Have Grimoire, Will Travel

HIGH Satisfying combat, beautiful locations.

LOW Restarting from the beginning of a world when Remi is defeated.

WTF so, it just ends like that?


RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore, like its protagonist herself, is adorable and charming in short bursts.  It offers enjoyable dial-a-combo style combat, light exploration, and enough collectibles to make a completionist weep. However, an extreme death penalty and repetitious dialogue with grating voiceovers sour the experience.

As our heroine, Remi, is cleaning her school library, she encounters a magical talking book named Lore who whisks her through a magical portal and into adventures.  Together, they must defeat fearsome mechanical foes and thwart the machinations of the android Choux in order to bring peace to the whimsical land of Ragnoah, and return Remi home in time to finish her homework! 

RemiLore’s narrative provides a great deal of detail about Ragnoah and its former inhabitants, weaving a rich tapestry… that ultimately fails to make any impact on the game itself.  I was enchanted while learning about the land, relationships and backstories, but there was far too much emphasis on telling the story of Ragnoah and its denizens rather than showing anything. 

Of course, there’s witty banter between Remi and Lore as they learn to trust one another, but character growth is extremely limited.  Remi is lazy, loves food, and hates schoolwork and exertion.  Lore is insecure, desperate to prove his magical abilities and wants the respect he feels he’s earned by being the most powerful magic user in Ragnoah. 

Apart from a late-game twist, that’s about as far as it goes and it’s a shame because I’d be interested in learning more about this world in an active way.  The ending leaves dangling plot elements (as sequel hooks?) including a mystery from the very beginning of the narrative, unsatisfyingly unresolved.  Fortunately, RemiLore‘s bouncy charm is enough to keep the experience from being completely underwhelming.

RemiLore plays like a standard isometric roguelike/shooter.  Players control Remi’s movements with the left stick while the face buttons activate attacks, a dash ability, and Lore’s magical abilities that vary depending on the weapon Remi is carrying.    

Stringing attacks together allows Remi to unleash massive combos upon her mechanical foes while a helpful on-screen prompt alerts the player how to keep the combos going by suggesting the next button presses.  It’s a cool system that doesn’t feel intrusive. In fact, after awhile it’s easy to forget the prompts are there, especially as combat becomes more frenzied when more dangerous enemies appear. 

Remi’s controls are responsive, feeling more like a fighting game at times with its emphasis on timing and evading attacks.  Enemies are varied, and combat gets suitably chaotic in later stages with the screen absolutely filled with mechanical combatants and projectiles.  It’s odd then, that Remi and Lore frequently choose the middle of combat to verbally spar with one another, making it almost impossible to follow the dialogue while also battling through levels. 

The good news is that if a bit of patter is missed, there’s a good chance it will be repeated again.  The bad news? There’s a good chance it will be repeated again. And AGAIN.  By the time the credits rolled, I knew I didn’t miss a single bit of banter because I’d seen all of it before, ad nauseum.

Since the banter was accompanied by screechy (Remi) and shouty (Lore) voice work, it became tiresome quickly, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that the penalty for falling in battle isn’t just returning to the beginning of the current level, but being forced to backtrack all the way to the beginning of one of the four main stages and having to go through all of it again. AND AGAIN. 

RemiLore’s difficulty is tied to its weapon drops.  As Remi collects snacks (used as currency) she purchases power-ups and more powerful versions of the spells Lore can cast in battle.  These spells are tied to the weapon Remi is carrying at the time, and some (like slowing enemies) are far more useful than others (such as recovering dash power more quickly) to the point where it sometimes felt impossible to make progress unless Remi happens to find a high-damage weapon that also has a potent spell.  I was stuck on the second boss for a week until I finally found the right weapon. 

The save system is also a bit of a drag, as it only allows the player one slot to suspend a current game.  When suspended, the game will be restarted at the beginning of the world rather than the current level, though the current weapon will be saved.  At least RemiLore keeps track of all the snacks and power-ups collected, otherwise the frustration level would be off the charts.

After completing RemiLore, I took a spin in the local co-op mode with my son, which was enjoyable as the pressure to succeed was no longer first and foremost in my mind.  We liked the random weapon mode which replaces a player’s current weapon every time an enemy is defeated, which led to some wacky battles.  For younger players, there’s also a mode that allows players to pick any combination of unlocked weapon and spell which significantly lowers the difficulty.

With hundreds of weapons to collect and different ways to play, RemiLore’s charm makes it enjoyable in short bursts.  That said, it definitely has major flaws and requires a great deal of patience — especially in the early going — to get the most out of the experience.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Pixellore, Inc, REMIMORY and published by Nicalis, Inc.  It is currently available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. 1 hour of play was spent in multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated Eand contains Alcohol Reference(s), Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, and Language. This is an action-adventure game in which players assume the role of a high-school student (Remi) trying to find her way home from a magical realm. Players explore fantasy environments and battle mechanical golems in occasional combat. Players use swords, hammers, axes, and whimsical weapons (food, sticks, boxing gloves) to defeat creatures that emit sparks and light effects when struck. One weapon (“Poop Hands”) is depicted with “poo coils” surrounded by flies. The dialogue contains brief references to alcohol (e.g., “After jumping in, they would drink strong alcohol. Drinking alcohol for their health…”). The word “a*s” appears in dialogue.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All audio cues are matched with a visual component.  All dialogue is in the form of written text.  Subtitles cannot be resized, nor are there color options for the fonts used. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.   This game does not offer a controller map diagram, but movement is on the left stick. Dashing is X.  Horizontal attacks are Circle.  Vertical attacks are Triangle. Jumping is X. Magical attacks are Square.  Options accesses the menu.

Jeff Ortloff

Jeff Ortloff has been around since the birth of the console era.He’s played everything from Pong to Marvel’s Spider-Man with a near-inhuman lack of skill.He’s been writing about games since about 2007, and is thrilled to be part of the GameCritics.com team.

He juggles this passion for gaming with his most important job, being a husband and dad.Fortunately, his boys are growing up as gamers (with decidedly more skill, much to his annoyance) and he has a very understanding spouse.

He hangs out on Twitter sometimes as @JPSJeffOrt, Facebook FAR less frequently, and while he misses performing all the interviews from his former online life, he’s much more relaxed now!

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