Hack, Slash, Loot caught my interest on steam, due mostly to the fact that it is a roguelike game, similar to other roguelikes this game features random dungeons, random enemies and most importantly random loot. I’ve played about with Nethack and other games similar to it, so I was curious to see what it would do differently.
When you first start the game you have a choice between one of 6 quests and 1 of 32 characters ( you start off with 3 but unlock more as you play), straight after your choice you are thrown into the dungeon to fend for yourselves. Controls are simple, point to where you want to move or who you want to attack and click, warriors have melee attacks, rangers have bow and arrow, wizard has magic bolt. The controls are simple compared to other roguelike games but don’t be fooled, in this game you will die, a lot.
Unlike traditional rpgs, Hack, Slash, Loot doesn’t feature any character level up, for that matter this game doesn’t even feature an inventory. The only character enhancement this game features is equipment, potions and scrolls that are tied to one of your characters stats or health (there is no way to recover health other than items and scrolls/glyphs) and since all loot and enemy placement is random how well you do is mostly luck. you could be very lucky and survive for a good half hour, it is likely you will only survive about 30 seconds to a minute on your first few playthroughs. It can be very frustrating to not have much control over you characters destiny. However after a few deaths I was surprised to discover that I had unlocked a new character type to play, my excitement for the game was rekindled. After reading up online I discovered that the game rewards you for dying as much as it does for completing quests, so this encouraged me to try and try even though I wasn’t getting very far (who doesn’t like unlocking stuff?).
The graphical style of the game is a very old school 8-bit style, to be fair this is not the best 8-bit styling I’ve ever seen, but it is nice enough to look at and offers enough charm to entice people who get all nostalgic (like me) to play. As far as the sound and music goes, well the sound effects are great, really great, the magic missile and sword swooshes sound like they belong in this type of 8-bit style game and add to the overall feeling of the game. The music on the other hand is a different story, it’s really good music it just seems a little too modern for the rest of the game, to have 8-bit graphics and sound effects, then put a very modern, cinematic soundtrack over the top of it seems a little strange (but it is still a pretty nice soundtrack).
The quick deaths, lack of levelling up and inventory management give me the impression that this game is designed to be played quickly in short bursts, maybe 5 to 15 minutes at a time, unlike traditional rpgs that take you hundreds of hours to complete, dying a few times can get you that much closer to unlocking a new character so there is always an incentive to go back and try again, and who knows you might be really lucky and get some nice equipment in the first room to help you stomp those pesky monsters. At time of writing the price for Hack, Slash, Loot is £2.99, $4.19 or €3.59 on steam and to be honest even if you only have a passing interest in these types of games I think it is worth the price. Play it in short bursts and persevere, you will probably have lots of fun with it, I know I did.