Demo Days – Loot River

Back on a Wednesday to talk about the demo I played over the weekend and by the weekend I mean very close to the moment I press the “Publish” on this poop website. This week I control a very pixelated main character that inhabits a world that eerily looks like a water-downed Dark Souls. This week I played approximately 25 minutes of the Loot River Demo.

Loot River prides itself on being a procedurally generated action roguelike. It is currently being developed by straka.studio and will be published by the former and SUPERHOT PRESENTS. The game will be released on Xbox and PC and the current release date is TBA.

There was not much context for a story in the demo, just that you die and are brought back to life. The developers have a grim excerpt for their game on the Steam page:

Drawn to shards of an unholy relic, wandering nomads have found themselves in a perpetual cycle of life and death, losing their sanity as they journey through endless parallel realities, devouring each other to absorb the knowledge of their fellow travelers. No two journeys are ever the same as countless lost souls float through the Loot River.”

Loot River aims to redefine the action roguelike by creating a mechanic that allows the player to control all of the pieces of the floating dungeon, which is a majority of the environment. Having access to change the environment at will creates seemingly endless choices whether it is for combat tactics or creating puzzles for the player.

I played on PC so the base controls are: Arrow keys move the player, WASD moves the environment, and QE is quick and heavy attacks, respectively.

Combat is pretty cut and dry. It most closely resembles Dark Souls in the idea that enemies hit extremely hard, so learning patterns are the key to survival. The demo allows for a small inventory of weapons, which extends to an array of short swords and a spear.

Obviously, the spear is the best.

Combat rewards the player with experience to level up and knowledge; the currency in which the player uses to spend at vendors to become MORE POWERFUL. Enemy types are pretty varied for the demo. A shadow creature, tank-ier hammer bad guy, a ranged bad guy, and a close quarter bad guy litter the dungeon. Health completely goes away? It will be okay as the player wakes up at the nexus area and then continues on as if nothing has happened.

The game looks really good, I especially like the water. When the environment moves the water reacts in such a mesmerizing manner. It is really nice to look at.

The sound is fine, nothing memorable.

For the time that I played Loot River I thought it was fun but there was something about it that really kept me from playing more. It really feels like nothing substantially sets it apart from other games. The shifting environment is cool but I don’t think that alone can make the game shine.

Do not get me wrong, the game is very fun and I will follow it until the game is released. I really like the idea of using the environment to the player’s advantage, but sometimes it can make the combat seem pretty boring.

At the end of the day, I liked the demo and it will stay in my Steam library right next to Grapple Dog.

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