Gaming

'Loop Hero' lets you control the apocalypse, not its savior

This simple but innovative RPG dangles hope in front of the player that maybe this time, things will be different.

Devolver Digital are no strangers to publishing quirky indie titles that put a new spin on old ideas.

Their latest game, Loop Hero, is no different — an RPG that has you controlling the world around the main character rather than playing as them.

Loop Hero is set amidst the remnants of the universe after a near total apocalypse, asking its titular Hero to slowly rebuild against insurmountable odds.

Despite its grandiose premise, the game is charmingly simple.

When the hero sets out from base camp, they're put on a procedurally generated looping path. They automatically progress forward, and encounter spawning enemies as they do so.

Battles also happen automatically, and defeating monsters will net the player new items to equip and new landmarks to place along the path, slowly building out the world as they venture onward.

The items and landmarks are where player choice comes into play. The more the hero progresses through a loop, the more monsters that are deployed. Equipping better gear prepares them for the deadlier encounters.

New landmarks also alter the path, providing buffs for the player or more challenging combat scenarios. Strategically placing new locations is the difference between life and death in Loop Hero, as their attributes can multiply or nullify one another's effects

The intriguing gameplay is paired with some wonderful lofi 8-bit art that depicts a world on the edge of collapse.

The aim for the hero is to complete enough loops to spawn a boss. If they think they might perish before achieving that goal, they can retreat to their base camp at any point.

If the hero escapes while occupying the campfire tile along the path, they get to keep all of the resources they've collected. If they retreat anywhere else along the road, they only keep a fraction of their bounty, which becomes even smaller if they are killed.

The gameplay loop of Loop Hero is a siren's song, sinisterly compelling the player to take a couple more steps along the path, narrowly escaping the next encounter, but being rewarded with a new location that could potentially alter the path for the better.

Beautifully crafted hand drawn avatars bring the characters and monsters to life.

Just when you feel you've gotten your fix from the game, it adds classes to the mix, which are acquired by building out the base camp, the only part of the game that isn't stuck in a loop.

These classes vastly change up the gameplay of Loop Hero, and while the automatic looping mechanics define the game through to the end, developer Four Quarters shows the player just how far they can stretch that idea.

It compels you to continue playing to see what other inventive ways the loop might change.

Loop Hero is a game that will make you feel like you can take on the world, or at least what's left of it, only to find that the odds are stacked against you.

And no matter what, you'll always venture out to try and best it again, even after suffering endless defeats.

You have to win the game somehow.

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