‘Loot Rascals’ Review: Gimmie The Loot

Loot Rascals is the latest indie game from developer Hollow Ponds. A turned-based, one death “rogue-like” game, players control an astronaut stuck on an alien planet. With your trusty AI there to help, you make your way along the hex grid of the planet, defeating baddies and collecting cards they drop to improve your stats. Time your attacks carefully based on the turn timer because one misstep and it’s back to the start.

With a quirky and comical art style, Loot Rascals may look like a kids game, but a few minutes into the first level I realized that it was much, much more, and I was in for a challenge. Using a turn-based system, as your player moves from hex space to hex space, every five steps, day turns to night and so on. Some enemies hit first in day and others in the night. Who goes first is very important to remember when launching an attack, it can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

Loot Rascals has a very basic combat system, which automatically starts when your player makes contact with an enemy in the same hex space. Your hero will always make contact when you swing, which reduces your foe’s hit points by the number of your attack rating. An alien’s hit chances depend on its attack rating, your defensive rating, and some randomness, apparently. You’ll either block or take a single point of damage, but you only have five hit points. If you win, sometimes the enemy will drop loot in the form of cards.

Cards are the other major gameplay feature of Loot Rascals. Players have ten slots for cards, always starting with a basic set of six after death. These cards provide boosts to attack and defense, and depending on placement, sometimes provide additional stats. Cards can also be destroyed and turned into tokens, which are used to refill hit points and other things. Special modifiers can also be attached to cards to provide special abilities like targeted laser firing, HP refills, and other much needed powers.

Card management and timing are keys to success in Loot Rascals. Building your “deck” with proper placement, destroying old cards for tokens to heal, and balancing out your attack and defense to win battles is how you win. Timing when to run and when to fight is paramount. But even with all the planning, sometimes you just walking right into an area full of baddies and nothing you can do will save you. This was the downside to Loot Rascals. The collecting card fun is ruined when you lose it all over and over. I wish that weird pink snot creature that resurrects my astronaut would be kind enough to grab my stuff too.

While fun at first, and so visually quirky you can’t help but love it, Loot Rascals unfortunately suffers from the same issue many “rogue-like” games do: repetitiveness. Since every time you die, you must start over, the starting areas get old fast. It’s frustrating to have collected, sorted, and been so proud of your card collection, to then die after a bit of bad luck and lose it all. There are some great creative and gameplay elements in Loot Rascals though, so if you are a diligent player and enjoy a challenge, there is plenty to keep you playing. It’s well worth the MSRP of $14.99. Loot Rascals is different; it is creative and funny, and I love that. I just wish it wasn’t so damn hard!

Loot Rascals is available for PlayStation 4 and PC. This review is based on a copy provided for that purpose.


out of 5

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