Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Distilling a genre down to its basic elements isn’t necessarily a difficult task, but doing it well absolutely is. Just cutting gameplay and other mechanical elements out at random won’t do; it really requires surgical precision. And yet, Orangepixel pulls it off so well with Heroes of Loot they make it look effortless.
Heroes of Loot, at its most basic, is what happens when a game like Gauntlet is combined with Roguelike elements. The four adventurers (Elf, Warrior, Wizard, and Valkyrie) are in it for the money and not much else. Once players select their character, it’s on to adventure! Or in this case something akin to an arcade dungeon crawl. Randomized dungeons, quests, and special items make an appearance along with permadeath, but it’s all been streamlined to the point that dying is merely a (very) temporary setback.
The most miraculous thing about Heroes of Loot’s simplicity is that Orangepixel managed to trim the fat but kept all the fun intact. Not only that, but they seem to have made the fun even more fun. Running through the halls and chucking weapons at enemies is incredibly quick and twitchy (in a good way), but the controls never get in the way because characters will automatically target whatever enemy is closest to them. On its own, something like this could start to become dull but thanks to the occasional quest room, complete with random quests, there’s always some sort of goal to strive for. Aside from the mass destruction of a dungeon's ecosystem, I mean.
The second most miraculous thing about Heroes of Loot is that pretty much any complaint that could be leveled at it has already been addressed. Stages are big enough to enjoy a bit of exploration/enemy hunting but small enough that they don’t require any sort of mini-map. The RPG elements never get in the way of the gameplay, but they make a difference with a character’s increased strength and improved weapons. Shops only ever sell one item, and it’s random, so there’s no real pressure to save up for anything in particular so players can focus on the adventuring. Virtually every single aspect of the game has been designed to compliment the core gameplay, and it’s a spectacularly impressive feat.
I’m not so naïve as to think that Heroes of Loot will appeal to everybody. However, I’ll be totally shocked if it doesn’t become a favorite among iOS-wielding Roguelike/RPG/Gauntlet fans.