One of the first games I reviewed for Popzara was Runers, a simple top-down shooter with an interesting system for creating your own spells. It wasn’t hugely innovative or anything, but it was solid, well-made and most importantly it supported quick play sessions. I’m always up for that kind of game, since I don’t always have a solid few hours to dump into time-sucking adventures like The Witcher 3, Horizon: Zero Dawn or whatever, and you really need some time to get immersed into a more in-depth game before you can start enjoying a session.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Loot Rascals, a game that’s perfect for this sort of coffee-break experience.
You’re stranded on an unfamiliar alien world! What’s worse, you don’t have any weapons or armor! I mean, you kind of do…I guess. Nothing conventional. You’ll have to make do with whatever you can generate out of your object-generating helmet, and that thing’s powered by cards dropped by hostile aliens, so you’ll need to get to killing and looting. Your overarching goal is to…well, not to spoil anything, but initially it’s to find a key component of an object-generating machine belonging to your employer. Suffice to say things get a little more complex (and Lovecraftian) very quickly.
Anyway, that card thing is the key to how Loot Rascals plays. You’ve got a “deck” of ten card slots, which you’ll fill with cards that can be arranged and re-arranged to your liking. Cards provide bonuses to your attack power and defense, which is crucial since you’re helpless without them. The degree to which a card boosts your stats will vary based on the card and where you place it; a card that offers +2 attack might instead give +4 if you place it in an even-numbered slot, for instance. This leads to conundrums where you’re trying to squeeze all your best bonuses in exactly the right spots, all the while quickly discovering that ten slots isn’t nearly enough. Finding new cards and figuring out how to best fit them into your kit is addictive.
What’s more, you also have to consider the time of day before you try to attack. Some monsters are diurnal while others are nocturnal; you want to attack when a monster isn’t active or they’ll get the first shot on you, which is likely to lead to your demise. Carefully plotting out where to move and when to attack is vital to success, and it also means that pushing for increased defense in your card deck is an option if you don’t want to faff about too much with all this day/night nonsense. Dying is certainly something to avoid, since your killer will get their pick of your cards then show up to harass other players using them; if you kill a monster doing this in your game, you can steal the other player’s cards for yourself…or give them back, I guess, but who does that?
Loot Rascals’ defining feature to most is going to be its art style, of course. It’s straight out of Cartoon Network, bringing to mind classic series like Adventure Time and Steven Universe. The characters and environment look great, though outside of cutscenes animation is fairly limited. It also sounds alright, though this is definitely one of those games that’s well-suited for putting on a podcast and zoning out while you build new decks and search for better cards. It seems complex at first, but once you’ve gotten the rules ingrained in your head, it becomes a mechanical joy to search and loot.
I’m always a fan of this sort of pick-up-and-play game like Loot Rascals, and the appealing art and creative deck system work together to make a game that’s a pleasure to drop twenty minutes into here and there. In a world full of 40-60-hour masterpieces and blockbusters, sometimes a nice short story of a game really hits the spot. That’s what Loot Rascals offers, and it’s worth your time to check it out.