Devolver Digital is starting 2021 on top form.
Not only does it have Olija coming out later this month, a harpoon-themed action adventure that’s sure to get its claws into you, it also has Loop Hero set to release at some point soon. From developer Four Quarters, Loop Hero isn’t much to look at. With 8-bit visuals and a rather drab colour palette, it’s easy to dismiss. But doing so would be a crime. Give it just five minutes, and you’ll be utterly hooked into Loop Hero‘s gameplay loop.
Set in a world gone asunder, the people of Loop Hero can’t quite remember who they are, or where they came from. But you, a mysterious hero, may have the key to fix things. Finding yourself at a ramshackle survival camp, you’re the only one who’s ever ventured out and come back again. Better yet, the supplies you find while you’re out can help the camp grow, providing better resources for you and its people. But the world you’ll need to explore is far from safe.
In Loop Hero, if the name hasn’t given it away, you’ll explore a constant loop. Time passes as you move from square to square, eventually ending up back where you started. Monsters generate each time a day passes, and you’ll often have no choice but to fight them. Thankfully you’re a decent warrior, and killing monsters will grant you new equipment – swords, armour, shields – as well as a range of ‘cards’ that can help or hinder your journey.
You see, the looping path that you traverse might be fixed in size and shape, but you can have some impact on what appears there. As you play, you’ll amass various cards that can be placed on and around your map. Some will have positive effects; placing a ‘mountain’ card will grant you extra HP, for example. Others will add extra monsters to your path, like spider dens, or graveyards that spawn skeletons. Putting more enemies in your path may seem like a fool’s errand, but facing off against more powerful enemies increases your chances of getting better loot.
As such, Loop Hero is a game of constant risk vs reward. If you want to get far, you’ll need to take chances. You can return to the safety of your camp at any time, but doing so prematurely means you’ll lose some of your resources. Waiting until you’ve made it back to the camp on your path, however, might mean risking it all. Dying will wipe out most of your inventory, you see.
Whatever happens, you’ll find yourself back at camp eventually, and once you do, your current game of Loop Hero is over. You can use any resources you brought back to improve your camp – build new facilities or upgrade existing ones – before heading back out on a new journey. You’ll start afresh, with your equipment gone and your stats reset, and you’ll have a new map to travel around and fill up with new cards.
It’s a very simple game to get to grips with, but it packs in a surprising amount of depth. Your character stats can be altered in a myriad of ways; from equipping new gear to placing cards in the world. The world itself constantly evolves, too. Perhaps you place a card that directly affects your environment, like adding new enemy lairs, or maybe there’s a knock-on effect. Creating a mountain range, for example – useful for your HP – means that dangerous harpies can nest there and attack you. And for each 10 mountain range or rock cards you place, a goblin den will appear, creating a new threat for you. But that constant sense of danger, and the lure of the risk versus reward, is what makes Loop Hero so deliciously addictive.
Loop Hero has no set release date yet, but it’ll be available on PC very soon. And if you’re a fan of loot-filled adventure games, especially ones that march to their own unique beat, this is one you really should keep an eye out for.