A 2.5D roguelike set in a cyberpunk world with a fast-paced combat system? That’s Loopmancer.
Currently in development by eBrain Studio, what’s already playable of Loopmancer is pretty impressive considering considering its team consists of only 21 members. Taking control of troubled cop, Xiang Zixu, it all begins when you hit the streets investigating the disappearance of a famous female journalist. Butting heads with a man who could be considered your nemesis, a violent exchange ultimately leads to your death.
But, inexplicably, you don’t die. Instead you wake up back in your apartment, ready to start the day anew. And this is where the roguelike elements come into play. Once again you’ll be tasked with investigating the disappearance of the famous female journalist, last seen interviewing your nemesis, but you’ve also got a greater goal: collecting evidence so you can solve the case of who killed your daughter some time ago.
Of course, you’re not expected to solve both cases in one go. You’re going to keep dying and starting the day anew, each time hopefully finding more evidence to point you in the right direction. And over time you’ll grow more capable, too, making your exploits that bit more manageable. You’ll be thankful, because Loopmancer‘s combat is bloody and fast-paced. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t keep your wits about you.
The gameplay is what you’d expect of a 2.5D platformer. You visit areas, running about energetically as you explore. You can run, jump, double jump, and even make use of a grappling hook to reach higher ground. There are switches to pull that will open doors, certain objects can be broken with your attacks, and you’ll face off against stiff opposition frequently.
Thankfully, Xiang Zixu is more than capable of holding his own. At any one time he’s equipped with a melee weapon, a firearm, a tactical weapon and a special Chip ability. They can be used liberally, allowing you to put down your enemies with style, while dashing out of the way of incoming attacks. Build up the combo meter high enough, and you can even make use of a fancy ultimate attack. Nice.
Of course, as you progress though the game, there are multiple ways to make Xiang Zixu more powerful. At the start of each day you can used skill points earned to buy a range of permanent perks, for example. And over time, free weapons can be made available within levels by investing a currency that you earn. Weapons can also be bought in each loop, giving you quick access to a more formidable arsenal.
Loopmancer is promising, then. But there are some things that need to be improved before the game launches if it’s to really impress. Enemy tells currently get lost when the combat gets heated, leading to you taking hits that don’t feel fair. Some enemies drop explosives upon death that take off a huge chunk of your health, too. Animations are also a bit stiff, and there’s poor lip syncing. You can also throw uneven voice acting onto the pile.
Hopefully some, if not all, of these things will be addressed before the game launches this year. We also expect a lot of polish. If it happens, then Loopmancer could prove to be a very interesting adventure indeed. Its premise has certainly piqued our interest, and the gameplay is full of promise. But you don’t have to take our words for it – a free demo is available right now on Steam.