With the trailer of loot rascals setting the tone for the game, I was ready for something visually and narratively different and that is what I got. Although I was umming’ and arrring’ during my first five minutes but then two hours past and it was good. I found myself compelled by new foes, new cards and a strange pink creature that keeps bringing me back to life.
Loot rascals is a turned based card collecting strategy game rougelite that at first seems like a casual take on rougelites with simple mechanics and looking like an old cartoon, But is fast to bring you up to speed with its high level of difficulty and quick resets. When you die you are not given any information about your run or returned to a menu you are simply put in a new world at the beginning and you go again.
But dying might not be as bad as it sounds when defended the rascal that bested you will steal a card from you before all the others disappear, This rascal will then appear in someone else’s game if they beat it they are given the option to send you the card back or keep it for themselves if they send you the card you can pick it up from a postbox in any level hub and as a reward a hologram of you will join them for a few fights as a thank you, If they take the card to gain its benefits your hologram will be hostile and attack them on your behalf. You can also (If you find one) use a rocket ship to send a card to another version of yourself meaning on your next run this card will crash land next to you and you have a bit of a boost on your next run pretty handy.
Your cards (loot) Massively effect the foes you can take on. It’s a large part of the game deciding what cards to keep swap and so on. Moving into a rascal starts combat, combat in loot rascals involves no input from the player with your character exchanging blows with your opponent until one of you fall over, A key mechanic of loot rascals is the day-night cycle with some monsters attacking first in the day while others attack first during the night, Every time you move into a new hex that’s a turn after five turns of day it becomes night, also lasting five turns.
The UI is fit to propose and the information that you need is displayed clearly cards also give clear descriptions of their effects and are varied keeping the loot interesting although you are still happy to get basic cards as they can be converted into tokens and used for healing.
With a large variety of rascals out to kill you, it will not take you long to realise they all have little quirks including varied movement speed, day-night cycle manipulation, ranged attack and sleeping, To name a few.
A symbol above the heads of you foes lets you know if they attack or defend first meaning you don’t need to learn what attacks when. And with only five health points at the start of the game getting the first hit in can be very important, I found myself prioritising attack cards more than defence cards, I then made sure I hit first and bested my foe in a single hit.
Typing of cards the theme of the game is fantastic with your original mission: check on a set of holiday resorts your loot then ranges from a pair of shorts to bowling balls and even a sapphire shuttlecock these cards have attack or defence values as well as having effects on other cards depending on their placement in your collection and in some cases the types of cards you have.
I do have a soft spot for inventory management so sorting new cards into my collection was enjoyable now and then it felt like a puzzle game trying to get the most out of my space and making sure I had the correct stats for the foes I was about to encounter. Even with you collection full it will not take long to find replacements or abilities, Abilities are upgrades for a card that then allow you to used that ability when it is charged but the dilemma is once a card has an ability on it that you cannot remove it so if later you replace that card you also lose the ability. Teleporting, shooting fire and decoys can come in pretty handy.
With your goal to make it through each area to an exit, keep in mind you want to get as much stuff out of each level as possible while it’s not necessary to hunt down every monster you can see it’s not the worst idea. This holds true to most roguelike/lite games.
And just to keep the pressure on you don’t have all the time in the world to dance around your foes waiting to get that first attack in taking too many turns and soon you will have more than rascals to deal with.
The narrative of loot rules is refreshing and has an attitude and style I appreciate, After crash landing while on your way to do repairs for an outer space holiday camp you find yourself surrounded by rascals and plan to escape the planet, video here.
With technology obsessed rats, muscled birdmen, Fire rabbits, sleeping wrestlers and many more colourful characters I have not yet blasted in the face, loot rascals visuals are both charming and worrying with a psychedelic stream of colours and creature monster rascal things. The cut scenes are lovingly animated with the harmony between the visuals, soundtrack and voice acting really selling this fantastically silly universe.
Review code provided by the Hollow Ponds