Loot Rascals Review
For as many games as I've played I've never actually played a true "roguelike." I really didn't know what this meant until I played Loot Rascals. What appears to be a simple game with procedurally generated levels where you loot cards and strategically move one space at a time in an attempt to gain an advantage over an enemy, is surprisingly difficult due to the all too real threat of permadeath, but also incredibly satisfying.
At the start of every level, you have 250 turns to find the exit portal, which will take you to the next world. Each time you walk, loot a card, use an ability, or get into combat counts as a turn. Once you run out of the first 250 turns, extra enemies spawn after the next 50 turns until a monster spawns that pretty much causes instant death if he catches you. It's not too hard to find the portal once you have a firm grasp on Loot Rascals.
Loot Rascals feature 7 different types of cards; attack, defense, passive, ability, unique, burst, and mysterious artifacts. Attack and defense cards increase your damage and determine how much damage you can withstand respectively. These cards can also come with bonuses that will increase the strength of themselves or the cards around them. Passive cards don't need to be equipped to enjoy their benefits but do require tokens which are received from "decompiling" extra cards. Ability cards feature different spells such as healing, fire and lightning attacks, teleportation, freezing enemies, and decoys that will distract enemies. Unique cards have to be equipped but can give you extra health, additional points to your attack and defense cards, and other things that affect the actual gameplay of the game such as taking away your "turns" and replacing it with a time limit. Burst cards (which may not be there official name) will combine all of the equipped attack or defense cards into one super strong card, however you will lose any bonus those cards have. I finished the game and I'm still not sure what the mysterious artifacts do, but I can tell you this, don't decompile them.
Loot Rascals features a day/night cycle which changes every 5 turns and determines if you'll have an advantage or disadvantage over your enemies. The advantage that you want is the ability to attack first. Attacking first will not only damage the enemy first but it will also increase your chance of blocking. There are times where you find that no matter what you do you are in a situation where you're going to be attacked first, so in those instances just hope that you have a good amount of defense.
One of my favorite parts of Loot Rascals is the community aspect. During your adventure you'll find cards that once belonged to other real life player's characters who have died. You can choose to send the card back and be rewarded with the chance of finding a helpful hologram who will fight and take damage on your behalf or you can choose to keep it, which will result in the chance that an angry hologram will show up and try to kill you. I found myself only keeping the cards that either came with an ability and had a really good bonus. When you die (which you will a lot) people can choose to send the card back to you where you can find them back at your base. If people are nice enough you can easily start a round with a pretty decent inventory.
Loot Rascals also features one quest per level. Each quest is to kill a powerful named enemy and return the card to your base. If you do complete the quests you can receive additional health, a card that will reveal the entire map, 30 tokens, or 2 extra spaces for your inventory. Depending on how strong the enemy is and what your current attack/defense situation is you may find yourself passing on quests, but if you have the turns to spare and feel good about your situation, these quests are totally worth completing.
Because Loot Rascals is procedurally generated, you may be dead on arrival. There were times where I started up a new round only to find an enemy that meant certain death. There are also other situations that you'll find yourself surrounded by enemies where your only option is to die. Some of these may be at the fault of the player, but other times they aren't. Luckily, if you die, you can quickly start a new round and try again.
One of the other things that was frustrating for me was that Loot Rascals crashed on me way too many times. I understand that no game is free of bugs, but at one point I had found myself moments away from killing the final boss only for the game to crash. I had been playing the game for almost a week and had only reached the final boss about six times, only to have it taken away from me. This was probably an isolated event, but nonetheless, crashes are never a good thing.
In all honesty, I absolutely love Loot Rascals. It's definitely a challenging game that takes a lot of patience, but in the end, it's totally worth your time. I'd love to give it a 4.75/5 but due to the crashes the highest score I feel that I can give it as a 4/5. There's no doubt in my mind you won't regret purchasing Loot Rascals.
4 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Hollow Ponds for providing us with the code.