Loot Rascals Review
- Platform: PS4, PC
- Players: Single Player
- Achievements: Yes, with Platinum on PS4
- Steam Trading Cards: Yes
- Controller Support: Full
- Retail Price: $15
High Level Premise: Find the exit through procedurally generated hex-based mazes taking down baddies with the skills you acquire along the way.
Graphics/Style: 2d hex-based rogue-like turn-based RPG with quirky well designed colorful characters.
Music/Soundtrack: All original tracks that are quite pleasant and juxtapose the tension of the gameplay.
Story: Your ship has crash-landed in-flight to repair the manufacturing ship in your fleet. You find the planet take over by baddies…time to escape.
Replay-ability: Extremely high. Levels are procedurally generated at a near infinite amount of combinations. There are also Daily challenges and leaderboards to keep you coming back.
Time Commitment: The game can be beaten in under 30 minutes (there’s a trophy for that!) However, that’s at significantly higher skill and understanding of the game. To experience the majority plan to invest 6-10 hours.
Value: High, near infinite level combinations lend to extensive replay-ability
Favorite Element: Player holograms - When a baddie steals a card when a player dies, another player will find the card upon defeating the same baddie. The option is given to keep the card, or return it to the original owner. Either way your choice will be rewarded, but may come at a cost.
I’m going to say it from the start: Buy this game! Loot Rascals is a fantastic take on the rogue-like genre. The charming art style, bizarre enemies, an entertaining cast, and delightful humor kept me coming back repeatedly. This review was submitted at the last minute simply because I couldn’t stop playing it!
Our story begins with our protagonist Gonnae in flight to the site of new outer space holiday camp to repair Big Barry, a large robot capable of using "Liquid Anything" to create anything. However, something happened and we’ve lost contact with Big Barry. Your hero is tasked with finding and repairing him. En route, things begin to get weird. Upon your arrival, you find that the area is overtaken by baddies. This intro is very well written and delivers several laughs with excellent comedic timing. The humor continues from there in other cut-scenes and in the behavior and design of the baddies.
Gameplay occurs on a hexbased grid. Each move between tiles is one turn. Time passes with each turn. There are 5 turns for day and for night. Day and night dictates whether an enemy will attack you first, or defend first. Moving your character around the baddies to ensure you are always getting first strike in any encounter is crucial to success. Upon defeating an enemy they may drop a card, which you will then “Loot” to add to your inventory. The cards add to your Attack and Defense, as well as add special abilities. The goal of each level is to simply make it to the end. Unfortunately you have a finite number of turns before the baddies call in reinforcements of Death Mites or worse to help you meet your demise. Meeting your demise introduces you to "The Thing Below" which will further advance the story and mystery of what is really occurring here.
You start each round with 6 cards: 3 Attack, 3 Defense. As you loot your way through the world you collect more and continue to develop your stats. The cards are fun and comical, and have all sorts of modifiers to them. Card placement in your 10 card deck becomes key. A Boot Helmet may give a +2 to the card to the right, but also may value at 0 if it’s in the top row. All of the card's instructions are clearly labeled and easy to follow. As you progress, you will consistently need to enter your visor to rearrange your cards to maximize your attack and defense. At first this is a very tedious process, but the more you play, the faster and simpler it becomes. If you no longer need a card, you can discard it for a Token, Loot Rascals' in-game currency. Defeating special baddies gives you card overlays that grant you special abilities. With these abilities, you can bring down elemental attacks on to your opponents from a distance.
While exploring the lands you can warp back to the starting point known as The Hub. The fast travel will cost you 25 turns though. In The Hub you have the option to use the healing machine for an ever-increasing amount of tokens, set decks for a practice play through, and talk to the chef and find out which baddie stole “his favorite card” which you can return for a reward. The hub is also where you find cards your stole cards returned by other players. If you’re just beginning the game, The Hub has the most crucial piece of information you need: the numerical equation on how combat works.
As with any rogue-like, you only have one chance to make it to the end. After you die, its back to Area 1 with your 6 starting cards. The game does have a few ways to save individual cards, but sometimes you do end up leaving a fantastic build on the battlefield. I’m newer to rogue-likes, and while the concept can be frustrating, I have to say that despite starting from scratch each time, I am eager to restart, particularly because the game just drops you right back into the action in Area 1.
Loot Rascals isn’t perfect. Sometimes the stats of the baddies jump drastically between areas which ramps up difficulty to the point of forced failure. Regaining health primarily occurs through revisiting The Hub, which costs you precious moves. I also had to play through the tutorial twice to truly understand how combat worked. The cut scenes are fun and entertaining, but there weren’t enough of them. I do like how you can return to any level using the Seeded Play Option, but if you haven’t written down the levels 11-digit code, you’re out of luck. However, Loot Rascals wins on so many levels. It’s fun to play, entertaining, and keeps you coming back for more. As Hollow Ponds first outing, I am quite excited to see what this new indie studio will bring us in the future. Hopefully we’ll see an expansion to Loot Rascals with more areas, cards, & baddies. Until then, you can find me on my way to rescue Big Barry.