Roguelikes have become all the rage as of late. Being able to jump into a game without having to worry too much about overbearing characters or complicated plots is refreshing sometimes. If you think about it, roguelikes are reminiscent of games like The Legend of Zelda. and Super Mario Bros, which I recently picked up for the NES Classic. Testing yourself to see how far you can get is both amazingly frustrating and viciously rewarding. You will cycle between these two emotional extremes repeatedly in developer Hollow Ponds’ new roguelike, Loot Rascals.
Have you ever just been going about your normal day when all of a sudden an elder beast decides it wants to enter your reality. This happened to me on Monday and it sucked! In Loot Rascals you play as an astronaut on your way to a space theme park that is being built. The plan: land on the planet, built a kick butt theme park, go home.
However, when you arrive you realize that the planet has been overrun with monsters and that an all-powerful entity wants to use you to enter our plane of existence. You could just leave, but your pal Big Barry is being held hostage by the beast and being used as a knowledge bank. Your only hope is to loot all the rascals ahead of you as you make your way to your friend.
The art style in this game reminds me of the show The Misadventures of Flapjack, with nightmare creations stalking every inch of the grid map. Each space on the grid represents a turn, with 5 turns resulting in a day/night shift. When monsters are killed they have the chance to drop loot cards. Loot cards are used to raise the attack and defense of your character and help you stand up to the horrors that await you.
If you die in this cthulhuian nightmare you will be resurrected by the elder beast and forced to start over, however, you will only start with the base cards. And, to add insult to injury, your best card will be taken from you and dropped into the world of a random player. When they grab the card from the corpse of a fallen enemy they have the option to give it back to you or keep it for themselves. Either option will result in a teammate for battle or an enemy on the field.
The cards you collect in the game go on a 2 x 5 grid in your inventory. Certain cards need to be placed on the grid in specific places if you want to get an extra bonus to them. This means that you have to be strategic about the placement of cards. Extra cards can be used as currency to heal your character if they take to much damage.
Base areas are safe havens that offer missions and a protecting from the hordes of enemies but it takes turns in order to move in and out of the haven so it isn’t smart to keep going back. You must also be careful how long you stay in each level. Every level has a timer running and the closer it gets to zero the worst your chances of survival will be. Don’t be afraid to book it off of a level in a quick fashion.
Loot Rascals can be described as an amalgamation of several types of gameplay. With card management, board placement, and heavy emphasis on speed this game requires you to keep an eye on several different factors if you want to make it to the end of a level. Due to this level of unpredictability, there is a certain amount of replayability. Overall, Loot Rascals is a good time and I would like to see how this system get built upon.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Gameplay - 8/10
Design - 9/10
Plot - 8/10
Loot Rascals is a delightful roguelike with card management attributes that takes “loot hoarding” to a new level. If you are looking for an adventure with an art style right out of an Adult Swim cartoon, than this game is the one for you.