Hey guys, it’s time for another review, this time I’m taking a look at Loot River. Coined as a “Souls-like” game with Tetris elements this is one interesting little game.
For starters, Loot River is an action based rogue-like game that was developed by STRAKA.STUDIO. It was also published by STRAKA.STUDIO and SUPERHOT PRESENTS. This game was announced back in 2021 and released on Steam for Microsoft Windows on May 3, 2022.
What you’ll get here is a fusion of puzzle solving and action based gameplay. Loot River kicked me in the behind more than not, and the reason for this is because I found the game to be fairly difficult. The iteration isn’t too bad when you die, thankfully, because whenever you die you’re booted back to the back to square one. If you die, then you’ll have to start all over at the first level. Your desperately collected upgrades will be lost.
The atmosphere casts dark shades and tones throughout the level design. It’s a little gritty, although charming. Generally speaking, the Tetris style comes into play because you have to move the level around to travel through it.
The dark and gritty tones begin literally upon the onset. You’ll play through sections of hovel filled with bloodied discarded waste and what looks to be the remnants of a disaster.
You’ll have to figure your way around these platforms with dark shadowy monsters and this is probably my one gripe about the pixel style art design. Although the world and gameplay flows well and certainly feels dynamic, it can also be difficult to discern what something is.
One might say this adds to the horror tropes just a little. One might also say that the style needs to be this way, and I’d actually agree with that. Loot River has levels that are procedurally generated, so the block-sliding puzzles and deep labyrinth that you traverse are never quite the same way twice.
Occasionally, you’ll come across tiered platforms and traps that almost remind me of Resident Evil when it comes to recalling your best escape route. the moment things go down-hill… and I promise you this; sooner or later things will go down hill. Surprise enemies with ranged abilities will knock your block off, and each moment the screen pans, you should be thinking ahead. It’ll keep you on your toes, I’ll say that much.
Honestly, I wish that I could say that the unusual movement mechanics provided for the gameplay pairs nicely with the combat, but I personally don’t think it does. Maybe it works better for those with quicker reflexes. You can use magic spells to go temporarily invisible, and I’m sure you can dart away from opponents if you’re fast enough. I’m often not fast enough, though.
Personally, I often ended up trying to parry and pray that it worked. Yeah, that’s where the majority of my deaths happened, I won’t lie. Trying to get the timing right takes a bit of learning for sure. Either way, at least it feels good to land a solid blow to your attacker.
Loot River to me isn’t as “souls-like” as so many people make nods to. Yeah, it’s hard, sure… but a lot of rogue-like games are hard. That’s kind of the nature of the game style. Clearly, Loot River has a strong foundation in the rouge-like genre. To me that’s where the comparison fits. That’s the best thing about it, you can play it endlessly and you’ll need to if you want to uncover everything.
Unlocking the upgrades, figuring out the tiny secrets, and piecing together the deeper lore of the story takes time. You’re not going to have it all figured out on the first play through, assuming you even survive that long, which I doubt.
The game isn’t perfect, but it is a lot of fun. You’ll be hard pressed to put it down. Die enough to cheap shots like I did, and you’ll be irritated too, I’m sure. That’s honestly why so many people make references to Loot River being a “souls-like” game.
I’m going to give it a solid three out of five stars. It’s middle of the road, but it does interesting things. I can’t deny it. Loot River gives a breath of fresh air to the pixel style of the rouge-like genre. If that sounds interesting enough for you then give it a try and see for yourself.
This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.
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