Loop Hero is a roguelike RPG game developed by Four Quarters, who have published Please, Don’t Touch Anything previously on Steam. Takin on the form of yet another amnesiac protagonist, Loop Hero leans heavily on that singular aspect of memory, with the whole world being decided based on if/when your character remembers them. With the world set to nothing, you will traverse a randomly generated map loop, with little control over your character, but controlling how the map changes to aid your character.
The game starts with a small backstory, telling of how the world was turned to nothingness and our hero surviving the destruction, seeing a lich sorcerer doing the deed. Awakening to a world of nothingness, everything slowly comes back as our hero explores the looped path. With each enemy defeated he obtains a card, containing terrains and creatures. These cards help to restore the world’s parts.
When you finish a loop you will return to a base campsite, containing a few more survivors, though these expand as you explore and remember more of the world. Grinding out the maps, materials, and cards, we increase the population and our own power in the form of buildings to add new cards to our deck of possible draws from felling monsters. Progressing further and further you find more sinister powers behind the world being forgotten, and so the grind loop continues to become ever more powerful.
With a design centred around completing a small looped map, gathering up resources to then build up your base, rest, and do it again, the length of Loop Hero really comes down to how prepared you’re wanting to be for the boss of each chapter. You can only hold a max of 10 of each resource, which increases for each chapter or via upgrades, so you cannot spend an unlimited time on the map as eventually, you will hit your capacity.
With some luck and good planning, you can complete the main story in around 30 hours or so, completing the town as well as getting 100% in the game will take closer to 60 hours. Due to the grinding nature of Loop Hero it can feel much longer, as you’re doing the same thing over and over, especially since the combat is very hands-off with you mostly controlling the world as your hero explores it.
Loop Hero combines the repeated mechanics of a roguelike game, where you either complete a level to redo it again or die and reset to the beginning with better starting equipment and that of a card-based adventure. At the start there are no levels, though that mechanic is unlocked shortly after the beginning tutorials are done with. Beating enemies gives you cards, from the deck you can set up before entering a map, allowing you to place tiles onto the world. As you progress you unlock more cards to place.
As stated before, the game focuses a lot on its “loop”, having you complete a looped map, go back to the base, set up your card deck and bases, and go to another map. Looping over and over will lead to you being able to take the chapter’s boss. As this is the main mechanic of the game it can be a real hit or miss for gamers, as grinding can be amazingly therapeutic or the most mind-numbing part of games.
The rate of acquiring materials can feel too slow at times, with a single facility requiring you to obtain 6 of the same type, which in turn needs 10 smaller parts to make, resulting in 60 item drops for 1 part of a building where they need between 2 and 4 different materials. With an emphasis on multiple materials, instead of a singular resource like money, the grind is lengthened even more due to RNG. Unless you fall into the category of “one more loop” you may feel like the game progresses too slowly for your liking.
The music of Loop Hero is suiting, with plenty of retro vibes reminiscent of old NES soundtracks. There wasn’t a single track that felt off or had a short loop like some other games that try to recreate the old-school music style. Just like the name of the game, the music loops wonderfully with some songs feeling like several when they change styles throughout a track.
As a rogue-like game, Loop Hero has an innately high difficulty due to your power growing with each reset. You cannot control battles, so you are at the whim of RNG or how well you prepared beforehand. It’s not a certainty that you will die but the game won’t be a cakewalk. Alongside the randomness of the cards you may pull from defeating enemies and the equipment they drop, one run may be extremely blessed with good luck while another has you sitting on 10 suits of armour and no weapons before a good roll is found.
Overall, Loop Hero gets an 8/10. The story is pretty short and to the point, setting you up to play it even quicker, though steps back by making the game longer due to grinding. The atmosphere, music, and graphical design are all top-notch and meld well together. As the grind is the main focus of the game, you’ll find if you enjoy it rather early on into the game, meaning that many may refund it when they’ve had their fill. The progression systems are rather short, with just adding and upgrading buildings, I wish there were more ways to improve your character, gear, and cards. Sitting at £12 you can’t go too wrong with this purchase, though gamers who hate grinding should steer clear.
Developer: Four Quarters
Publisher: Devolver Digital
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