Loop Hero is a mix of RPG, roguelike, and deckbuilding that Devolver Digital announced during The Game Awards 2020 preshow. There have been a couple of “roguelike deck builders” lately, especially on PC, where the genre has made the rounds more often. However, this game from developer Four Quarters shows promise to be quality work in the trend of combining cards with the exploration of a randomized world.
In Loop Hero, there once was a world thriving with life. However, a Lich brought the void to this place, and now it is pure darkness. Everything that once existed is forgotten as if it had never been there in a cycle of exploration and destruction. Finding out a way to avert this crisis is your main goal in this adventure. As the hero, you begin by exploring the area around you, where you’ll find a small road that loops. By walking through it, you’ll encounter enemies, and by defeating them, you’ll acquire two forms of loot, equipment, and cards.
The equipment includes weapons, shields, armor pieces, and other items to bring substantial benefits to the player. Besides raising attack, defense, and HP, they can also add effects, such as adding rates of vampirism (an effect to drain HP from the enemy) or making the attacks faster. This often makes a choice not so simple, as the player won’t be able to control the fight directly.
On the other hand, cards offer a clear danger element to them. Sure, they act as the way for the player to restore the world by bringing back mountains and villages, but they can also contain spider nests, vampire mansions, or other perils.
Placing those cards on the map will bring a definite change. Some cards may seem inoffensive at first, like the mountains and rocks, but having many of them or specific formations will attract monsters. Eventually, the screen will be filled with places and enemies. That is if the player doesn’t die first.
Another important aspect of the cards is that they can reward the player with resources, like wood or rocks. When the player dies or chooses to return to the base, it’s possible to use them to create buildings like farms, a gym, a smith, or a kitchen. Dying reduces the gain, so it’s best to return to base at the very first tile, represented by a campfire, to not lose any resources.
As the player upgrades their base with those facilities, new features will be added. For instance, getting the herbalist’s hut will add potions to the player inventory, while the gymnasium allows the player to learn unique traits during the expeditions. It also adds new cards that the player will be able to use to reshape the world. These can be picked before going to an expedition, as the player defines the deck. So, for instance, if fighting spiders isn’t something you want, you can take their nest out and include another card in its place, like the area that saps enemies’ lives to bring forth something terrible afterward.
I’m curious to see how these features will advance and how the story will play out with all that said. I have a lingering impression that it’s not so simple to trust what’s being shown as is. And with Loop Hero’s concept of looping through an area and building it as you see fit, I’m definitely ready for playing it for “just a couple more hours.”
Loop Hero is coming to PC-via Steam in 2021.
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