Backpack Hero is a Roguelike With Inventory Management at its Core, And We Can’t Get Enough

Backpack Hero preview

If you play a lot of RPGs, you probably have strong feelings about inventory management. But how do you feel about a game where managing your inventory is the main mechanic?

Enter Backpack Hero, a roguelike dungeon crawler where keeping your inventory in check is key to your success. New loot will be thrown at you left, right and centre – but organising it effectively in your initially-tiny backpack will either be your making or your downfall. This isn’t an easy game by any means, but it’s the sort of roguelike that you’ll find yourself jumping into time and time again, each time hopefully getting a little bit better as you develop new strategies.

As you make your way through Backpack Hero‘s dungeons, you’ll encounter plenty of enemies. And, like Slay the Spire and its ilk, you’ll be able to see exactly how your adversaries are planning to act on their next turn. That means you have ample time to prepare the best you can, blocking incoming attacks or making use of an opening to attack.

How well you do, however, will depend on how well you’ve filled your backpack. Whereas in Slay the Spire, your strategy depends on the cards you’ve been collecting in your hand, here it depends on the items you’ve got. And, of course, they’re limited by how much space you have. As you level up, you’ll earn new space, but you’ll need to teach yourself how to use it effectively. Maybe you’ll want to go for items that cost zero energy to use, allowing you to hit small but frequently. Or maybe you’ll want to tinker with magic, or use a bow and arrow.

Backpack Hero preview

The layout of your items in your backpack can have an effect on your performance, too. Some items have passive effects, like boosting the attack of weapons they’re packed at the side of. And so laying out your backpack strategically can pay dividends.

If you’re the hoarding sort, then, you might struggle with Backpack Hero. No item is completely useless, and so when it comes to getting rid of something to make space for a new, more useful item, you’ll likely find yourself torn. Do you keep hold of that mug of energy brew, or do you scrap it to make way for a key? After all, you might find ultimate loot behind that locked door…

It’ll likely take you several failed attempts at Backpack Hero until you get the feel of a strategy that works for you. You’ll certainly want to experiment, and no run is ever wasted: this is an enjoyable dungeon crawler experience, one that’s simple but utterly enthralling. Even if you die quickly, you’ll have a blast while ever you last. And each attempt teaches you a little more about what does and doesn’t work.

Backpack Hero is due to enter Early Access on 15th August, and so it still has a long way to go in development. Developer Jaspel is planning a seven-month stint in Early Access, during which time new items, dungeons, characters and events will be added to the game. A new overworld progression is in development too. But even without all this, Backpack Hero is already feeling like a well-rounded and complete experience. Its presentation is simple, and its pixelated visuals make it feel like a product of yesteryear – but that works to its favour. It’s utterly charming in its starkness. It doesn’t need fancy visuals to be compelling.

We’re looking forward to seeing how Backpack Hero develops over the next several months. And you should be too, if you’re a fan of roguelike games such as Slay the Spire. Especially so if you get a kick out of inventory management.

Backpack Hero will be available on Steam from 15th August.