The river calls...

Review

Loot River Review

May 4, 2022

By: Will Quick

 
 
More Info About This Game
Developer
straka.studio
Publisher
SUPERHOT Presents
Release Date
May 03,2022 (Calendar)
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)

Whether it's a roguelike or a roguelite, their games are similar: Get as far as you can. The difference between the two is that the latter is more lenient in terms of giving you shortcuts and more gear to start your runs with. In the former, you can unlock items and gear, but you'll have to hope that you find them when you're wandering around the dungeons. That definitely seems to be the case with Loot River by Straka Studio. As a nameless warrior searching for secrets and truths, you'll spend a lot of time sliding around, learning, and dying repeatedly.

Reaching out.

 

Rogue-type games can alternate between having a deep story that you need to discover and having no story at all. Loot River walks along a line similar to that of Souls-type games in that there's the sense of an epic story, but you need to discover it for yourself. You start off as a nameless explorer in a place called the Sunken Village. You'll read notes from other fallen explorers as well as face the monsters that some of them have become. After you fall, you will revive in a mystic place called the Sanctuary with a mysterious Relic at the center. Now trapped in a seemingly endless cycle, your quest is to go further than any adventurer before you, seeking as much knowledge and glory as you can. A challenging setup that makes you want to push yourself.

Where to go from here?

 
 

When traveling along a river, you'll want to be an exciting and fun ride. Loot River has a lot of elements for such an experience. The first is the interesting visual choices it's made. There's a combination of 3D and pixel art that seems to blend well together. The environments are solid, and somber while still being detailed and rich. The character design seems to have voxel elements that made them look blocky while still having fluid animations. It makes them feel alive but still a part of this grim world.

Of course, you can't leave out the crown jewel of the game which is its navigation mechanic. Although you're playing as an individual from a zoomed-out perspective, running about on foot isn't the only way to get around. No matter what area you're in, you're always surrounded by water on pieces of ruins. However, these ruins have plenty of freedom as you possess the power to move them around. You can move whichever one you're standing on as long as it's not locked in by anything. This is your main way of travel and exploration while also being a giant puzzle.

 
 

Lastly, in a world like this, there's bound to be conflict. You'll face a variety of enemies who all have different tactics depending on your position among the ruins. Fighting them feels real and has an impact every time you strike and parry. Even though the ruins can be very disjointed, the layout and your dodging still allow you to remain mobile. It also gives you plenty of options in terms of engaging, disengaging, and evading fights entirely.

The boss is expecting you.

When riding down a river, things can be unpredictable especially when you hit rapids. Loot River does its best to maintain control but loses it at times. This includes the currency and trade system in place. You have access to two types of currency, Knowledge, and Gold. While Gold is fairly common, it can still take a while to amass a lot of it, and even then, any trader you find will only have one item for sale and will charge a decent chunk for it. Knowledge is needed to purchase objects to appear in drops for future runs, but the cheapest ones cost 20 and Knowledge is surprisingly scarce. So, not only do you need to be lucky enough to find some, but also survive long enough to spend it.

Then there come the boss encounters. Much like a Souls game, bosses can be very difficult and agile to make for a challenging fight. Other times, they can be overly slow and tedious with simple exploits that turn the whole encounter into a chore. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts or straight paths to the bosses should you fall, so prepare to do a lot of backtracking.

 
 

Approaching the waiting onslaught...
Loot River Review | Final Thoughts

Loot River is an isometric roguelike game that challenges you to puzzle your way through dungeons and fight through enemies. It has a great combination of aesthetics, solid combat, and an entertaining navigation system. Although, it can be stingy with its currency and prices with some bosses that need to take a few lessons. Overall, those are only some small bumps in an otherwise nice-looking and fun experience. So, gear up, learn some magic, practice your fighting, and prepare to die for all the loot this river holds.


TechRaptor reviewed Loot River on Steam with a copy provided by the developers. The game is also available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

Review Summary

Review Summary

8.0
A roguelike that a combo of solid combat and sliding block puzzles, but prepare to be broke a lot.

Pros

  • A good blend of 3D and pixel aesthetics with nice animation.
  • An interesting and thoughtful platform mechanic that works well with puzzles.
  • A strong and fluid combat system.

Cons

  • Imbalance in terms of gathering necessary currency and trading.
  • Inconsistency in terms of boss encounters and battling.