I will 100% admit when I initially started playing Loop Hero, my first thought was, “how much fun can I get out of an RPG I can’t truly control?“ Loop Hero takes away your control of the character in the adventure, leaving you with a combination of an auto battle simulation and a rogue-lite deck building game. I have to admit I was curious but also concerned I’d lose enjoyment fast. However I’m happy to say the Loop Hero does an amazing job at making you feel truly involved in the game. While it might not be a game for everyone, Loop Hero is an absolute blast for people looking for a unique take on the RPG adventure genre.
As I mentioned above, the gist of Loop Hero is that you are not in control of the hero. You play as a hero, who remembers nothing except that you are the hero fighting monsters. You encounter strange people and characters and slowly through the experience you learn more about your world and yourself. Your goal is to walk around relatively circular paths on the map to fight monsters and make it back safely to the campfire. The map is presented in a very unique, old-school pixel graphic.
Once you’re in a fight, how your adventure goes is completely out of your hands. Your character controls its attack speed, defense, and damage. The game is about your stats versus the enemy stats. Your stats can be improved by picking up new weapons and armor on your adventure. Admittedly your first few loops around the map are quite boring. Your character is underpowered and runs into relatively underpowered enemies. You don’t really have to do much for your character to succeed in battle. Once you get past these first initial loops, this is when Loop Hero really pulls you in. When your hero wins fights, they earn cards which represent map tiles that can be placed in the adventure.
The game frames these map tiles as your character remembering where they were. Map tiles can include mountains, forests, villages and more. The catch is that there are major trade-offs with each map tile you’re given. For instance, putting down woods on the map means that there are now more monsters in the woods. Strange fish monsters appear out of rivers to attack you, and vampires come down from the castles to attack you. There’s plenty more but it goes to show the trade-offs of adding map tiles to your adventure.
However, adding map tiles to your adventure is also incredibly rewarding. As more and more of the map is filled in by these tiles, you really get a sense of progression. Don’t get me wrong, the old-school pixel graphics aren’t going to turn a barren screen into an unbelievable graphical experience. However it’s oddly rewarding when your map becomes filled with forests, rivers, etc.
Ultimately it’s the loot that gets dropped in Loop Hero that makes the experience truly grab you. The more loot you collect in the game makes you have to start thinking of the strategy involved. Does that particular weapon work with the type of hero that you’ve built? Let’s say you have a warrior. Do you want your warrior to automatically regain health at the expense of dealing ultimate damage? What abilities will you lose by adding a new one? The game does well at presenting this challenge to you and truly making you think before each loop begins. You often find yourself swapping from weapon to magic ring to a new thing all the time.
My biggest issue with Loop Hero is that it relies heavily on complete randomness. Now I realize this is a part of the rouge lite genre and helps make each adventure, each loop, it’s own unique experience from the last. That said it’s also impossible to know what you will get to help you in this loop. There are instances where you will not get anything good in numerous loops around the map. This means that that semi horrible sword you’ve been using is your only means of success, until the game randomly gives you something good at some point. This randomness could be forgiven more if, when you’re finally given an upgrade, that upgrade was a massive boost to your stats. However, most of the time it simply gives you an upgrade that only slightly improves your abilities.
Overall, Loop Hero is a fun and surprisingly addictive game for people on the Nintendo Switch to check out. It might not be the action packed adventure you’re thinking of but it does an amazing job at presenting a game mechanic that hooks you right early on. Sitting back and watching how things play out can be a stressful experience, especially if you didn’t pay attention to stats very well. Yet the reward keeps you coming back for more. I see myself continuing to play Loop Hero in the weeks to come. It might not have been the RPG adventure I was expecting but it’s certainly become one I can’t wait to get back into.
Review: Loop Hero (Nintendo Switch)
While it’s reliance on randomness can make the game annoying at times, Loop Hero is a rare treat Switch owners should check out. It’s unique blend of RPG adventure and deck building mechanics provide you with a gaming experience you won’t find elsewhere. It’s addicting gameplay loop keep you going back for more and constantly making you say “just one more turn.”