I always admired metroidvania games, yet never played one that hooked me. I also must admit I never found myself trying out many titles in this genre. Dabbling in the likes of Super Metroid as a child and Hollow Knight more recently, I played them for an hour or two and then shelved them for something else. Then came along Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth, a 2D metroidvania from Team Ladybug. The trailer caught my eye and, with it being on Xbox Game Pass, I decided I’d give this indie title a little spin. A decision I’m glad I made. Though short in length, I felt compelled to continue testing my skills with its combat and trying to piece together a nice, but hard to follow story.
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth Video Review
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth is based on the Record of Lodoss War fantasy novels written and popularized from 1988 to 1993. You take the role of high elf Deedlit who finds herself in a strange labyrinth with no memory of how she got there. As she journeys through the maze, she comes across allies and foes giving brief insights as to why she’s there.
Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth uses the typical metroidvania-style fans of the genre will be familiar with. Players will traverse the map solving light puzzles, searching for items, and uncovering upgrades. Deedlit can attack in different directions using the analog stick with the attack button. The game uses two elements of attack, fire and wind. The player must switch between the two to avoid and absorb damage as they progress.
As players destroy enemies, they gain orbs that increase their proficiency with one of the elements depending on which one is active at the time. When it reaches level three, the player heals automatically. Because of this, it is mandatory to manage these stacks to avoid dying and starting again from a previous checkpoint. Deedlit also has access to a number of spells with varying uses. For example, Will O The Wisp channels eight orbs that tracks an enemy like homing missiles and dealing damage. These spells use AP that can be regenerated from absorbing damage.
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth Trailer
The combat kept me engaged throughout my play. I enjoyed trying to overcome the map hazards while dancing my way through each engagement. Some enemies are weak to fire and absorb wind, while others do the opposite. Sometimes it forced me to switch quickly as two enemies with opposite weaknesses attacked from different directions. The true combat test came in the form of the boss battles. The difficulties of them ranged and not necessarily in the order of when you meet each boss. For instance, I found Shooting Star, the fourth boss, much easier than Djinn and Efreet, the third boss. However, they still proved to be formidable foes and tested how well you learned the combat.
The game centers around Deedlit chasing after Parn, who you assume she’s in love with. Every time she comes across him, he runs away. This leads her to cross paths with various people Deedlit knows, yet the player doesn’t. At least you don’t unless you’ve read the Record of Lodoss novels which, to my searching, very few were translated to English. I understand the foundation of the game is the combat, but the game teases a nice story to go with it. You may still understand what is presented, as I did, but details fall by the wayside without more time to tell it.
Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth looks and sounds great in its pixel art and sound design. I sometimes stopped to admire the scenery and how Deedlit stood out in this maze. The music fit every scene well and never left me feeling bored or tired of the various tracks. The boss tracks upped the notch in their rhythm helping increase the sense of urgency. While no tracks stood out in my mind after I finished my play, Team Ladybug did well enough to make me not resent any tracks either.
My biggest gripe on the game stems from its length. I finished the game in roughly five hours or so and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. That being said, I felt the game could have done more if it had an additional hour or two. The game introduces you to new mechanics nearly up until the end. This made me feel like I still needed to get through the tutorial with each passing explanation screen. It’s like you go to a restaurant and finally get through the appetizers, ready for the main course, only for the waiter to bring you the bill and usher you out the door. A little more time in the game may have helped me better understand and care about the story being told.
Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth shines where it matters most, enjoyment factor. Traversing the maze looking to uncover the secrets of the world and solve the small puzzles felt fun the entire way through. The boss battles proved to be a challenge with the later bosses being my favorites. While the game’s short length holds back the story, it’s coherent enough to still enjoy what’s there. Team Ladybug succeeded in this metroidvania title and is worth grabbing at its cheap selling price or a playthrough on Xbox Game Pass.
Press Start gives Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth a 7 out of 10.
The game is currently available for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC via Steam and on January 28 for Nintendo Switch.