Within the last generation, Rogue-Likes have been gaining popularity. Quick, fun little games that can be extremely frustrating as much as they are rewarding, as you collect gear as you run through randomly generated levels, only to die a horrible death and lose all that gear and items and force to start back at the beginning.
Joining the list of similar games is Loot Rascals, the latest from Hollow Ponds which places as an eager astronaut out to explore and colonise a new world thanks to a substance called “Liquid Anything”. The substance is stolen by an evil entity which will not allow you to die and force you to fight various “Loot Rascals” as you attempt to leave the planet.
Like most Rogue-Likes, there is very little story to get in the way of what is important, the exploration and loot. For Loot Rascals, players are given set of procedurally generated areas to explore filled with rascals to fight, with a mission to find an escape pod and leave the area. Players will travel across hexagon tiles where crossing over to a new tile will move set an hour in-game time and move the rascals as well, giving you time to plan a strategy against hordes of enemies. The movement triggers the game’s day and night cycle, which can change how your opponents will react to you and whether you will strike first or second, an issue that can be life or death in this game.
Combat in Loot Rascals comes down to numbers, when starting a battle against a rascal, players attacking will use the number associated to their attack which will deliver a blow to the opponent’s health. When a rascal attacks, players defence points will guard them, however if their hit points are higher than your defence, your hero will take damage, however if your defence is over the amount of hit points, math steps in to give you a probability of blocking by dividing the hit points/defence points, allowing a possibility of still being hit if the opponent is still strong enough.
To get stronger, you’ll need to loot cards. Cards help boost characters attack and defence and up to 10 can be equipped at a time. Some Cards have special abilities, increasing stats if special conditions within, conditions like “Bottom Row +2” or “Card to Left: 0” which offers negative marks. This is one of the best parts of Loot Rascals as it offers strategy to make the best version of your hero as possible.
This leads to the problem with dying. Losing a fight will allow a rascal to steal one of your best cards, then throw the rest out. The cards stolen from the rascals will appear as a special item in another players game under control of a strong monster. Defeating the monster will give you the option to send the card back or keep it for yourself to defeat stronger enemies.
At first, the system for Loot Rascals can feel overwhelming. Simple Math plus inventory management on top of implementing strategy to react to the rascals can take some getting used to, but as you play along the it becomes so integrated that it works perfectly.
Loot Rascals is definitely not a game for everyone, some may be turned away by the cute graphics and music, as well as a more relaxed gameplay style than what is normally presented in Rogue-likes. Still, if you’re looking for a great introduction to the genre or something fun for your kids to enjoy, Loot Rascals comes highly recommended.