Analysis of Loop Hero, cards in which to glimpse the past

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Every time I start a game in Loop Hero, I tend to save some meadow and mountain cards for later. The intention is to launch them when the level of enemies is higher and the report of materials more abundant. As a result, I usually end up with a certain accumulation of cards. In those moments, when I stop to observe the hand, Past nights of endless Magic duels come to mind. During those confrontations, which were always against the same person, there was plenty of room for silent strategy, for reflection and even to let your imagination run wild, and the latter was triggered with some of the illustrations present in the cards, especially those of the lands.

I know that Loop HeroActually, it doesn’t have much to do with Magic, in fact it is closer to proposals such as Arkham Horror, although that is not the way either. But at the base of the approach carried out by the guys from FourQuarters Team there is something of the magic to which these types of games adhere. Both his fiction and his pixel art are also intense dilators of the imagination, factors that encourage us to fill, with our minds, the gaps in the fiction that he presents us. Through his letters and his story, he invites us to imagine the world that, at one point, completely disappeared and fell into oblivion. But before we get deep, let’s go back to the start, and Let’s see what this title really offers us, which has fallen so well among the Steam community.

The first day in my new nothing

Just start Loop Hero We will see a short introduction that will bring us up to date with the terrible events that have taken place in the universe in which the video game takes place. The firmament has fallen into nothingness: the galaxies, constellations and cosmic dust have disappeared, leaving in their place an almost absolute void, a darkness that is only broken by the circular path in which our hero awakens.. After standing up, once we press the right mouse button, it will start walking until it runs into the first enemy. When defeating it we will receive equipment and / or some other letter. We will equip the loot acquired to increase our statistics and we will play the received cards. The magic begins, since the letters are, in reality, memories of that extinct world that the protagonist houses. When thinking about them or, what is the same, playing one of the cards, their thoughts materialize in the empty space that inhabits at that precise moment creating a new element in the scene in which the game takes place; the reconstruction of the world begins. A) Yes, Each card brings consequences in the form of bonuses, penalties, materials or more enemies from which to obtain better equipment and new cards to continue playing. The loop is served.

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Every time we go back to the beginning of the road, and pass through the campfire in which we woke up, we will recover some life, just as each time a new day dawns, more enemies will appear. Thus We will participate in that infinite loop until the shift boss appears or we decide that the time has come to withdraw to conserve all the collected materials. If we die, we will lose 70% of what we have achieved. Once the retreat is undertaken, we will arrive at home, at the base camp, the territory in which all these materials will make sense, a place to rebuild and give life while we talk with its inhabitants to discover how they are living this strange situation and, incidentally, we will improve the initial equipment and the passives of our character in order to be able to face the next expedition with more guarantees .

The game is a continuous balancing exercise between the resources that we want to obtain and the combats that we think we will be able to face

The magic of the loop

In essence, that is Loop Hero, and there is not much else. Is a closed playable loop, focused on managing and planning the unpredictable, an exercise in strategy that asks us to constantly bet while putting our survival at stake, a type of proposal that had many ballots to end up being frustrating and that, however, ends up being the most satisfactory. But what does it do so well that after dying and throwing away a 20-minute run, we want to try again without a continuity solution? Input, he manages very well for us to take that failure as one more part of his continuous learning process. And it is that, especially in the first ten hours, there is no game in which we do not learn something new. A letter of wheat fields that placed next to a town gives us a greater recovery of life, a mansion of vampires that infects the town and causes zombies to appear, a card that helps us to eliminate locations from the map, a lantern that reduces the amount of enemies spawned at dawn, and so on until the end of days.

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Loop Hero is, above all, a very intelligent design exercise, a meticulous calibration of parameters and variables that scale subject to the limits of their own randomness, but without losing the ability to always stay on the razor’s edge. All while invites us, in the old fashion, to experiment with the different combinations of cards that we can carry out to enhance the characteristics of our character. This is something that one can glimpse with just half a dozen hours of play, then there comes a time when the title begins to open and a new class appears before us; the necromancer. In that instant you realize that everything changes again and a new approach, a new way of facing that loop of death, destruction and creation opens before you. An equally balanced route, as meticulously calculated as the previous one, but different. Suddenly the title gets even bigger.

The title takes advantage of its fiction to treat its own mechanisms of the game in a very intelligent way.

A winning hand

The package ends up being rounded with the filigree that makes its fiction to justify its mechanics: the use of memory and cards as paths for the construction of a new world (something about which I already talked to you in more detail last week), which reinforces the player’s involvement in a type of video game, apparently more cold and distant with the user.

The FourQuarters Team title was born, like Celeste, in a game jam. He saw the light on Ludum Dare 45, and later made the leap to itch.io, proving, once again, that a good design idea is enough to attract us all and bind us in the dark. Loop Hero It is a real vice, a title of those capable of eating the afternoons of a whole week without you knowing very well what the hell your life has been through, and it does so without cycles of frustration or aggressive, artificial mechanics, destined to bring us back with the promise of a better future game. It achieves this thanks to its ability to invite us to try new strategies, to improve our approach while adapting to the development of the game with the deck that we have decided to form. Something very similar to what happened to me during those Magic mornings that often come to my memory while I rebuild the universe.

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Loop Hero is one of those video games that must be approached with care, a title capable of generating an insane vice that can jeopardize the rest of our obligations. A powerful idea that is positioned, from now on, as a candidate for the best indie video game of the year.