Genre: 2D Action Game With Bits Of Metroidvania
I’m a sucker for 2D pixel art games, especially when they move gorgeously and come equipped with frenetic gameplay. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth from Team Ladybug and Why So Serious? is another great example of a “retro” Metroidvania style experience that delights from start to finish, even if its runtime is a tad short.
You play fantasy elf warrior Deedlit from the Record of Lodoss War anime, who wakes up in a field of ruins. It’s up to you to find out what’s going on, especially since your companions are running around the place. You explore the level in Castlevania; Symphony of the Night/Bloodstained style, fighting fantasy creatures, opening doors and teleporters, and collecting powerups to make you navigate and go through previous obstacles that barred your path.
In addition to your melee attack -from daggers to giant-ass hammers & greatswords- you also can use a bow for long-ranged attacks and triggering gears to solve different puzzles involving reflective angles and lifts. As the anime’s resident spellcaster, Deedlit has access to both a fire and a wind spirit. She can switch between the two elements, giving her the same powers and weaknesses as said element. If there’s a fireball coming your way, you can absorb its mana if you are using fire. Conversely, switching to wind elemental means all blue projectiles and spells will not harm Deedlit.
And therein lies the game’s main hook: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth takes elements from one of the best bullet hell shooters in the world –Ikaruga– and implements it as a gameplay mechanic to great effect. They’ll be a ton of obstacles & pathways where you need to switch to either fire or wind to get past, sometimes even consecutively in rapid fashion. Enemies that are invincible to one element will be susceptible to the other, meaning you need to switch if you actually want to deal with them permanently.
You’ll also be fighting many challenging bosses, some of them from the anime series like the dragon Shooting Star, which requires you to switch between elements efficiently while dishing damage to their faces & vulnerable bits. They’ll be throwing bullet hell of the red-or-blue variety and also throw in a surprise attack or two to keep you on your toes.
There’s also a dice system that gives you hints as to whether your current element will deal more or less damage. I wasn’t really paying attention to this because the action can get hectic to the point where you just rely on spotting patterns and use 2D platforming reflexes to avoid damaging attacks and pitfalls. Still, the entire game from start to finish is really fun and can get challenging at times; don’t expect to go through most fights and enclosed pathways with fireball barriers unscathed.
A major part of this is the game’s controls: they’re perfect for a 2D game and are responsive. Deedlit moves gracefully, as well as has special moves and spells in her repertoire that you need to familiarize yourself with if you want to make it far. Choice attacks include her will o’ the wisp homing projectiles, her backdash, her Princess Peach-esque float when using Wind elemental, and summoning a bunch of floating rocks as temporary barriers.
Speaking of graceful, check out the butter-smooth moves & animation on display! To say that Deelit in Wonder Labyrinth sounds and looks great is an understatement. Every single frame in the game is a 2D pixelated work of art that’s animated to great detail. You can see the labour of love Team Ladybug put in making both the main character, the environments, and the enemies as detailed and as lavish as possible in “old-school” form.
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit In Wonder Labyrinth is a mouthful to say, and it may take you just one day to finish if you’re a pretty seasoned gamer, but it’s a breathtaking work of art and a heckuva challenge. It’s really hard to find anything else to hate from this fantasy gem, save for the story baggage that’ll make you feel more for Deedlit’s plight.
You know you have a masterclass of a game if you’re craving more out of what’s already laid out. More fights, more stages, and just more out of this title’s luscious design & aesthetics. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth is definitely a keeper!
- Sublime action and exploration elements.
- Spot-on controls.
- Great elemental-switching and absorption mechanic.
- Fun boss fights.
- Pretty short game.