March 5, 2021
Loop Hero is a roguelike deckbuilding game developed by Four Quarters Team and published by Devolver Digital. It tells the story of a world stuck in an endless loop, and one hero keen to restore the balance of time.
We previewed Loop Hero back in January and we liked what we saw. The premise hasn’t changed since our first preview: having been thrown into a timeless loop by the Lich, the Loop Hero world and its inhabitants have been plunged into never-ending chaos. Playing as a hero named Yota, it’s your job to piece together your fractured memories and restore the world’s disrupted balance. Luckily, the villagers are willing to help by providing you with a camp to return to before and after each run. Once there, you can use any resources you’ve collected during a run to upgrade buildings, which in turn allows you to craft better gear or food to boost your chances of survival during subsequent runs. But beware: the stronger you become, the more diverse the enemies will be, too.
While the game comes with some stunning pixel graphics, when I originally previewed Loop Hero what immediately hooked me was the game’s unconventional format. While Loop Hero is officially described as a deck-building roguelike adventure, the actual gameplay is quite different from conventional card games like Slay the Spire, Gwent, or Hearthstone. Where those other titles see players hold several cards in their hand that they can then choose to play during a turn, Loop Hero has a different format. Instead of turn-based gameplay, Loop Hero features a map with a single path in the shape of a loop, and two modes: adventure mode, where your hero walks along the map’s path and automatically takes on any enemies they encounter, and planning mode, where you can pause the game and use any cards you’ve collected to alter the map’s terrain. Each time your hero defeats an enemy, you’re given some cards and resources.
While you can use resources to help upgrade your camp once you finish a run, your cards can be used to upgrade terrain tiles around the map’s looped path. These upgrades can either give you certain perks during gameplay – like spawning chests for loot or recovering a certain amount of health each time you pass a tile – or they can be used to spawn certain enemies that will drop better loot once defeated. In practice, this means that all you have to do in adventure mode is sit back and watch how things unfold.
While on paper this kind of gameplay may sound boring or monotonous, I found it anything but. At first glance, Loop Hero’s MS-DOS-like graphics might seem so simple that they may be off-putting to some. However, once you get into it, adventure mode sees your hero moving across the map quite quickly, with battles taking no longer than a minute or so. Often, I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat as a particularly tricky battle unfolded, wondering whether my hero would make it or not. If my hero just made it out, I’d be ready with my hand hovering over the pause key to alter the terrain and replenish my character’s health as quickly as I could.
“…this indie gem is sure to take you by surprise.”
What I found most exciting about this was that it generated a kind of suspense that I wasn’t really used to from other card games in the genre. Similar games in the genre like Gwent or Banner of Ruin are completely different when it comes to pacing. The way the Loop Hero Developers have turned the traditional card game format on its head and created a thrilling experience was something I found incredibly refreshing and surprising. Its unusual format makes for a high replay value that makes it easy to while away the hours, run after run.
Combining the ability to sit back and watch a battle unfold with the thrill of selecting the right gear, Loop Hero will easily keep you on the edge of your seat for hours while surprising with new enemies in the process. And for a game with such unique card and gameplay mechanics, that’s a very good thing. If you’re keen on strategy with an original twist and don’t mind a bit of suspense, don’t let Loop Hero pass you by; this indie gem is sure to take you by surprise – in a good way.
- Lots of variety and high replay value
- Unique twist on traditional card game mechanics
- Simple to learn, hard to master
- Format takes some getting used to
- Visual style might not be for everyone
When it comes to card games, Loop Hero brings a unique and refreshing take to the table. While initially its format may take some getting used to and its graphics may appear simple, the game’s mechanics pack a surprising punch. With cards generating complex enemies, resources, and terrains, no two playthroughs in Loop Hero will be the same. Through this impressive degree of variety and replayability, Loop Hero offers a unique challenge for card game newbies and veterans alike.