Loop Hero is a new game that is quite tricky to fit into one genre. It has elements of roguelike, deck building, RPG and auto battling that comes together in a very satisfying way. On the first inspection, it may not look like much, but this indie game from Four Quarters and Devolver Digital does a great job of getting its hooks into you.
Loop hero does what it says on the tin… you are a hero who travels in a constant loop, battling and building up your stats as you go. Rather than the traditional method of controlling the hero in the game, you look down on the loop from above and place tiles and select weapons and items for the hero which helps generate materials and other benefits.
There’s a couple of modes to the gameplay. There is the paused state or planning mode and then there’s the play state or adventure mode. In planning mode, the whole screen is paused and you can take your time to place tiles on the board and manage the hero’s inventory, preparing for battle. In adventure mode, the hero automatically walks around the loop continuously until you either fight a boss or die.
When you first start out the loop and the board is very simple. As you battle enemies in the early game, they drop tiles and inventory items, which you can use to build up your board. Tiles are a wide variety of things like Rock, Mountains, Vampire Houses, Meadows and Villages. Tiles have different effects on the board from restorative powers, dishing out more enemies and also levelling up your stats.
There are also bonuses if you put certain tiles next to one another. For example, if you create a grid of 9 rocks and mountains, you create a peak that gives you a big health boost. One of the issues with this though is there’s no real instruction or sense to it, you just have to try out combinations and see what works. While this promotes discovery and testing, it’s not really obvious or prompted in the tutorial.
Loop Hero has elements of other genres and one of those is an idle game. Our hero continues to walk around the map and battle unaided, we are merely observers in the battle. The player does get to manage the loadout of the hero, making sure they are ready for the action. Blood-sucking Vampires, Goblins, blobs of goo are all in your way trying to kill you.
It’s a different type of game for sure. Much like an old school RPG from the 80s or 90s, this one is a sit-back-and-relax kind of game, with a load of modern twists. It’ll scratch the strategy itch for sure, and it’ll most likely take a few loops before the game starts to click. There’s an element of ‘test and see what happens due to the lack of explanation of the tiles. For me, the hook crept up on me but once I got through my first few games Loop Hero had me thinking about it even when I wasn’t playing, which I know is always a good sign about a game.
There are different classes in the game too. There’s the standard Warrior who you start the game with and you have to unlock more as you progress. The Rogue has a nice dual-wielding ability and there’s a Necromancer too. It’s one of the more relaxing roguelikes out there. Something like Dead Cells, Hades or the umpteen other roguelikes out there can be tough and the permadeath feature keeps you on your toes throughout a run. Loop Hero is slightly different in that the tension ramps up much slower. I recommended the game to a few friends and they were baffled by the lack of ‘action’ in the game, so it’s something to be aware of. Terrain creating and deck building are the main features of the game and the main action you observe – rather than taking part.
Loop Hero is a pick n mix of game genres all mixed together to create a simple, but very effective package that’ll hook your attention and squeeze it with its goblin-like grip. It’s also had a very successful start with 500,000 copies sold so far, plus grabbing the attention of some big name in the video game press. The developer, Four Quarters have responded to the popularity by saying
“Thank you all for your support and excitement for Loop Hero from all of us at Four Quarters!” the developer said.
“Right now we’re working on patches with quality-of-life updates you all asked for, including a system for saving during expeditions, new speed settings, and a deck of traits gained from bosses! After that, you can expect to see lots more content added to the game, such as new cards, classes and transformations. We can’t wait to share more updates with you all soon!”
We’ve already had a breakout indie hit this year with Valheim, and it looks like Loop Hero could be on it’s way to be another. It’s a very different proposition to Valheim, however, it’s great to see indies getting the spotlight and continuing the momentum from 2020 which saw massive indie games like Fall Guys and Among Us do very well.
Loop Hero will make you wonder where the time has gone and even though your hero is trudging around their loop over and over, there’s something about this game that’s both satisfying and addicting. Chceck it out on PC now.
Developer: Four Quarters
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PC via Steam, Epic Games, GOG, Humble Bundle
Release date: 4th March 2021