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    dkirschner's Loop Hero (PC)

    [September 27, 2022 11:27:08 PM]
    I was initially intrigued by Loop Hero. It has a neat gameplay and narrative premise. I read that this was originally created for a game jam with the theme ďstart with nothing.Ē Indeed, you start with nothing each run. Well, no equipment. There are persistent unlocks. The game is a unique hybrid of deck-building, town-building, RPG, tower defense, and roguelike. The world has been destroyed, and you enter ďthe loopĒ over and over again on expeditions, collecting fragments of memories to bring back to your village to build it.

    There are two halves of the game, the loop part and the town-building part. The loop has two phases, the expedition phase and the planning phase. In the expedition phase, you circle the loop and fight enemies. Note that by "fight" I mean that your character fights. You watch. The only thing you actually do is in the planning phase, where you basically are pausing the game to sort equipment and place tiles (both of which youíll do a lot). When you kill enemies and pass over tiles, youíll get equipment and cards. You need to keep an eye on equipment upgrades and cards to place around the loop. You go on expeditions in order to get supplies to build your town. There is a building tree. New buildings unlock new cards for your deck, new classes (warrior, rogue, and necromancer), the ability to collect and craft supplies, and other effects. You place buildings on a map in the town-building part of the game, though Iím not sure the significance of building the town out in any certain way. I saw a couple buildings that need to be near a couple other buildings, but my town was pretty haphazard and it didnít seem to matter.

    So, before you go on an expedition, you can select cards to be in your deck. Some cards have to be played on the road (the loop is a road), others have to be played adjacent to the road, and others have to be played in the ďsurrounding areaĒóthink the landscape around the road (mountains, meadows, rivers, etc.). At first, I was confused as to the point of some of the cards. Most of them exist to spawn monsters, and others spawn monsters if a condition is met (e.g., every 10 rock/mountain tiles spawn a goblin camp by the road). I didnít quite know why you wanted to fill the road with monsters. Like, youíre making it harder for yourself to progress, right? Well yes, and no. You see, there are two meters that fill as you circle the loop. One is a day meter. Upon new days, enemies spawn, your health refills a bit, and other things can happen. The second is the boss meter. This has to do with how many tiles youíve placed. Once it fills up, the boss spawns on your camp (which is a special starting tile that, when passed, refills some HP and lets you end the expedition with 100% of your loot intact). The first boss killed me twice before I beat him the third time (and then a fourth, fifth, and forever after). This was after learning some tricks. I learned, for example, that you want to kill as many enemies as possible and go around the loop as quickly as possible. More loops = stronger enemies (enemy power increases each loop) = better equipment (equipment level increases each loop) = better preparedness for boss. So tackling the boss on, say, loop 6, is not nearly as good as doing it on loop 8. Yeah, the boss will be a bit stronger, but so will you. Plus, another thing I learned is that you can use the Oblivion card to destroy the bossís castle tiles (which spawn all around the boss). For every castle tile you destroy, the boss loses HP and damage. And the more enemies you kill and the more times you go around the loop, the more Oblivion cards you probably have. I typically have 3 or 4 to burn on the bossís castle.

    There are lots of card interactions to learn. The strategies for placing tiles here or there, in curves in the loop or on straightaways, what tiles synergize and what tiles are bad together, etc., are overwhelming at first. But after a while, you learn what works best. I think thatís the crux of my boredom with Loop Hero. Iíve figured out what works best. The game has become repetitive. I understand the mechanics. I unlocked all the classes, figured out ideal stats and builds for each class, built a lot of buildings, tried a lot of cards. People say it ďplays itself.Ē I originally found myself actively engaged in making decisions to: place tiles, put on equipment. Well, I guess thatís it, but if you set the game speed on max, it flies. But one run, I killed the first boss for the umpteenth time and decided to risk staying in the loop to collect resources. Well, round and round I went. Eventually I didnít have to pay attention. The game did indeed play itself because I was so powerful I couldnít die. These expeditions can take half an hour or longer, and you wind up watching your character go in circles waiting for your resources to cap out so you can go back to town and maybe have enough to build a building. Then back into the loop.

    Thatís not to say that Iím anywhere near beating this game. No, itís like a 40-hour game! I canít imagine putting 4 times what Iíve played already into this. I havenít even seen the second boss (of 4). The second act kicks my butt. But hereís the thing. Progression is a matter of grinding resources to unlock buildings to unlock cards to get more supplies to place things a little better in the loop to grind more resources, etc. There is little skill, no action. Winning is inevitable if you just go around the loop enough times. Eventually Iíll automate my way to beating the second boss, then the third, then the fourth. So, I am setting Loop Hero aside. Neat premise, grindy execution.
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    Status

    dkirschner's Loop Hero (PC)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Got Bored

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 6 September, 2022

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 27 September, 2022

    Opinion
    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Interesting. I feel the grind though. ------------- Grindy AF. You can automate your way to victory, so it feels both boring and hollow.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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