Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
Is it possible to say that one thing is more unique than another thing? Doesn’t sound right. Something’s either unique or it isn’t. But I’ll be damned if Loop Hero is one of the most unique games I’ve ever played. Watching your hero cycle endlessly around a closed loop, auto-battling ever-tougher enemies while you play tiles in and around the loop to help your hero “remember” their surroundings and grow in strength? Leave off a moment, please; my “intrigued” button needs a moment to recover.
Okay, I’ve recovered. What else?
Well, a lich is attempting to combat the heat death of the universe with his time- and world-altering magical experiments, which have seemingly split the universe into endless loops like the one you’re cursed to waddle around forever.
Oh, and you yourself are in charge of placing down enemies in your own path. The tougher you make your loop, the greater the rewards you reap – but it’s very easy for things to spiral out of control and become to challenging for you to handle.
Every time you fight, you can do nothing except watch. The battles are fully automated, and there’s nothing you can do to influence the outcome except what you’ve done in the leadup to the fight. I never expected this game to be nail-biting, but there have been a few moments throughout my Loop Hero playthroughs where I’ve been jumping up and down in my seat watching the health bars of both hero and enemy whittling down at devastatingly equal rates.
If Loop Hero sounds complex, it’s only because the ideas are so novel. The actual inner workings of the game are very straightforward, and you’ll likely have a firm handle on them after a single playthrough. After that it becomes all about strategy. In what layouts do you want to place these mountain and meadow tiles to best benefit your hero? Should you place down another skeleton-spawning cemetary in that u-turn, or will that be too much for you to handle? Little decisions which mean all the world to your little endlessly trundling stick figure.