Loop Hero is the kind of video game crack that parents in the 1980s were worried about. Don’t let the fact that the visuals also harken back to the days of hair metal, parachute pants and rampant cocaine use deter you from playing though. Loop Hero is a bona fide hit.
Set in a distant, magical realm, Loop Hero is based on a simple premise; complete loops of randomly generated paths to acquire materials and rebuild the world. Along each path, the player character automatically battles monsters and enemies, passes through different locations and eventually fights a boss.
Each loop increases the player’s stats through new armour and weapons, as well as the difficulty of enemies and their ever-growing numbers. Part AFK RPG, part roguelike and part settlement builder, Loop Hero is a lot of things.
Most of all, it’s a game you’ll struggle to stop playing once you start.
Loop Hero Review
Each round creates a new ‘loop’ for your character to travel around. Time passes as your character travels and at the beginning of each new day, enemies have a chance to spawn on the tiles. When your character passes through a tile with enemies, battle begins.
You’re able to pause the action so you can plan and add to the loop. You can’t increase the length of the loop or add new paths, but you can add additional tiles which change each journey. For example, adding a vampire’s mansion will cause a vampire to spawn alongside any enemies in nearby tiles. A graveyard will spawn skeletons and forests will spawn rat monsters. Tiles aren’t just for adding enemies either. Rocks and mountains increase the player’s HP while forests increase attack speed.
There’s quite a lot to Loop Hero but thankfully, it doesn’t throw it all at you at once. The first few loops are very stripped back and with only a limited number of additional tiles at your disposal, you’re able to get a feel for how things work. At any point during a round, you can return to your camp when nearby to the starting tile. If you do, you exit the loop, take all resources with you and return to your camp. If you die, you return to camp with only a fraction of your resources.
Resources play a big part in Loop Hero as they fund the expansion of your camp. By building new structures you unlock new tiles, gaining access to new items, monsters and options for your next loop.
When you start Loop Hero, you have very limited access to the available content. You can play as one class and only have a few tiles. It doesn’t take long, should you manage to survive the loops, to accumulate quite a collection of different tiles. You’re restricted in how many you can take with you on a ‘loop’ so you build a deck of cards out of the tiles which are assigned randomly when you defeat enemies and pass through certain tiles. Building the perfect deck to take on the boss of each stage is critical to your success and your ability to survive long enough to fight them.
Bosses are summoned when you’ve filled the screen with enough tiles to fill the boss meter. Once they’re summoned, they appear on the start tile and you have no choice but to fight them. So you better be ready, lest you lose all of your precious resources. If you do, it’s not a huge loss, though it will take you many more attempts to recover the lost loot. This, in and of itself, isn’t an issue since playing Loop Hero is so wonderfully addictive.
On more than one occasion, I set out to play for an hour or so, stopped when I thought that amount of time had elapsed and looked to my clock to see I’d spent five or six hours in the game.
In spite of the simple visuals, Loop Hero also sports quite a deep and complex narrative. It touches on the nature of life and death, humanity’s place in the universe and nihilism versus hopefulness. There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to understanding the full depth of the plot. However, if you’re not in the mood to examine the story in greater detail, Loop Hero can just be a classic tale of good versus evil.
The music and sound in the game is also a real strength. It perfectly evokes the classic games of my youth and takes me back to a simpler time in gaming. This is a perfect way to trick older players, like myself, into falling down a time hole while playing Loop Hero. Nostalgia for older games, like ActRaiser, makes it easier to fall in love with Loop Hero and the combination of the visuals and music is the cherry on top.
Loop Hero is fantastic. It’s addictive and compelling and will always leave you wanting more. It’s a clever combination of strategy, city-building, roguelike and dungeon crawler. It’ll take a little time to get into the groove and just when you think you have a handle on it, it changes things up, but that’s all part of the charm.
If you even have a mild interest in Loop Hero, I suggest you give it a look, you’ll be hooked almost instantly. I guarantee it.
Loop Hero was reviwed on PC using a code provided by the publisher.