of weapon they will start with by using sweets in this manner as well.

All in all, the upgrade system is extremely helpful, and the sooner it's maxed, the easier the game will be for the player.

Remilore also has some unlockables as well; all of the weapons that players pick up can be unlocked and become viewable in the main menu. All kinds of extra game modes open up after the first time 'round like New Game Plus, Hard, Nightmare, Arcade 1CC and more open up to challenge the player—not to mention the load of extra costumes that will become available to the player, and are especially helpful in the awesome two-player coop mode. Additional characters are also unlocked for use in Co-op as well, and all upgrades apply to the weapons and abilities in the game for both players.

And all of that makes Remilore a great game even before mentioning the presentation. Remilore runs very, very well on the Switch, with all kinds of great effects, including lighting and atmospherics. The character design is great, enemies are pretty cool looking, the environments work very well and the music is fitting and well-composed. However, we did have to turn the Voiceover volume all the way down; while the voiceovers for conversations between Remi, lore and other characters were great, Remi's constant whining when she gets hit was too friggin' much for me. I couldn't deal with it, and it's a shame too, since I really was digging the voiceover for the story bits and general banter.

Remi Lore is a Roguelite game that I really enjoyed playing and we're sure to go back to it again and again. The many game modes it eventually sports is great for the streaming scene and the co-op gameplay at home or on the go – at least in the switch's case—makes it a must-have for action RPG fan that has a hankering for a bit of that Roguelike spice... but not too much.

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