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Loot Rascals review

 

Ever since I started to preview and review indie games, I’ve ran into some pretty strange looking games. I’ve seen that look pixelated, realistic, futuristic, fantasy based and ever thing in between. And I would usually compare it to something similar that I’ve played. But when I demoed Loot Rascals for the first time  at PAX South this past January, it was really hard to pin down a compassion for the art style. If the art direction threw me off what about the rest of the game? Strap on your space underwear and let’s find out.

 

Big Barry 

Art inspired by Adventure Time and Hohokum- After talking to developers at Hollow Ponds ar PAX South, a bit of research and actually playing the full game,  I figured out why Loot Rascals felt similar; Hollow Ponds were the developers of another game called Hohokum. I also was told that one of the artists at Hollow Ponds previously was an artist/animator for Adventure Time. Both Hohokum and Adventure Time had really bizarre art directions to them and yet they both looked unique and fun. Loot Rascals shares this same trait. Everything from the Big Barry, the Creature below the moon/planet and your AI navigator to all the monsters and the cards that you can equip, look bizarre, unique and most of all fun.

Gameplay hybrid of rouge-lite and deck builder- I’ve mentioned this in a couple of reviews and videos before and I’ll mention it again: it seems the new trend in gaming is to combine different genres to create a new game. In Loot Rascals’ case, Hollow Ponds used rougelite and card/deck building elements to form the gameplay. You explore the moon you crashed on and as you move the monsters, aka the Rascals, move as well, either towards or away from you, much like how some rougelites are. The  of the game come from the form of equippable card that you loot from Rascals. These cards affect your HP, attack points, defense and even modify said attributes. You get these cards by exploring the moo and defeating Rascals. But just like most rougelites, if you die not only will you lose all of the loot you have gathered you will lose your current deck of cards and a Rascal will steal your most valuable cared It can be a bit frustrating to lose your cards and gear, but I think this is what makes rougelites exciting: the feeling that at time you could lose all your cards and the joy you feel when you clear a floor and find rare loot.

A synchronous multiplayer- Sometimes you might encounter a Rascal who has stolen another player’s card. This leads to a really cool feature that lets an AI controlled hologram of the card’s owner to pop up. Now you can do one of two things: give the card back or take the card for yourself. If you give the card back, there is a chance that  a hologram of the player will appear and help you through the floor fighting the Rascals along the way. However if you decide to loot the card for yourself, the same hologram will then start to attack you for stealing their card. So  make sure that card you find that belongs to another player is worth getting into a fight with them along with the Rascals attacking you.

 

Various modes- In addition to the main story mode, Loot Rascals also has a practice mode and a daily seed. In practice mode you can run through a floor with the fear of losing your current deck. To save  deck to use in practice mode, you register your deck with the large monster thing near the puppet show booth located on the right in the hub area. as for daily seed, this is a daily challenge mode that has players compete to see who can survive the longest. Unlike the story mode where players are o randomly generated floors, daily seed give everyone the same floor to roam around in and explore. Those who manage to either escape or survive for a long time will be placed on a leader-board.

Creature below

Rascals levels too random- One of the problems of having a rougelite having procedurally generated floors is that sometimes the monster levels are not balanced. For example, you could be a level one character on the first floor killing level one goblins when all of a sudden a level ten orc comes out of nowhere and kills you. I mean if you accidentally ran into an area that you were not suppose to go into yet, I could understand that. But with Loot Rascals you can be just starting a brand new run and quickly run into Rascals that are levels higher than you. I can understand maybe two or three levels higher, but five and up is a bit on the extreme side. This can get really annoying when trying to explore the floor.

Seed replay system flawed- If you do happen to die at any point and say that you gathered quite the collection of powerful cards and lost them all fear now, there is  way to get them back. When you pause the game, in the lower right corner of the pause menu there is a number. That is the seed number. The purpose of the seed number is to let you restart that same floor again. While this sounds like a good feature in practice, I quickly found out that the system is flawed and can be taken advantage of/abused. Players could easily cut their run time fairly shortly, which unless you are trying to speed run through the game, undermines the rougelite elements.

 

Loot Rascals a strange and unique yet a very fun rougelite game. It has a unique art style that takes inspiration from Hohokum and Adventure Time. It combines two genres, roughlite and deck building, to form form really fun gameplay mechanics. Its take on mulitplayer is also pretty intresting as it makes players think “Should I loot this card a possible be killed by the other player’s hologram or do I give it back and have him assist me?” However the fun cn be cut short if you happen to run into a high level Rascal when you barely set foot beyond the hub area. As for the seed replay system, I feel it kinda takes away from the rougelite elements and can shorten the experience. Despite that I would recomend Loot Rascals to those who are seeking a easy rougelite to get into before jumping into something more complex and difficult.

 

7/10

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