You know, I’ve always heard that gaming was more or less the same gratification loop, being executed continuously until the credits roll. The upcoming game Loop Hero actually takes that concept to the most literal extreme possible, by forcing players to literally walk in a circle, forever. It’s equal parts deck builder, strategy, and roguelike, all blended up into a delicious slurry of gaming goodness. Yet, despite coming out of nowhere, this surprising romp is very much worth keeping your eyes on going into 2021.
What if I told you that in Loop Hero you actually have no control over combat? In almost every scenario that would be considered a bad thing. Oddly enough, in the case of this peculiar, yet extremely addicting game, it totally works. Players slowly make their way around a mystical track, gathering resources and kicking ass along the way. Once a battle begins, all aspects of the conflict happen automatically and are actually dictated by the stats of the protagonist’s gear.
Over the course of the main character’s quest to dig a rut into the same path that’s a mile deep, there are pieces of gear and tiles that can be used to fundamentally enhance stats and abilities. Tiles are used to modify a singular piece of a stage’s geometry to contain the object shown on said tile. These tiles can also be combined together to create bigger structures, with larger benefits. For example, if you put a rock tile next to a mountain tile, you will actually regenerate two points of health every day. Gather nine rock and mountain tiles together and you will build a small mountain range, which in and of itself is another huge stat boost.
I’m still experimenting with pairing up tiles to find the proper layout and structure because each time around the loop adds additional layers of complexity. It’s more subtle at first, but as systems begin to layer on top of each other, it suddenly becomes obvious that this is a very deep game, wrapped in a simplistic presentation layer. Don’t let the sprite work deceive you. This will be the type of game to rob countless hours from your life.
Ultimately, once Loop Hero’s main character has gathered enough resources, he returns to camp. These items are then used to build out the refugee settlement that he’s desperately trying to both grow and protect. After resting up, it will once again be time to hit the road, trekking a fresh new path all over again.
Just know that regardless of how overpowered you think you’ve become, it will still likely not be enough to clear the first boss. I went in after spending quite a bit of time grinding the loop, only to get smoked within a matter of moments. I can’t help but think there was a way to better utilize tile combinations that would’ve given me an additional stat bump. But the only way to find out is to continue to experiment until I find that aggressive sweet spot.
The biggest compliment that I can pay Loop Hero is that although I no longer have to play it, I can’t wait to finish writing this so that I can continue to do so. The final release date is still up in the air at this point, but rest assured that as soon as we learn what “early 2021” actually means, you’ll be the first to know!