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.