Have you ever felt like doing something different than everyone else? Go against the current, breaking with the usual patterns? The employees of the Four Quarters studio had to think similarly, creating an inconspicuous Loop Hero game . What is so unusual about this production that it deserves such an introduction?
As in many other creations of interactive culture set in a fantastic world, we have to direct the fate of the hero on whom the fate of the whole world depends. The problem is that the only thing left from this world is a looped road with a few jumping snots and a lonely protagonist who is not under our control. At first, we are faced with the perspective of passive gaze as a warrior walks calmly along the only possible road. Fortunately, the first jelly beat finally unveils our goal.
Darkness was over the surface of the immensity
The story tells us about a sudden cataclysm that destroyed the world, leaving behind only endless darkness. All? No! One and only settlement, inhabited by relentless Gauls … Well, maybe this is not the story, because this time in the darkness only a small path and a daredevil with residual memory remained. Thanks to the few memories of the protagonist, it is possible to rebuild reality step by step by transforming fragments of memory into reality. Who and why decided to destroy everything? Why did some people prove to be immune to annihilation? How is this one ordinary guy able to rebuild the world from practically nothing? Although the plot is not particularly thrilling, the willingness to know all secrets can be a solid driving force, prompting us to constantly repeat the next loops. Fortunately, it’s not boring to click through the same sequences.
Loop Herois an interesting mix of card game, roguelike and strategy in a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy sauce. Here we have a procedurally generated world in the form of the aforementioned looped path, which our hero traverses automatically, facing opponents on his way. Each winning fight gives us equipment, thanks to which we can increase the protagonist’s statistics or cards that allow us to place various types of objects on the map. It is the latter that give us the greatest impact on the game. Some cards (i.e. scraps of memory) allow us to place on the map, for example, mountains and forests that give a handful of resources and strengthen the statistics of the protagonist, villages and ruins that trigger various effects after a warrior passes through them, or many other structures responsible for periodically summoning new types of enemies. The proper use of cards is one of the main core of the game, allowing you to combine them with their proper arrangement. An important element is also experimenting with setting up the structure, as some objects interact with each other when they appear next to the appropriate structures. Sometimes the game itself proposes effective combinations by technical forcing (e.g. a farmland can only grow next to a village), descriptions of cards or subtle hints hidden in dialogues (such as the former vampire care for human houses). because some objects interact with each other when they appear next to the appropriate structures. Sometimes the game itself proposes effective combinations by technical forcing (e.g. a farmland can only grow next to a village), descriptions of cards or subtle hints hidden in dialogues (such as the former vampire care for human houses). because some objects interact with each other when they appear next to the appropriate structures. Sometimes the game itself proposes effective combinations by technical forcing (e.g. a farmland can only grow next to a village), descriptions of cards or subtle hints hidden in dialogues (such as the former vampire care for human houses).
During the subsequent loops we deal with a double countdown of time. The first is the passing of consecutive days, responsible for the appearance of the vast majority of monsters, the second is the consecutive laps in an almost endless march. Each crossing of the starting point of the camp not only allows for the regeneration of opponents independent of the first clock, but also increases the statistics of all enemies and the level of equipment that drops from them. Playing with a given loop can end in victory over the boss that appears after using the appropriate number of cards, or in our failure, after which we keep only thirty percent of the resources collected during the march. You can always use the option to withdraw, but this is only available between fights,
Between subsequent loops, we can use the raw materials collected so far to expand our settlement. The cost of constructing and upgrading new buildings is considerable, but the benefits are also tangible. It is enough to mention that they not only affect the hero’s statistics, preparing him for the next march, but also unlock new mechanics, such as crafting, new character classes and new cards to be used during the expedition. The camp stage is a moment of rest and a moment when our progress is saved, but finally we have to go on the road, even without assembling the team. At this point, we can choose the cards that we will use in a given trial (we have quantitative restrictions on this), which of the three character classes we choose (and these differ significantly in perception) and which stage we intend to play again.
And how does this whole mixture work out in practice? Suffice it to say that the effect of “one more try” is triggered from the very first loop, and each improvement to the camp gives you the feeling of making progress. Lots of mechanics and combinations, addictive gameplay and the satisfaction of overcoming each subsequent stage, all in just two hundred megabytes. Not bad, no?
Let there be light!
Juicy gameplay with juicy gameplay, but how does the audiovisual look of such a clever and well-made mix? Unfortunately, it is not so great here, which can be seen at first glance. Successful pixelart and retro style often go hand in hand, but here many may find that the visual design has gone too far into the past. While the background in the menu or characters during dialogues looks pretty good, and the cards, structures they create and fierce duels are bearable, the appearance of units moving on a looped path can turn many people away. Single-color sprites consisting of several dozen pixels are rather simple pictograms indicating the location of the characters rather than the actual inhabitants of the pixel art world. The sound layer also reaches far into the past with its style and does it quite well, but the repetition of songs and sounds quickly becomes boring, and thus you do not have the slightest reproach when playing without sound. The production doesn’t make a very good first impression, but guess what? I can’t imagine thatLoop Hero could have been different! In my opinion, the artistic style corresponds very well with the gameplay, and due to its simplicity and ugliness in places, it allows you to fully focus on what is most important here. I have the impression that a better setting could distract me, and in this type of game it would be the worst that could happen.
Not very pretty, boring to the ear, but devilishly addictive and having a really solid depth in its small body, Loop Hero is a game that can be recommended with a pure heart, as long as there is time for it between subsequent loops. Let him become an ugly duckling, inside he has been a real swan for a long time.