Review: Loot Rascals

I’ve never played a game quite like Loot Rascals.

From the opening scenes in which you mysteriously crash land onto a moon, to the quest to rescue Big Barry – your huge robot head pal – from a space theme park, to the creepy, tentacled, pan-dimensional, time-altering beast living below, Loot Rascals is refreshingly creative.

That I’ve never met anything quite like Loot Rascals is mostly on me – I haven’t played many roguelikes before. But I see the error of my ways now.

At its essence, Loot Rascals is a turn-based romp through procedurally generated levels. Your goal is to find the exit, and along the way, kill or avoid a variety of rascals, steal their Loot Cards (which can add to your defence or attack), and not die.

Sounds straightforward, but game studio Hollow Ponds does wonderfully at setting it apart from other games.

Firstly, the characters. There are dozens of different rascals to fight, all with different behaviours (Whiskers will usually run away from you, whereas a Wom will try to fight you). They’re all unique, colourful characters, and one of my favourite things to do is to find out their names, which are often delightful.

Speaking of art, the game has a very distinctive, offbeat style which makes it fun to play over and over again.

On to actual gameplay: baddies drop Loot Cards which give you various abilities. You can then equip them, which can require some strategic thinking. Firstly, you need to choose how to prioritise attack and defence. Secondly, some have special abilities which are activated depending on their placement. And thirdly, you need to trade in cards to get tokens to heal. I was initially skeptical of the card system, but it adds a fun element to the game.

In addition, when you defeat an Elite Baddie, you get another player’s card, which you can choose to keep or return. That determines whether their Holographic Helper shows up to help or hurt you. It adds a nice social element to the game.

The only annoying thing is losing. When you die (you only have 5 hit points, and it’s fairly difficult to get more), the rascal that kills you steals one of your cards (they then show up in another person’s game), and then you lose all your cards. That puts you back at the very start, which is incredibly frustrating.

All in all, Loot Rascals is delightful. The online capabilities and daily challenges give it greater replayability, and despite the frustration of losing everything when you die (I’d prefer if it only bumped you down a level), it’s an addictive game.

For more information or to buy it, head to the Loot Rascals website.

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Sharona Lin

Founder and editor-in-chief of Pop Culture-y. Also writes, works in the public service and watches a lot of TV. Graduated RMIT with a Bachelor of Communications in 2014.

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