It’s not often that we get a new game based on a somewhat obscure 1990 anime and novel series, but here we are with exactly that in 2021.
For those unfamiliar with Record of Lodoss War, it’s a fantasy novel series that ran during the late 80s and early 90s that went on to spawn a bunch of anime, manga, and game spin-offs. The most notable of these is the 1990 anime OVA series of the same name (which is where I first learned about it). This game takes place after all of that and is a prequel to a new novel series written by the original author – set a full 100 years after the original series.
Despite that though, the game is designed to be welcoming to newcomers – and I myself fall into that category. However, if you’re going to be playing it for the story – there isn’t really much there in the first place. This is a much more gameplay-focused title and the story is mostly just random bits of dialogue before and after boss fights, just enough to provide the foundation to hold it all together. It’s not exactly bad, but it’s just kinda basic.
The gameplay is where it’s really at and I was surprised at how much fun I had with it. Here you have a metroidvania with nice combat, cool abilities and upgrades, a bunch of different enemies and bosses, and a decent sense of exploration too. It’s divided into six stages, but takes place on one map that opens up as you gain access to new abilities – double jumping, swimming, etc.
It is not the biggest map, but exploring it does yield some nice bonuses, including health, damage, and mana upgrades. As this is a metroidvania, there is some backtracking, but the game does not go overboard with it and there are teleporters that can get your around the map. The overall gameplay avoids that feeling of repetition because you’re always entering some new area and encountering new enemies. Although it may only take 3-6 hours to beat, the experience is very well-paced and I never felt bored with it.
Combat has a bit of a unique spin to it as well. It’s divided into two “elements” that you can swap between at any time. Depending on the enemy type, one element may do more damage and it can also have an effect on movement. For example, you can only pass through certain forcefields while having one element equipped – something the boss fights really like to utilize.
The two elements also have their own distinct level that grows as you defeat enemies with it and shrinks when you get hit. Having one at level 3 allows you to heal over time while using the other, so the game encourages you to swap between the two to maintain a decent HP pool. It is a very cool system and makes the combat more than just another metroidvania hack and slash.
That’s not to say that the core combat is bad though – it’s actually pretty nice. There’s ample combat feedback and you can aim your melee weapons in any direction. There are even different weapon types that vary on damage, speed, and size. Experimentation is encouraged and you will find a variety of these different weapon types as you explore.
The graphics are also good. It’s composed of some really detailed pixel art – the perfect fit for this type of gameplay and very reminiscent of Castlevania. The music is fine too, but I honestly can’t say I remember any of it now that I’ve cleared the game – so not something that left an impact on me. Performance-wise, the game is solid. I had no technical issues of any kind and my only complaint there is that the game is locked to 60 fps. Otherwise, it controls well and runs flawlessly.
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth is a short, yet fun metroidvania that emphasizes what makes the genre great. Polished combat, some nice exploration, a bunch of different enemy types and boss fights – it’s an easy recommendation for fans of that genre. I wouldn’t say it’s too strong on the story front, but I did enjoy my time with it.
Quote: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth is a short, yet fun metroidvania that emphasizes what makes the genre great. Polished combat, some nice exploration – it’s an easy recommendation for genre fans.
You can buy Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth on Steam here. It retails for $20 USD.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.