Loot River PC Review

Loot River is a weird combination of Tetris, roguelike, and soulslike but it just works.

By Yagmur, Posted 17 May 2022

Have you ever looked at Dark Souls and thought “Hmm… This could be harder”? Or have you ever looked at Dead Cells and thought “Hmm… I think I want to play Dark Souls”? Or have you ever looked at Tetris and… Well, forget it. This game does it all.

Loot River is so many genres in one. One can only mention John Keats while describing this game as it can only be defined in reference to other games. I can only describe the game as a 2D soulslike and roguelike puzzle platformer. Like a soulslike, you lose everything when you die. As a roguelike, you start over and over again with your level restarted. Like a puzzle platformer, you get around by moving Tetris shaped platforms under your feet. As I said, it is many things at once.

Thus, it is a serious hit-or-miss. Trying to be so many things all at once, Loot River gets its own identity confused. And this is exactly what makes it appealing to a small type of player. To love this game, you have to love more than two genres and it is a hard crowd to please. Loot River can be addicting and frustrating, it depends on whether the player is into these genres all at once.
 

Loot River, PC, Review, Soulslike, Roguelike, Tetris
 

The game warns you that it is going to be a hard game from the start. A small reminder pops up to tell the player that the difficulty setting can be changed later. The game keeps its promise- It is, indeed, very hard. Too hard for its good, in fact. Like so many soulslike games, this game also suffers from the input lag disease. It is probably intentional, but it is hardly fun when only your attacks are delayed. Nearly all the other enemies are faster. There is an animation lock as well, at least in the normal mode: I am not quite sure whether this is intentional or not but in a 2D game like this one, where there is no indication as to whether your weapon or dodge is cooling down or not, animation lock feels almost pointless. It is almost like the feature is only there to make the game harder.

Another complaint is that Loot River is too short of a game. It is very hard to beat, so it can take a couple of hours but the number of enhancements you can get is very limited too. The problem here is that this contradicts its roguelike aspect completely. Roguelike has a very big replay value. Means, you can always come back to it and enhance your character, fight a few bosses, and leave whenever you want. Though roguelike is hard too, it can be a very casual game. Loot River, however, just kind of… ends. The possibilities are not endless here.

But the Tetris-like aspect of it is what makes the game much more fun. You can use the blocks to strategically position yourself against an enemy. You are creating a map for yourself using the assets that the game provides to you, and that is very innovative. You can even make use of the mobility of the ground and save yourself from getting hit by an enemy. The map is its greatest strength, and this is exactly why I think the game is a lot more promising than we all think it is.
 

Loot River, PC, Review, Soulslike, Roguelike, Tetris
 

I also mentioned that Loot River feels like a puzzle platformer sometimes. This is because there are some points where the game feels like one big puzzle that you must solve to get from point A to point B, but it is also fun to figure out which piece you should move. Come on, it has movable platforms, of course, it is going to be a puzzle game!

You are thrown into a story that is told very cryptically and vaguely; one you can only follow through notes left on some of the platforms you happen to go across. Loot River does not attempt to force you to understand the story, much like Dark Souls and Dead Cells. But, like Dark Souls and Dead Cells, this is completely fine because the story is bound to be overshadowed by the gameplay.
 

Loot River, PC, Review, Soulslike, Roguelike, Tetris, Indie Games, NoobFeed
 

Although a lot of people complain about the parry and dash animations, I found no problems with that. In my playthrough, I have not run into any bugs regarding these two. Or any bugs, for that matter. I think that parry is satisfying, and dash is a lifesaver. You can count on me in this matter- As someone who prefers to dash instead of parry in almost every game, I was able to get a good look at the dash animation.

Lastly, we need to talk about the studio. The studio is incredibly sweet and responsive, so let us applaud them for that. For instance, there were not enough loots in this river at the launch of the game. Every level is randomly generated, so the game did not care whether or not you already had a better weapon. You just got a weapon, and you were done. The studio listened, took responsibility, and fixed this situation by enhancing the chances of getting better items from the chests. They have also reportedly read and responded to many negative reviews by releasing a patch just a few days after the launch, making the game so much more fun.

Overall, Loot River is a soup of so many genres: It is soulslike, roguelike, puzzle, and platformer. Therefore, it appeals to a very small group of people, which is completely fine. Loot River is much more promising than what it appears to be on the surface: The ability to essentially create a map for yourself is a very obvious feature and yet it is rarely ever used. It is a strange mix, but it just works out in the end.
 

Yagmur Sevinç (@yagmursevvinc)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Loot River

70/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): straka.studio, SUPERHOT PRESENTS, SUPERHOT Team, Straka.Studio s.r.o.
Developer(s): straka.studio
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Third-Person Action
Release Date: 2021-12-06

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