Loop Hero Review

Game: Loop Hero
Genre: Strategy, Roguelite, Deckbuilder
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC through Steam, Epic Games, and GOG)
Developers | Publishers: Four Quarters | Devolver Digital
Age Rating: US Teen | EU 12+
Price: US $14.99 | UK £13.49 | EU € 14,99
Release Date: March 5th, 2021 (PC) | December 9th, 2021 (Switch)

No review code was used; I purchased the game myself.

Loop Hero feels like caring for an advanced Tamagotchi. It’s addictive and cute (in a gothic way).

It’s not a simulation game, though. While marketed as an “endless RPG,” freedom to role-play is absent, so Loop Hero strikes me as a strategy game. There are deck-building and town-building elements. There’s a kind of story and surprising amounts of lore, but they’re just icing on the cake. Some have likened it to an idle game, yet it’s hardly idle as I’m micromanaging my Hero a lot. Whatever this game is, though, I’m loopy for it!

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
Looks vibrant with Villages, Wheat Fields, and Outposts.

Let’s Get You in the Loop

Here’s the basic concept: the Hero walks around a circular road, automatically battling monsters. That automation is the “idle” part. You don’t issue battle commands. You simply watch the Hero’s health and provide what he needs, like better equipment and monsters to fight.

If this is an RPG, you’re the gamemaster as much as the player. You decide what enemies to toss in, plus when and where. It’s about balance: adding enough challenge so the Hero will grow stronger, but not too much that he expires prematurely.

At the end of each loop around the road, the Hero heals partially at a campfire. There’s no traditional levelling up. Improvement in stats comes solely from equipment, terrain cards, and camp upgrades. You get these through loot from defeated enemies.

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
In the beginning, the world was formless and empty. Besides a road, a camp, and several slimes.
LadiesGamers Loop Hero
The deckbuilding aspect of Loop Hero is selecting a pool of terrain cards that may appear in your next expedition.
Before each new expedition, you pick a deck of terrain cards. These will potentially appear as loot from enemies. Cards like Meadow and Mountain improve the Hero’s health, while cards like Cemetery and Swamp spawn enemies on the road.

What else happens? You figure out the rest by trial and error, which is part of Loop Hero‘s fun. I’m 20+ hours into the game, and there’s still more to discover.

Run or Risk?

Enemies grow more powerful each loop, though so does the equipment they drop. When things get too hairy, you can bolt for home. Two options here. You can wait to reach the campfire, which allows you to retreat to “Camp” with all resources collected (though all equipment is lost). Or, you retreat mid-loop and keep 60% of your resources. It’s a painful but good compromise.

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
“You consider returning to the cozy camp right now, while you’re still alive…” Fight or flee?

Either option is better than dying because death means you only keep 30% of your resources. That may seem generous for a roguelike/rogue-lite, and it is. But the real penalty is feeling that you’ve wasted time grinding for resources.

That encourages me to play safe. Still, the lure to keep going is strong. More than a few times, I’ve chosen to risk and regretted it. But most of the time, my Hero reaches the end of a loop and heals, which is relieving and exhilarating. I get pumped up for another round.

It’s these risk-reward tensions that make the basic loop engaging. About 10 hours in, I noticed how much I enjoyed these expeditions and had forgotten about fighting the chapter boss. Loop Hero is the kind of game that’s still fun even when you make little progress towards the main goal.

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
Glad I focused on improving my evasion stat.
LadiesGamers Loop Hero
Preparing for a new expedition.

Home Sweet Home

At times, I’m so focused on collecting resources to upgrade the Camp that I forget about fighting bosses.

Each time you start a new expedition, you begin from scratch—an empty road, no equipment—except for permanent benefits from Camp buildings. Camp buildings provide a wide variety of benefits.

Some are directly helpful for boss battles, like the ability to resurrect once per expedition or to drink healing potions. Other buildings unlock new terrain cards like the Arsenal (granting the Hero an extra equipment slot) or Vampire Mansion (adding an enemy Vampire to every nearby battle). Two buildings unlock new Hero classes.

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
The early days of my camp.
LadiesGamers Loop Hero
All sorts of buildings to discover, and most can be further upgraded.
You never know how useful an upgrade is until you try it. Unfortunately, I’ve regretted building things too early or choosing a poor location on the map grid. Let me warn you now: Certain buildings can only be placed next to certain buildings. You can demolish buildings, but it takes ages to gather resources to rebuild. So I wish upgrades were less expensive. Though the main game can be defeated in 20 to 40 hours, I’m expecting closer to 60 hours at my leisurely pace.

The point of all these Camp upgrades is to grow strong enough to beat the game’s four main bosses. It’s up to you when to tackle these showdowns.

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
Some terrain tiles affect other tiles within range. Storm Temples strike random targets (including me!).

Staying in the Loop

The game’s mysteries and variations are what keep me playing.

What happens if I build this or equip that? Will I discover a secret new terrain if I play my cards this way? It’s nice to discover new enemies (they have cool portraits and interesting dialogue). These mysteries are a double-edged sword, though. I like surprises and figuring out the game rules. But Loop Hero errs from being too opaque and too hands-off about teaching the player.

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
Take breaks and you’ll be fine.
LadiesGamers Loop Hero
My happy world is inhabited by hostile spiders, ratwolves, harpies, and even hostile scarecrows.

As for variation, every run is different enough. I’m not always aiming for the same goal each run. Having to grind for different resources encourages me to play different terrain cards and confront different enemies.

Also, there are currently three Hero classes to experiment with. Warrior is the starting class. Rogue can potentially deal more damage quickly but receives no new equipment until the end of each loop. Necromancer is physically weak but can summon skeletons to fight for him. Of these three, the Necromancer is most interesting.

All three classes are enjoyable, bringing different rules, Hero stats, unique traits, and equipment types. The developer is still working on new content for Loop Hero, and adding a new class seems to be part of their plan.

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
It’s nice to have other folks on my side, even if they’re skeletons.

I’ve played the game on two platforms. PC controls are more convenient. But Switch controls aren’t bad either, though pressing the shoulder buttons is slightly tiring. Even for a Switch Lite, the font size is fine, so I’ve stuck to the handheld version. It’s great for 10-minute sessions in between activities.

LadiesGamers Loop Hero
Instead of a levelling system, the Hero improves his stats mainly through stronger equipment.


Loop Hero is unique and addictive. I’m always up for another round. I love the gloomy but charming art and music. The only thing I find annoying is how expensive Camp upgrades are, which means lots of grinding. Still, grinding doesn’t feel pain because the basic gameplay loop is so enjoyable. It’s fantastic value for money and not a tough game, as roguelikes go.

Final verdict: I Like It A Lot

I like it a lot

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.