Developer: Four Quarters
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: Switch, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 09/12/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
One thing I have noticed is that Devolver Digital has the knack of finding games that should not be as good as they are. Well, folks, they have done it again with Loop Hero. A simple looking but deceptively deep make your own RPG roughlite adventure.
The story of Loop Hero sees your character entering a world that has been plunged in to darkness and a never-ending loop of Chaos. However, you have a deck of magical cards that will keep expanding. It is up to you to place the enemies, building and surrounding area and make your own adventure.
On the surface, the story is simple and hooks you just enough to want to play. However, it is when you start to get citizens to your small camp, does the story opens up and more blanks get filled in.
It Is On A Loop
When you start a new run, you get a procedurally generated loop of square tiles, of varying lengths. And the rest of the screen is void of anything. Then you get your 1 bit hero on the loop at a camp. Along with a few cards. This is the start of your adventure.
There are two stages, the planning stage and the adventure stage.
In the planning stage, you can place the cards in your hand on the empty spaces on the screen. Cards range from enemy spawns, loot spawns, healing and heath boosts, and a wide range of other items. This stage is by far the most important, as it is up to you to find the right balance of enemy cards and points that will help you on the adventure stage.
The adventure stage is the simple part. You start your wee adventurer off to patrol the loop and interact with the items, enemies you have left for them. If you run in to an enemy than you will enter an automated turn based battle. If you win, the character will get EXP and eventually level up, strengthening them, but more importantly loot and money to expand the camp or equipment to last longer on the loop.
The cards are the literal building blocks of Loop Hero. With these cards, you can manage how the adventure goes. Cards are gathered by expanding your camp. Unlocking new areas in the camp will give our Hero new cards to play with.
An Addictive Gameplay Loop
Glancing at Loop Hero, I would not blame you for thinking that there will be not much fun to have. But you would be utterly wrong. The way the cards work and the preparation needed to complete more and more runs is where the fun is at. I treated Loop Hero as a puzzle where I needed to make the loop not too hard, but rewarding enough to carry on. As for each loop completed (returning to the starting camp) the enemies will grow stronger, and random spawn points will pop up after a set number of loops.
In this respect, Loop Hero also has a risk rewards system in play. The current loop can be ended at anytime, however, doing so will cause you to losing most of the inventory and gold collected. If defeated in battle, you will come away with almost nothing. So leaving the loop while at camp is paramount to improve the camp. This is the balance I mentioned, is the current loop do able and will I make it back to camp. If the answer is anything but yes, then just leave.
The camp offers several advantages for the upcoming runs. For starters, it is the hub where the story is expanded. It also acts like the hubs in rouge-like’s granting bonuses and items to craft and buy. For example, if you unlock the Blacksmith at level one, you will start the loop with a basic weapon, shield, weapon and ring. Giving you a fantastic edge needed to start with. As we upgrade the Blacksmith better look will be available at the start of a loop.
Making gathering resources and money a must, in order to progress smoother than the last loop.
Overall, Loop Hero will surprise a lot of players with the level of depth it offers, while being very simple to play and understand. Each time I played Loop Hero, hours would disappear in a flash. The gameplay loop is addictive and a ton of fun. And every death is your fault.
I have to recommend Loop Hero, it a great game.