The anime adaptation of Record of Lodoss War turns 30 this June. To celebrate this occasion, Team Ladybug (of Touhou Luna Nights fame) were given the reigns to create a new video game based on the franchise.
Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- entered Steam Early Access a few weeks ago, and the game is set to get a full release later this year.
The current build includes roughly an hour of content, covering the first major area, and two boss fights. The final game promises to be around six hours in length. Here are my initial impressions after completing the Early Access build.
Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- is an old school experience that harkens back to the earlier entries in the Castlevania series. Its all a rather fitting premise, considering that the game is meant to celebrate the legacy of an anime from roughly the same era that inspired many classic fantasy and gaming tropes.
The game starts with Deedlit awakening in a mysterious labyrinth, with no recollection of how she got there. On her journey through the labyrinth, Deedlit will encounter many characters fans will be familiar with, both as friends and foes.
You begin the game with nothing more than Deedlit’s trusty rapier, but will quickly begin finding new weapons to use. The game’s weapons have two basic stats, Speed and Power, that act as a balancing mechanic.
Smaller, faster weapons tend to deal less damage, while larger and slower weapons are usually more powerful. There is also weapon reach to take into consideration, as obviously a spear or trident can hit an enemy from further away than a sword.
Combat is about what you’d expect from an old school 2D Castlevania-style game, and mostly involves smacking enemies before they can smack you. Deedlit also has a dodge that sends her flying backwards a few feet, during which time she is momentarily invulnerable.
There are other weapons in your arsenal besides swords, daggers, spears, and clubs. Deedlit can also carry a bow. The game’s ammunition system is based around an AP gauge. Each shot costs a little AP, and you will gradually regenerate it over time.
You can quickly fire an arrow by tapping, or hold for an aimed shot. These aimed shots mostly play into puzzles where you must ricochet arrows off of metal plates to open a door.
There are also special skills that utilize the AP gauge. Will ‘o the Wisps is one such ability, and sends a wave of spirits in all directions that damage enemies they come in contact with. The special skill slot also allows you to carry various consumables, like health potions.
Rounding out Deedlit’s range of abilities are two spirit companions. One is a wind spirit, while the other is fire. You can have one spirit active at a time, and they both have various special abilities.
The wind spirit allows you to hover, and gives you some limited flight abilities. The fire spirit allows you to destroy certain objects blocking your path.
Both spirits also play into an elemental system. While you have the fire spirit equipped, you become invulnerable to fire-based attacks, and vice versa.
These abilities are often used in dungeon navigation, and both boss fights so far involved swapping between your spirits on the fly to avoid powerful attack patterns.
These spirits also convey power to your attacks. Some enemies are weaker against one of the two elements, while others are completely immune. Either way, you’ll be swapping between both spirits regularly on your adventure.
There is a basic leveling system for Deedlit, and her spirits. When Deedlit levels up, she’ll gain a bit more max health and attack power. The spirits level up much differently though.
Your spirits cap at level 3, at which point they will passively regenerate Deedlit’s health. However, if you are hit by an attack, then the spirit you currently have equipped will level down. You can regain your spirit levels with items, or simply by landing hits without getting damaged in return.
As with most games in the genre, Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- has plenty of exploration and backtracking as you unlock new abilities.
As I mentioned earlier, the bow is a central part of several puzzles that unlock new areas, and just before the Early Access build ended, I unlocked a ground slide that lets you squeeze through smaller corridors.
I’ve already seen numerous locked doors that will no doubt be unlocked later as you gain more abilities. There are also dedicated save point rooms that recover your health and AP, as well as portals that allow you to travel back to previously explored areas.
While Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- is pretty short in its current form, it is shaping up to be a solid retro-inspired throwback. It nails the look and feel of an action-platformer from the ’90s, and so far has everything you’d want from a game in this genre. Hopefully the final version can expand upon what is already in the current build in interesting ways.
If you want to give it a go now, you can find Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- on Windows PC via Steam Early Access for $12.99. The full version is aiming to release in around four months, and will get a price bump when it leaves Early Access.
Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth- was previewed on Windows PC using a preview code provided by Playism. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.