Loot Rascals is a randomizing, roguelike dungeon-crawler that features everything from evil biscuits to collectible cards. At first glance, it’s a familiar premise wrapped in a brightly colored package: You’re a hero who has crash-landed on a strange planet filled with baddies, and it’s up to you to conquer them and the evil bubblegum-looking villain called The Thing Below who has captured your best friend, Big Barry (who is really a jumbo robot head, so no wonder he can’t defend himself).
The plot’s simplicity is one we’ve seen many times before but can be spun a million different ways, and Loot Rascals definitely provides its own refreshing take. For those who are looking for a story-driven plotline, turn away now. But for those who love nonstop gameplay, unexpected twists around every corner, and a true challenge when you play something, then read on.
I read one player describe Loot Rascal as reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon, and that description hits the nail on the head. From the strong, cheery shades that illustrate the game’s day cycle to the deep, saturated blue and purple tones that envelop the night, Loot Rascals floods your screen with eye-catching color and animations from the moment you turn on the game.
The character design itself is one to be admired, as there’s no shortage of quirky bad guys to take on as you work your way across the hex-style planet.
Your own character resembles the courageous, plucky kid heroes who ruled 90’s cartoons. I could easily see the colorful space suit and ray gun become a Halloween costume for our hero’s biggest fans, and it’s not hard to envision Loot Rascals plastered across walls in bright posters, paraded around on backpacks, and stacked on shelves at Scholastic Bookfairs.
Even the antagonists of Loot Rascals stand out, and as you play, you’re bound to pick favorites.
Hollow Ponds, the dev studio behind Loot Rascals, makes it clear that they want to take video games back to a time when they revolved heavily around skill, challenge, and the triumph that is only rewarded after hours of hard work and dedication. I don’t play a lot of dungeon crawlers or roguelike, turn-based games, so take it from someone who has no bias or experience clouding their judgment: Loot Rascals presents the type of addictive play that makes parents worry about their kids.
It’s all-too-easy to get sucked into the constant battle, especially when success in beating an enemy may only lie in collecting one more card to up your attack ability. Cards are where all the strategy lies in Loot Rascals since everything else is completely randomized. This means Area 1 (out of 5) will never be the same no matter how many times you run through it, and while that may sound anxiety-inducing to some, it’s that exact lack of permanence and risk that makes Loot Rascals so enticing.
You will primarily collect two types of cards throughout the game: attack and defense. Each of them offer unique boosts and can have additional bonuses unlocked if you manage to arrange your deck according to each card’s perk’s requirements (like being placed in column four or having a card to its right).
I wish I could offer advice on how to compile an unbeatable deck, but again, since Loot Rascals is a completely randomized game, there’s no telling which cards you’ll get in a single play or how many baddies you’ll have to take down to get the best ones.
Don’t let that deter you from trying the game, though. While the Minecraft-esque permadeath that results in the total absolvement of all your objects and progress may be intimidating, there’s a certain freedom that comes with the promise of eventual total loss. Instead of worrying about being “the best”, Loot Rascals allows you to simply live in the moment and just have fun. All while fighting as hard as you can to reach the end of an area before some disquieted biscuit or bossy robot decides to show you who’s boss.
At $15, Loot Rascals is easily worth its asking price. The game may not be one you play every day, but it’s guaranteed to become a title you can always turn to for a pleasant distraction. That isn’t to say Loot Rascals isn’t capable of being an addictive title; for the roguelike diehards, it’s a surefire hit, and the fact that it’s kid-friendly makes it a game players young and old can both enjoy.