Heroes of Loot Review: Looting on a Budget
Heroes of Loot is a truly refreshing blend of simplicity, playability and charm all rolled into a package that can be had on the Vita for less than $5. A product of Abstraction Games and Dutch developer Orangepixel, Heroes of Loot never lets itself become encumbered by story. From the get go, you’re given all you need to know about this world- wisecracking heroes are trying to journey deep into a dungeon and the farther they advance, the harder things permanently get.
The game nails a minimalist, 8-bit inspired style that works for a rogue-like dungeon crawler that wouldn’t be out of place on the NES. Bright games filled with sprites tend to look wonderful on the Vita, and this one is no exception.Advancing through the floors of the dungeon is one of two main goals in Heroes of Loot, the other is, well, to pick up as much loot as you can.
Heroes of Loot plays like a twin stick shooter. Control is mapped to two inputs, making things exceedingly simple. Move your character with either the Vita’s D-pad or the left stick, and use any of the face buttons, shoulder buttons or right stick to shoot. There are five main character classes to choose from (with one unlocking late in the game) and while they all play virtually the same, there are subtle differences that made me want to experiment with each one, pushing to venture farther into the dungeon to see how their unique skills developed.
You won’t find any deep, branching skill trees here. Each level gained increases stats, and items can add buffs to your existing skills. I found the warrior to be especially useful, as I mowed down hordes of baddies and shook off most basic enemy attacks. Shortly after, during my run with the Valkyrie, I took full advantage of her ability to level up quickly, gaining nearly double the experience I garnered with the warrior.
The rogue-like elements of Heroes of Loot deliver that classic “one more go” feeling. As your heroes rank up, their attacks increase and your loot flow rises, as well. More loot means better gear from the numerous shops throughout the floors. Cloaks that make you invisible to ranged enemies and a lens of secrets that illuminates hidden areas stocked with items are just a couple of the goodies up for grabs. However, in classic rogue-like fashion, get overwhelmed by enemies in a later floor and you start from square one.
Heroes of Loot delivers incentive to come back, as after fully upgrading your dungeon, each hero can dive back into the fray to try to collect permanent upgrade items that can start them at higher levels or increase their stats from the beginning of a run.
These incentives are nice for those looking to squeeze life out of the title, but Heroes of Loot’s enemy types and environments quickly become mundane. The package is short on musical and aesthetic variety, and while working to fully upgrade your characters and collect all of the items adds some depth, Heroes of Loot isn’t something you’ll spend hours playing. Even still, it’s an exceedingly charming game worth a pickup for any Vita owner. What Heroes of Loot proves is that simplicity, especially among handhelds, is generally a wise design choice.
For the price, it’s tough to find a more enjoyable dungeon crawler on the Vita. It’s worth a look, as long as you’re willing to keep your cool when a late level fills the screen with fireball-slinging enemies, cutting down a 45-minute dungeon run. Even if rogue-likes or dungeon crawlers aren’t generally your cup of tea, Heroes of Loot’s intuitive game-play and humorous approach to storytelling are still worth a play.
Final say: Play it