Game: Lootbox Lyfe+
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows), PS4 & Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Conradical Games | Ratalaika
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US E
Price: US $9.99 | UK £9.99 | EU € 9,99
Release Date: February 24th, 2023
Review code provided with many thanks to PR Hound.
Time for a bit of backstory. When I was younger (and more attractive), I used to commute a very long way for work, mostly via train. When I wasn’t playing Resident Evil 2 on my PSP for the 27th time I was actually learning to develop games on a really weak netbook using GameMaker. A lot of the early lessons I learned during this process involved programming a ball to respond to controls.
I remember spending many commutes trying to get the physics for the ball to my liking, and it remains a fond memory today during a challenging time in my life. Playing Lootbox Lyfe+ felt like someone took these old programming lessons and turned them into a pretty decent adventure game.
The Curse of Loot Boxes
Lootbox Lyfe+ is a 2D platforming adventure game that features gamers’ favourite controversial talking point loot boxes. Let’s get the good news out the way; this game contains no microtransactions or any of the gatcha tactics associated with loot boxes. The plot for this game is surprisingly deep, considering you play a rolling ball called Liam Cappello, the last of the Xoobotl left. This species lived in a world of Lootbox Lyfe but decided to forgo essentials like food and water over loot boxes. Maybe this game is a cautionary tale to the gaming industry about the true horror of loot boxes.
Anyway, Liam needs to explore the world to save his species; to do that, he’ll need the assistance of the one thing that destroyed his species, the dreaded loot box. While the theme of loot boxes didn’t do much for me, I was impressed by the developer’s commitment to the plot. As you explore the world, you experience the remnants of your fellow balls, finding lost notes and flashbacks to how the world once was. It’s not bad, considering you play a rolling ball.
Unlock and Explore
The gameplay is straightforward. You start the game with no abilities but soon discover a few loot boxes that unlock your basic abilities, such as movement and jumping. Before long, you’re wall jumping, slamming and dashing. Once you make it through the first main area, you are then given free rein to explore the world, seeking out more loot boxes to unlock abilities and ultimately access the final area.
The game provides a map to give you an idea of the regions to explore, which you can tackle in whatever order you choose. You’re able to unlock fast travel spots to help you to return to previously explored areas, to access previously inaccessible areas once you have the right ability. During your travels, you can also find several hidden coins which can be exchanged at a shop for new hats or even hints to point you in the right direction of the next loot box.
Tune To Your Liking
All in all, this is an experience that is pretty by the numbers when it comes to an adventure game. But unlike the typical formula, you will encounter no enemies in this game. All the gameplay is essentially precision platforming, avoiding spikes and hazards and remembering to jump at just the right spot. Before those of you who hate this design switch off, the game does provide a generous amount of difficulty and accessibility options to make the experience more welcoming to all audiences.
When you begin, you can opt for more health and checkpoints, but once you have made these choices, they are locked in for the rest of the game unless you restart. Whatever difficulty you select, though, you can toggle various accessibility options on and off. This includes unlimited jumps, walking on water, invincibility and a few more. This is an experience to tailor how you want, making it welcoming to gamers of all skill levels. Once you complete the main game, you can return and attempt a speed run mode which cuts out the cutscenes and focuses fully on the gameplay. In this instance, you can try ‘free roam’ mode, which should be called free roll mode. This unlocks all your abilities from the start of the game and allows you to explore.
Graphics are the familiar detailed pixel sprites. I really dug the ball-rolling animation. Though how his eyeballs weren’t hurting with movement caused pause for thought. There is a decent variety of areas to explore, from caverns to fungal wastelands. It’s well-detailed, but this pixel art style’s feel is very familiar. Performance is great on TV and handheld. I found the soundtrack to be just ok, not really doing anything special.
Conclusion – Roll With It
Lootbox Lyfe+ is a good 2D adventure game, but it still feels pretty formulaic for the genre. The game doesn’t do anything wrong, the controls are solid, the accessibility options are welcome, and I admired the developers’ focus on platforming. It feels like it needs a bit more risk-taking to set it apart from the crowd. But hey, if you are looking for a solid coffee game, it’s not a bad way to spend a gaming weekend or even a long commute on a train.
Final Verdict: I Like it