Compelling Retro Dungeon-Crawler Heroes Of Loot Plays Even Better With A Controller [Review]

Heroes of Loot

Sometimes, mindless dungeon crawling, at least within a video game, is good. I’ve never actually crawled a real dungeon, to be honest.

While I love deep, story-based games, sometimes I just want to roll around pixel-based catacombs, corridors, and rooms, bashing or blasting hordes of baddies as they converge upon my location.

Developer OrangePixel (Gunslugs, Meganoid) has figured out how to perfectly encapsulate the dungeon crawling experience within a pixel-perfect arcade eye-candy shell.

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Players will choose a character from one of four classes: Elf, Warrior, Wizard, or Valkyrie. Each character has its own strengths and weaknesses, but they all play as ranged characters; the difference is in their stats. The Valkyrie’s magic lasts longer and she gains experience faster, for example, while the Warrior is the strongest of the bunch, causing more damage than the other classes.

The heroes move through each randomly generated dungeon, killing bad guys like skulls, bats, slimes, and the like. Holding the fire button down releases a series of arrows, axes, or magic bolts (depending on class) that will kill said enemies in increasingly larger amounts of hits. There are random quests behind question mark-labeled doors, tons of loot to pick up, and an adorable storyline that shows our heroes to be as self-centered as possible. I mean, seriously, picking up gold and gems from the floor of some dark dungeon isn’t a real job, is it?

Heroes of Loot is a satisfying mashup of Rogue-like permadeath and Gauntlet-style gameplay and visuals. The soundtrack is delightfully old-school, too, with effects that brought me right back to the arcades of my youth. Sadly, there’s no multiplayer on the iOS version, a sad omission that I hope the developers will remedy soon. The Ouya version already has two player feature, and a four-player, true-Gauntlet-style experience would be sweet gaming nirvana.

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Playing the game with the included touch controls is pleasant enough, but dropping the iPad into an iCade, or using a compatible controller like the SteelSeries Free utterly takes Heroes of Loot to its obvious pinnacle. This is a game that’s close to perfect with physical controls and I can’t wait to see how it works once the team implements the iOS 7 controller APIs.

Even so, there are a few control glitches, like doorways. Getting the little heroes into and out of doors and around tight corridors can be a bit frustrating. There were a few instances of loot-losing permadeath due solely to getting stuck outside a quest door, leading to a concurrent few instances of cursing and button mashing.

What really makes Heroes of Loot so compelling is the complete focus on the core mechanics of exploration, combat, and collecting stuff. It’s perfectly suited to drop in and play for a bit, but also lends itself to longer play sessions, especially with a physical controller.

IMG_0065Game Name: : Heroes of Loot
The Good: Visuals and sounds are fantastic, solid gameplay mechanics, and retro sensibilities make this a must-play
The Bad: Touchscreen controls aren’t the best way to play, getting into doors is tricky.
The Verdict Heroes of Loot is a near-perfect blend of good-looking, retro-nodding, pixel-artistic, dungeon-crawling gaming goodness, equally good for short or longer play sessions. Needs a controller to reach its true potential.
Buy from: App Store

  

Cult of Mac rating: 5/5

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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