The most striking thing about Loot Rascals is the unique art style.
The art sits apart from a lot of modern games, seeming to take inspiration from 90’s Nickelodeon cartoons; with a hint of Salad Fingers. It’s filled with extreme brightness, contrasting colours, hard outlines and odd proportions.
It’s a bit cutesy and a bit weird, but it’s refreshing, and it works. The art is showcased in the intro video, in which it’s revealed you’re a repair man sent through space to fix a broken terraforming machine. Unfortunately, while on your way, an unexpected monster infested moon appears and you crash land on it. New mission; escape.
What is Loot Rascals
Loot Rascals’ game play is pretty simple and takes place in a turn based fashion. The map is a hex grid and every time you move from one hex to another, a turn is used up and the time of day is advanced. If you hop onto a hex with a monster on it, it’s time to fight.
The time of day that you pick a fight is important because the combat is automated. Some monsters will get the drop on you during the day and others during the night.
Part of the strategy is making sure you get the first hit in a fight. You’ll need to manage the time of day when you share a hex space with a vicious moon monster. Walking in circles to advance the time of day is a poor strategy though. You need to always be looking for the level exit, as after a certain number of turns a large army of corpse beings arrive to destroy you.
Space Magic: The Gathering
Another part is managing your equipment cards. These are dropped as loot from monsters and really make the difference between winning and losing. I found myself spending as much time in the inventory screen as on the map, arranging and rearranging my cards.
There are two basic types that boost either your attack or defense stats. You can equip eight cards at once and hold six in reserve. Most will give bonuses if arranged a certain way. For example, you might have an attack card give an extra bonus if it’s in the 3rd column of your inventory, but another that negates the points of the card to its left.
It’s like an endless sliding puzzle with the goal to get the best possible attack and defense stats. Be careful though, if you die, you lose everything. There are ways to send some cards to your future re-spawned self, but they are pretty rare to come across.
There are five levels to get through and you will die a lot. This is due to the fact that luck plays a huge part in Loot Rascals. Levels are randomly generated on each play through or life and so are the cards that are dropped.
If you don’t find any powerful cards near the beginning, you will have a very tough time. Be prepared to die over and over again. This is where Loot Rascals can get very frustrating and tedious. There isn’t a lot to motivate the player to push on either.
While the gameplay is solid and the visuals interesting, it’s not engrossing enough to overcome the continuous repetitious need to start from scratch. Though fans of the roguelike genre already know what to expect.
Loot Rascals was reviewed on PS4 using a code provide by the publisher.
Game title: Loot Racals
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