Title: Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
Developer: Team Ladybug
Release Date: March 27, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Why So Serious?, Playism
We’ve all seen Metroidvania’s before. Borrowing from Symphony of the Night is nothing new in the world of video games, but developers have still found new and interesting ways of approaching the genre. Team Ladybug’s Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth may have its roots tied into the anime series, but it also nails the art of using your influences in creative ways.
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth begins with Deedlit waking up in a strange place. Right away, the 2D world begs to be explored, but the developer teaches you a few lessons by blocking off the path to the right so that you go left to discover items needed to progress. The handholding is very light in this adventure, but each stage has its new gimmicks that receive a brief explanation.
Deedlit makes her way through this world and encounters recognizable characters who allude to the mystery that she is somewhere that she shouldn’t be. However, she never seems to ask any questions and just goes with the flow. If she does ask a question, she’ll usually drop her interrogation after receiving a nonsensical response.
The story isn’t the real meat of this adventure, but it shouldn’t be shrugged off. It’s there to provide a sense of progress through this nightmare and establish itself in the lore of the anime. This is fanservice through and through, and those who are fans of the source material will feel a little more connected to adventure and the conclusion.
On the other hand, passing up the narrative entirely won’t spoil your experience with the gameplay. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth wears its Symphony of the Night inspiration on its sleeve, from the determined walking animation to the corridor-filled maze-like areas plagued by enemies and random staircases. There as six stages in total, with each stage capped off by a boss. However, your free to explore any parts of the castle, as the stages just seem to act as bookmarks for the adventure.
The environment changes with the stages, which introduce new enemies and themes. Equipment in the game can be purchased or found, and each has its own speed and attack power. However, these blades mostly control the same, and the bows only vary as some can launch multiple arrows. Instead of differentiating the way weapons control, the developer requires players to approach enemies in unique ways. Some enemies will guard or quick dodge, while others require you to use your bow.
This approach to combat is further addressed in the magic system where players can switch between elements, fire and wind. You’ll find that some enemies and immune to a specific element, and you’ll need to switch to cause damage. Further, players will need to change elements to get through some portions of the environment. It’s a clever way to keep players on their toes and feels natural in execution.
However, this also introduced a more significant issue, Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth is sometimes too easy. As you defeat enemies, you can level up the magic level; once at Level 3, your health will begin to refill until you’re hit. However, it’s possible to just keep one element at Level 3 and switch to it whenever you need health. It’s an open door to cheese your way through bosses because as you absorb the elements around you, your MP refills, allowing you to spam homing magic from a distance.
The bosses themselves are each fun in their own right. There are a few dragons and even human foes, but I never felt tested. Sure, I died a couple of times, but I remember playing the Early Access version and absolutely getting crushed by these bosses. I rarely found myself even using the dodge action because I never really needed to think defensively; I was constantly just attacking and switch elements.
The game’s difficulty can be managed over time, but it comes down to the developers just being too friendly. I wanted to feel my palms sweat over a frustrating boss encounter as I memorize their attack patterns and when to strike. This rarely is the case, though with so many options to take advantage of.
While exploring, players will encounter puzzles that require the use of the bow. This usually leads to acquiring new items. I really liked this and felt that it took advantage of all the skills, unlike some of the encounters where I never really felt like I was reaching my peak.
However, the low-impact approach makes this adventure suitable for all fans of the source of material and accessible to any who want to try out this genre. The entire experience can be completed in about 6 hours, but I thought that was enough to tell the story. I can only hope that new updates will add more ways to enjoy this game in the future. I should lastly mention that the soundtrack is fantastic.
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth is an amazing Metroidvania. The environments, enemies, and clever use of magic and weapons go beyond influences as the developers truly make this adventure their own. The lack of weapon differentiation is mended by the use of elements and low-impact puzzles, but the short runtime and low difficulty may leave you wanting more.
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