Loot Rascals
E3 2016: Hands-on Preview
Colin Burns Colin Burns


Hollow Ponds

Hollow Ponds



US Q1 2017

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Space kettles make the best butlers.
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Lay out your cards carefully to get buff.
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Watch out for space ogres!
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Which is it? Make up your mind!
"Loot Rascals is a refreshingly original concept executed with meticulous precision."

Loot Rascals is a roguelike and a card game on acid. Created by Hollow Ponds, a new studio started by Ricky Haggett, one of the guys behind the remarkably creative game Hohokum, Loot Rascals combines hex tiles, deck building, simple math and a Scottish teapot robot into a wholly original and addicting video game.

Loot Rascals is one of those experiences that is difficult to explain, but I will do my best to tell you about my experience playing the game in a noisy Sony booth with a member of the dev team at my shoulder helping me out. You crash land on a mysterious planet to gather loot. You move your character across hex tiles while walls and paths spring up around you. The enemies on screen move when you do and they will either come after you or run away. Every time you move a hex tile, a single in game hour passes. Day turns to night, night turns to day, etc. Whether the enemies are aggressive or defensive depends on whether it's day or night. Landing on the same hex as an enemy will initiate an automatic fight where you and the monster hit each other until only one of you remains. Who gets to attack first is determined by the time of day. It is a roguelike so death means losing your loot and progress as you're sent back to the start of the map. Planning out your moves so that you have the upper hand while engage enemies is the key to success.

Once you defeat an enemy, they drop a loot cards, which are how you buff your character. They can be arranged into two rows and five columns of card slots that add attack power and defense. Some cards get additional bonuses for being placed in a certain slot on the grid, like +2 attack if you put the card on the bottom row. You will constantly be shuffling your cards and breaking down unwanted ones. This gameplay loop of moving around on the map looking for the exit and then changing up my cards was a little overwhelming for me at first but I can imagine how quick and satisfying it could be for someone who masters the controls.

The art style is the real star of Loot Rascals. The wackiness reminds me of a 2D Katamari game. Your main character is a colorful little spaceman and the alien enemies have all manner of tentacles and other such oddities. The game is complete eye candy and it still manages to translate some of its more complicated systems, like the day / night advantages, through color. The game doesn't punish you for just standing around so I spent a while just staring in confused admiration at what was shown on screen.

Loot Rascals is a refreshingly original concept executed with meticulous precision. The game's mechanics are tightly woven together to create an experience you won't find anywhere else. Loot Rascals is perfect for gamers who are sick of the AAA release cycle and are willing to try something a little out there.

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