Also on: PC
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Four Quarters
For me, Loop Hero is a perfect example of why you shouldn?t judge a game until you?ve played it. On paper, nearly everything about it seems like the sort of thing I?d usually hate. It?s a roguelike. It involves deck-building. The action is both very passive and very repetitive. You have to constantly juggle your inventory. It requires lots of strategic thinking. For the most part it looks like something you could?ve played on the Atari 2600.
Just one of things is often enough to turn me off a game, sometimes before I?ve even played it. You?d think all of them together would be a disaster. Yet the more I played it, the more I loved it, to the point I can state, with absolute certainty, it?s one of my favourite games of the year.
A big part of why I was able to embrace all those elements that I usually don?t care for was because Loop Hero makes everything so simple. While it could easily have bogged itself down in complicated mechanics, instead it focused on making everything as streamlined as possible.
Not coincidentally, that?s kind of the point of the whole game. Yes, there?s a story about an evil wizard who locked the world in an infinite loop, but that?s almost secondary to what the game is really about: creating a gameplay loop that?s as basic as it gets, but also highly addictive. In Loop Hero, you watch as a hero ? rendered in graphics that hover somewhere between Atari 2600 and NES, depending on the situation ? walks around and around in a procedurally-generated loop, battling every monster (s)he comes across. You have no control over what happens in those battles, and all you can do is watch as they unfold ? and maybe retreat from the loop entirely if things get especially dire.
What you do control, however, is the world around your hero. Monsters drop cards, which can be used to either change the landscape of the board or to change your weapons and armour. Where the strategy comes in is that not all cards are beneficial ? you often have to figure out exactly where you want to put that vampire?s castle, or figure out how to space out graveyards, or decide whether you want the ring that regenerates your health or the one that damages your enemies. There?s constant trade-offs to be made, and I regularly found myself debating over which way I wanted to go. This could have all been very complicated ? but again, because Loop Hero doesn?t try and overwhelm you with info, it all works incredibly smoothly.
The other great thing about Loop Hero is that it?s got an enjoyable sense of humour. It?s not exactly the funniest game you?ll ever play, but as your hero interacts with the world around her/him, you?ll constantly find that there?s a lot of care that went into making conversations as enjoyable as possible.
Of course, everything about Loop Hero is focused on making it as enjoyable as possible, because it?s just a really enjoyable game. As i learned, whether you?re usually into these kinds of games or not, it doesn?t matter: Loop Hero is fun, and it?s sure to get you hooked.
Devolver Digital provided us with a Loop Hero code for review purposes.