LifeisXbox’s Loop Hero review | The world is ending. On my way across the countryside plains, I saw a strange figure floating in the sky. It looked bleak, with a blue coat and a staff. I saw it raise said staff aloft and will never forget what happened after that. The night sky leaked out onto the land from the real sky, even though it was the middle of the day. Before I knew it the world was engulfed in a void of nothingness. Before I knew it, the world wasn’t. Nothing ever was, or was there? One thing I am certain of. I have to find that thing in the sky, wherever it may be. But wherever am I? I remember there being fields around me, and a mountain in the distance. And magically, the fields and mountain flashed into existence. Not fully understanding what was going on, our hero started moving, remembering what was as he tried desperately to save his ended world.
Loop Hero was developed by Four Quarters and published by Devolver Digital.
Most Memorable Moment
One of my favourite moments was the loop where I killed the first boss. It started out as a normal supply run. I built a deck set up to net me as many rewards as possible. this for both landscape tiles and enemies to farm on the path. As I was speeding along, setting up for and building treasuries to empty out, I was having really poor luck on the cards, but doing decently well in terms of gear. So the first boss, the Lich, spawns right when I’m close. I check my gear and see that I’ve got a pretty decent build going while just over three quarters on health. I gamble and go in for the fight. Since these play out automatically, I can’t really do much more than watch it unfold. I ended that battle with hardly any extra damage due to a high evasion stat on my warrior. Can’t hurt what you can’t hit mister Lich.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Gameplay | Loop Hero is at its core a roguelike that combines elements of deckbuilding, city-building and resource management in a very hands-off way. Yet if you don’t pay attention or strategically go about the game will see you end your loop early. So let us put the gameplay loop of loop hero under the loop. You find yourself on a lonesome road in the void where your world used to be. As you travel it ever onwards, you will encounter slimes, which when defeated may make you remember gear, or what the landscape around you used to be like. These memories will quite handily manifest as weapons, armour and accessories, or as landscape cards that will affect the world around the road you tread. And thus other creatures will start appearing, providing you with better gear and cards, as well as resources you can take back to your camp. At that point, a number of options open up. You can keep running the loop until the boss, a lich at first, will manifest at camp, ready to stop you. You can return to camp right then and there, keeping all the resources you gathered, but forgetting the world around and consequently resetting the loop. Or you press on still and get taken out before you can fight the boss, which will leave you with a pittance of your collected resources. Once at camp, with varying degrees of resources or loot returned, you are encouraged to build it out into a settlement capable of housing survivors and aiding you on your quest to restore the world. So then you set out once more, on a fresh loop, on another attempt to either save the world or simply get enough stable metal to finish your smelter
- Graphics | It’s been a while since I last played anything that looked this retro. Loop Hero is made up entirely of pixel art graphics at varying levels of complexity and styles. This becomes quite apparent when you go through the various stages of gameplay. You will see detailed character portraits during dialogue, to extremely simplified sprites when portrayed on the loop overworld itself. And really, kind of all manner of steps in between. The tiles of landscape that show your loop world all have various forms, depending on whether they go straight, up or round a corner. They’re also recognisable at a glance most of the time, with it only becoming an issue once you reach the later rounds of an attempt, the map gets fuller and more moving parts at once. The menus also have this distinct old school feeling to them, allowing you to even choose what kind of cursor you want and what colour you want it in. Another nice touch is the option to apply a CRT TV filter, making it appear as though you’re playing on an old, pre-flatscreen TV. Overall, Loop Hero will have you immersed in the experience, pixel by pixel.
- Audio | Staying in tune with the retro style of the graphics is Loop Hero’s soundtrack. This assortment of chiptune soundtracks sucks you in with its serious and energetic tracks. We’re also spoiled for variety here. While some tracks, like the battle, camp or loop ones returned quite often, there is a good amount of variety in them. After looking it up, there are roughly 30 different tracks, each recognisable from one another. Loop Hero isn’t voiced, which might be for the better since I don’t know how they would pull that off while staying in their style. That really only leaves us with the sound effects, which also sound as delightfully retro as the rest. From the swing of your sword to erasing a tile with an oblivion card, they’re all so charming that they’ll stay fresh for hours to come.
- Building your camp | When the hero is not on the road, they’re at their cosy campfire. Luckily for them, they’re not alone. Others have found their way to your camp, and have made it their safe haven in the uncertain void of a world. As mentioned before, you can use resources gathered along the way to build out your camp with buildings that will prove beneficial on your loops. You start off simple with a little field kitchen, herbalists hut and smithy, each giving their own boons and unlocking additional cards. Two buildings even unlock new classes. These are the Refuge for the Rogue and the Crypt for the Necromancer. Besides them, the next building you’ll want is the Supply depot to open up the next level of resource gathering for your village. Once it stands you’ll be able to start crafting stuff for your villagers, which will allow them to perform their tasks better, or even upgrade their building altogether.
- The Loop | The bulk of the hero’s time will be spent right here, on the loop. Once here you’re tasked with building the loop and landscape around you for resources; boons and banes, tiles that will make enemies spawn affect various areas. Placing various cards in certain alignments also has a noticeable effect. You can make a 3×3 of rocks and mountains to transform them into a mountain peak. Or place a vampiric mansion next to a village to turn it into a ransacked village. Strategic placement of these is very important as this will decide whether you get the effects at the most optimal time. For example: If you’re playing the battlefield card, place it early on in your loop. It will spawn a treasure chest on an adjacent tile with loot scaled to the loop’s level. What kinds of loot you get, and how useful it is depends on what class of hero you chose. The Warrior is your default version of the hero. With a mix of offence, defence and health regeneration are the tankiest and most balanced class. The Rogue goes all-in on attacks, dodges and crits. The Necromancer on the other hand raises an army of the dead to fight alongside them.
- Accessibility | It’s a concern studios should have when making a game nowadays. Luckily for us, Four Quarters thought of some handy things to add to Loop Hero. Starting right at the font used, we get three options: “Pixel fonts” is highly stylised and in theme with the rest of the game’s art. “High res fonts” gives you a clear and easily readable modern font, this is what I played with. And lastly, we have “Dyslexia-friendly fonts” which are larger and more spaced out. The next things might not be about accessibility per sé, but are great quality of life features. Stuff such as changing the hero’s sprite to a colour of your choice, pausing the game when hovering over a unit or item, pausing at the end of a loop so you don’t overshoot or changing up the speed of the fights.
- Randomness | A feature that is all too connected with roguelikes nowadays is at least some element of random generation. This allows the game to have a lot more replayability than were the levels, enemies or loot drops fixed. This is an overall good thing for the genre. Lots of other games, however, require more active involvement from the player to be the deciding factor in how a run will turn out. And that is something I’m kind of missing from Loop hero. If you’re constantly dealt bad cards or gear that doesn’t improve, it can feel pretty annoying to sit through. Of course, you then just return to camp and try again, but runs like that can take the wind out of your sails.
What we Disliked
- The Hero does not remember disliking anything in particular.
How long to beat the story | 25 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 30 hours
Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.