Developed by Pixellore and Remimory Published by Nicalis Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Xbox One, Switch and Steam)
RemiLore is a game that I really wanted to flourish. It’s a hack and slash rogue like that takes place in a fantasy world where the possibility of seeking out interesting lore and locales could have been the start of something fresh. I was happy enough during my time with the game as it runs well and the game play is simple but fun. However, there are a few things here that hold it back and prevent the real flower underneath from fully blossoming.
RemiLore starts out with our protagonist Remi, a bespectacled young high school girl, cleaning a library. While cleaning a table she stumbles upon a grimoire that “accidentally” transports Remi to a new world, one where magic exists and is main focus of the world’s interest and conflicts. This all sounds great on paper and there are some small teases and exposition through dialogue. That’s sadly all it ever amounts to, teases and exposition. The locations Remi goes through have potential to impress by the virtue of what occurred in the past.
While the grimoire, Lore, does tell you some things, it amounts to basically nothing in the long run. Due to the way the game randomly generates levels, exploration doesn’t lead to any cool secrets that make the world feel alive. By the end of the game I knew a handful of things about the world, and I very much would have liked to have learned more. Sadly, if you play the game well enough with a focus on survival you can clear a full run of the game’s Gauntlet style levels in about an hour and a half.
There’s another problem with the story delivery. Remi and Lore are very annoying characters. Remi is neither a good at sports, academics or anything if the in game dialogue is to be believed. If this was a case of using the old “I’m not good at anything in my world” trope it would work perfectly. This is sadly not the case and the game’s story is worse for it. Lore, while he allows Remi to use a handful of spells, doesn’t really serve a purpose besides exposition and being a mediocre conversationalist. He also fills the “I am a MacGuffin with a great name” trope which he uses repeatedly when he feels inferior. Unfortunately that is all the time. This is sometimes compounded by the fact that short conversations in the game are seemingly chosen at random and have a tendency to be used again even if you’ve already heard one not even 30 minutes ago.
While the story telling side of RemiLore is a mess, I did find solace in its game play. The game allows you to explore your way through randomly generated levels. Each level has four to five large fights with a mid-boss thrown in here and there. There are weapons to find in chests at regular intervals and an occasional secondary path. Enemies drop sweets that you use as currency to level up skills, buy potions at hidden shops, and for weapon totems at the end of each stage. Depending on how well you performed in each category (time to finish, damage taken, and highest combo count), you can get a rank anywhere from D to S.
Getting multiple S Ranks will guarantee that you get four chances at a much stronger weapon and increasing your chances of survival and efficiency. Some of the weapons you can acquire are standard household items like a broom or a golf club, to more exotic weapons like a bastard sword with a teddy bear motif that can cut through projectiles. The only weapon I found myself not liking were the hammers. Their long wind up time is not worth the amount of damage they can dish out.
The way skills are leveled up is easy enough. Defeat enemies and break background objects to earn DP. Then use that to power up spells and increase the chance to get better weapons. You don’t actually level up Remi. Instead, each mid-boss and end level boss grants you a spell or power up. This would be fine in theory if some of the drops you get don’t actually reduce your stats. In a run I did I got two mid bosses in a row that reduced my max MP. This reduced my ability to cast a spell more than once unless I used a weaker one. It’s an attempt to make your run more challenging because the game’s overall length is short, but this could have been done with better enemy balancing and more variety. Or by having weapons that change your stats instead of just a damage number. There are good ideas here but I find that they were not well thought out enough and it dampers the overall enjoyment.
RemiLore is sadly not a game I can recommend without maybe considering a steep discount before hand. A half baked, rather boring story, combined with repetitive enemies and weird sense of progress make this not as fun as it could be.