Thrown for a Loop
I went into the weekend assuming I would be playing Valheim. Like everyone else is. I’d even setup some time to play with a friend. Maybe there was going to be a bit of Black Desert Online on the side. Maybe even a bit of The Evil Within 2, as that’s the title I’ve picked for #MaybeInMarch. Actually- I did a little of that last one. Got a couple of hours in and it went much more enjoyably than last year’s pick.
But I digress. Valheim. That was the plan.
Didn’t happen though.
Since that screenshot above, I did finish the small starter wooden hut you can see in the distance there. Put a bed in it. Cut a hole for the fire pit… Under my wooden house… Yes, really. No, I don’t know why. Yes, the game insists.
But that’s it. So. PLANS! Unfortunately? Foiled.
Loop Hero came out. A game that wasn’t on my radar. Heck, I didn’t even know of its existence until a day or so before it came out. But Cohh started playing it. I tend to at least check out the first episode of games he covers, but in this case, I got hooked quickly and knew it was something I needed in my life.
How to explain it quickly? Uhhh. Hmmm. If a rogue-lite, a collectible card game (CCG), and an idle game were smooshed together into a three-headed chimera.
There is the mix of the meta progression and the temporary per-run progression (through loot, traits and generation of the land) of the rogue-lite genre. You build a deck of cards, mixing on-road, road-adjacent, landscape and special cards to play — which are randomly drawn as you play of the CCG. And you have no direct control of the combat whatsoever, just watching it happen of the idle genre.
As you place cards down on the map, you progress the boss spawn bar. There is a fine balancing act between not spawning it too late — every loop you complete, all enemies on the map level up — and not spawning it too early, before you have a gear set / build capable of actually taking it down.
Magi has a more complete review if you’re interested — but I’ll just say this: I’ve found this game oddly difficult to put down this weekend. I’d quit out after completion of the loop with the intention of playing something else.
Inevitably, I would open Loop Hero again instead. Often within minutes of closing it. I tell you- it encapsulates the ‘just one more turn’ (albeit here: ‘just one more loop’) feeling incredibly well.
Many of the cards have interactions when placed in certain combinations too, so despite having no direct control over the combat — Loop Hero is still a game that you can play very smartly through your deck building, placement and gear/build choices for the hero you’re taking in.
I won’t spoil any of those things as there is a lot of joy to be had in the discovery.
I haven’t beaten it yet. I’ve downed the first two chapters, the second of which I did just tonight. I haven’t jumped into chapter three yet — but the additional abilities that enemies get are quite worrying. The difficulty jump from chapter one to two was intimidating enough, initially.
But I’ll get it.
Something about this game is going to compel me to finish it. Not exactly a common trait amongst games when it comes to me!
Maybe after that… Valheim.