Billed as a union between Soulslikes and Tetris, Loot River delivers this intriguing mixture with type. Each second swings between slick puzzle-solving and clean motion. Gamers ought to anticipate to repeatedly die in Loot River’s darkly atmospheric ranges, with every demise setting you again to sq. one. Nonetheless, the thrilling gameplay and rippling pixel artwork make it exhausting to withstand another run.
I start on a raft; a pitiful mattress and discarded junk are scattered round me. I do know I’m within the Sunken Village, a miserable-looking place with rotting wooden decks floating atop murky waters, however not a lot else. The tone and cryptic story scream Darkish Souls, particularly once I discover a word: “This is no kingdom; it’s a tomb.”
Getting from place to put, irrespective of the extent, requires me to shift round multi-shaped platforms with the best joystick whereas controlling my character with the left. Navigating by way of slender corridors and platform-choked arenas makes me continuously swap from one form to the following simply to seek out my approach by way of. I used to be frightened this may be unwieldy, however after just a few moments of getting adjusted to the controls, it feels instinctual and offers a way of accomplishment outdoors of fight. The flowing pixelated waves following in my wake additionally give the world a splendidly dynamic really feel.
The procedurally generated, block-sliding labyrinths are by no means the identical twice, and the designers additionally do an amazing job at guaranteeing that every stage offers a singular problem. Tiered platforms or traps that set hearth to my raft add deeper, and generally pressing, layers to the traversal’s problem-solving design. I’m typically caught off-guard by enemies with sudden skills, just like the insidious monsters that lock a platform in place till killed.
The bizarre motion mechanic lends itself nicely to the fight. I typically cost up an assault, pull up subsequent to an enemy’s raft, and unleash a crushing blow earlier than gliding away untouched or utilizing a magic spell to go briefly invisible. Moreover this, parrying is my go-to technique. Getting the timing proper opens up my opponents to a devastating counterattack which makes me momentarily impervious. It’s unbelievable how highly effective touchdown that good assault feels.
Loot River’s heart-pounding fight and traversal-by-puzzle design are constructed on a roguelike basis. I struggle my approach by way of inventive and distinctive areas till an adversary lastly will get the higher of me. Then the method begins throughout on the first stage, with most of my hard-won upgrades misplaced. Development doesn’t work like a Souls recreation, and ditching that expectation early on helped me higher benefit from the expertise.
It’s tempting to equate Information, an in-game foreign money generally dropped by defeated opponents, to Souls from the sport’s inspiration. However whereas I may spend the useful resource to completely unlock higher gear from particular distributors, I couldn’t use it to improve my stats. Leveling relies upon totally on the variety of enemies defeated in a run, and usually each stat drops again to beginning ranges upon demise. Additionally, simply because I unlocked a brand new weapon or armor possibility with my Information didn’t imply I all the time had entry to it. There are some methods to affect what varieties of drugs I would have originally of a run, however getting hard-hitting weapons or stat-boosting equipment largely got here all the way down to what loot monsters dropped or what I may discover in chests. It may be a brutal and irritating cycle, however it is usually so satisfying to discover a game-changing merchandise early on or completely tailor my stats to that run’s wants. Even with this method’s hurdles, I all the time received sucked again into the fray.
It’s not all doom and battle, nevertheless. Efficiently clearing a stage or succumbing to an inevitable demise introduced me again to a tranquil hub known as the Sanctuary. The brilliant setting boasts chirping birds, a therapeutic monument, useful NPCs, and pettable chickens (which I visited between each mission for good luck). My quest, timeless state, and skill to shift the world underneath my toes are all linked to the relic on this peaceable zone’s heart. Whereas a little bit ambiguous, the narrative is thought-provoking. The characters certain to this miraculous and ominous object ask me to contemplate the value of its energy, at the same time as I fortunately take benefit of it to proceed the looping gameplay.
It took me a little bit over six hours to get my first victory display screen, however that wasn’t the tip of the sport. Unlocking the whole lot, uncovering secrets and techniques, and piecing collectively the lore are all part of the virtually inexhaustible expertise. It may be acutely irritating to fall sufferer to a first-level foe after almost making it to the final boss within the earlier run, however the recreation is tough to place down. Loot River reimagines a few of its inspirations’ finest parts, providing gamers an opportunity to sail cleverly by way of every setting, develop highly effective sufficient to slice up once-impossible threats, and unravel a narrative that neatly weaves into its gameplay.