There's nothing more satisfying than descending deeper in a rogue-like dungeon. But what if a game incorporated the simplicity of an arcade shooter into the mix? You get Heroes of Loot, so let's light our lanterns and see if this dungeon is worth exploring.
Before entering the dungeon, you first need to choose a hero. You can select from an elf, a warrior, a wizard and a valkyrie. Down the road, you can also choose a barbarian after you unlock him. Anyway, once you pick your hero and begin to explore, you'll quickly realise that this isn't your average dungeon crawler. The enemies are numerous, vicious, and agile so there's no time to hesitate. Controlling your hero of choice is easy since all you do is move them and push any button to shoot an array of projectiles. It's kind of like a twin-stick shooter but with your character constantly locked on to the nearest enemy instead of having to aim. As you progress deeper, you'll level up and discover a multitude of temporary and permanent upgrades that'll help you get even further. Dealing with the increasingly difficult enemy types is no easy feat so you'll need all the assistance you can get. In the end, it's simple, hectic, and above all else; fun.
Visually, Heroes of Loot doesn't set itself apart from the countless other retro-looking games. That being said, an interesting effect is that you're constantly shrouded in darkness which keeps you on your toes since you never know what's lurking in the shadows. If you own a PlayStation TV, you'll be happy that it looks quite nice on a television, too. After playing for a while, the handful of enemy types become familiar which eventually allows you to dispatch them with ease. The orchestral music that accompanies your battles contrasts well with the silly cutscenes and overall nature of the game. To complete the audio, the sound effects highlight the goofiness with old-school blips and occasional synthesized voices. Overall, it doesn't stand out from the crowd, but its looks and sounds don't fail to satisfy.
As previously mentioned, all you do is run around and throw projectiles at your enemies. There's not even any inventory management because everything you collect is automatically applied. This streamlined gameplay is great to pick up and play without any instructions although it might make more hardcore dungeon explorers thirst for something deeper. One aspect that frequently causes a great deal of frustration is the luck factor. Even though the gameplay is simple and easy to understand, sometimes the odds are stacked against you to a degree that simply isn't fair. Such instances include starting a level in front of insurmountable foes early on thus rendering you powerless against them or a tough enemy unexpectedly spawning only to have your life end within a fraction of a second. Games can be challenging, but when luck has this much of an influence; it just makes your skills feel inadequate no matter how good you are.
Probably the biggest downside to Heroes of Loot is that you can potentially see everything the game has to offer within a couple of hours. Of course, this depends on your skill level (and luck). Basically, there are no real boss fights or any other gauges of success besides getting a higher score and climbing the leaderboard. There are a few side-quests that you can complete, but they start to feel repetitive once you've done a few. In other words, after you unlock the fifth character and discover some decent permanent upgrades, you probably won't be compelled to carry on. Sure, you might pick it up every now and then to try and outdo your previous efforts since it is a generally entertaining game, but your enthusiasm will surely be tested sooner than you'd hope. To illustrate this, I unlocked the highest difficulty setting on my first attempt which took under an hour. After doing so, all I could think was, "Is that it?"
Heroes of Loot is a very fun game for those looking for some frenzied dungeon action on the go. However, be prepared for many frustrating moments and an overall brief expedition into the abyss.
- + Enjoyable mix of crawling generated dungeons and shooting hordes of enemies
- + Simple gameplay is easy to pick up and play
- + Plenty of silliness ensues
- - Luck plays way too much of a role when it comes to success
- - It doesn't take long to discover everything the game has to offer