Loop Hero Review

The first thing you learn about Loop Hero is that Loop Hero is a lot of things. It’s mainly a roguelike, but it’s also a dungeon crawler. Your hero dishes out attacks in turn-based fashion, yet gameplay also contains large elements of deck building. In lesser hands, such a concoction would be doomed to fail right from the very off. Here, however, developer Four Quarters has managed to smartly build upon these various genre influences to create one of the best RPG adventures of the year. A bit absurd considering it’s a wildly simple premise where you don’t actually control the titular protagonist. Needless to say, it proves just as addictive to play on Nintendo Switch.

Loop Hero Nintendo Switch Gameplay Screenshot
The beginning of each loop delivers a procedurally generated map, which may influence where you place certain environments.

Set in an ancient medieval land threatened by an incoming dark evil (that old chestnut), Loop Hero’s minimalist art style does well to convey just how much gameplay – or rather the lack of it – is king here, and wins out over story. It’s reinforced in how you don’t actually control the knight, rogue, or any of the other unlockable classes you’ll see walking around an endless path. Instead, it’s your job to see their mission through successfully for as long as possible, collecting the resources needed for upgrades and using clever card strategy to guide them through the smoothest journey possible.

You do this by changing and influencing the environment around the procedurally generated route, using cards that are constantly dished out to you. Most will inflict deadly threats upon your character – like how a castle can summon vampires to the specific tile you place it on. However, with great risk often comes great reward: said vampires also spit out useful gear and armour needed to make your character stronger, thereby increasing your chances to complete further loops. It’s the classic carrot-and-stick gameplay approach infused with an endless format, but it works to scratch that bit of your brain that enjoys completing moreish tasks.

Loop Hero Nintendo Switch Gameplay Screenshot
All Loop Hero battles are turn-based, but you can influence them mid-encounter by swapping in and out different gear.

One of the major ways Loop Hero stands out from other roguelikes and tactics titles on Switch is just how hands-off it is. With every new run and every new loop of the path, you’re in a constant state of preparation, deploying new cards and equipping items in the hopes that your hero will be strong enough to take on whatever the next in-game day will bring. Admittedly, this core gameplay cycle does take a while to get going – to the extent that it’ll take you more than a handful of runs before you’ve collected enough different cards to get anywhere past, say, loop ten. This is the point where the game really opens up, however, and the decisions you make back at the camp matter.

Speaking of which, as well as offering some brief respite, the camp you visit between loops is also the time to manage any roguelike elements you want to carry over. The more you play, the more visitors will arrive, letting you invest in, say, a smithy that will ensure you’ll start off with marginally better armour in all future runs. The herbalist’s hut, meanwhile, will see your hero able to brush away death up to three times before having to return. Are some of these camp areas more useful than others? Yes, but it’s a great method of influencing and adapting loops in ways that will increase your chances of surviving for longer. Very rarely in Loop Hero are you hitting your head against a wall because of this.

Loop Hero Nintendo Switch Gameplay Screenshot
Heading back to camp early on in a run will see you return with the maximum number of resources.

If there’s one small issue with the Nintendo Switch version of Loop Hero specifically, it’s that this was clearly a game designed to be played on PC. The mouse-and-keyboard controls are a dead giveaway, initially feeling quite unintuitive until you spend the time to learn the various face button shortcuts. Thankfully, a lot of this pressure is eased by how playing Loop Hero happens between two states: Adventure and Planning. The former has your hero move through the path, while the latter pauses the action indefinitely to let you deploy cards and take in the potential dangers lying ahead. However, from time of day to passive skills, there’s still always a lot of information on-screen.

Once you get used to the rather awkward presentation, however, it’s easy in Loop Hero to fall into a real-world cycle – one totally detached from the one in-game. For instance, various times did I fall into the trap of coming so close to finishing off a boss or chapter, only to then be defeated because my poor hero wasn’t prepared enough. You’d think this would be enough to make me want to take a break, but instead, it was all too easy to return to camp, plug in all the new resources I just earnt and start the process all over again. In this way, having Loop Hero playable in handheld makes the PC-centric controls worth it in the end.

Loop Hero Nintendo Switch Gameplay Screenshot
You can build camp buildings in any order, but later ones require the most resources.

Loop Hero is easily one of the biggest surprises of the year, managing to provide a thrilling “hands-off” experience, one that keeps you engaged and invested thanks to several genre-blending hallmarks that have you hungry for more. Clumsy UI aside, this is an addictive turn-based RPG unlike any other.

Loop Hero £13.49


Part roguelike, part card battler, and part turn-based RPG, Loop Hero is an addictive medieval descent where your lack of control actually adds to the sense of adventure. It takes a while to hit its stride but is worth it in the end.