First Impressions of… Loop Hero

Once more unto the abyss.

Gaze not into the emptiness of this nightmarish domain, lest something gazes back. Something gelatinous. Something that probably doesn’t have eyes now that I’m thinking about it. But then I don’t suppose that they need eyes, as their sole purpose seems to be endlessly travelling around this perpetual loop. And dropping cards. Cards that they’re carrying. Somehow. Loop Hero is an immensely satisfying jaunt through a post-apocalyptic universe, which features delightfully distinct character classes and surprisingly creative deck building mechanics.

Creative and deceptively complex.

Placing different cards next to each other often results in fascinating interactions. If, for example, you place a Vampire Mansion next to a Village, it results in the creation of a Ransacked Village. Which is dangerous, but eventually becomes a Count’s Land which affords even greater benefits.

Few of these interactions are solely beneficial to you, but are necessary despite the drawbacks that they introduce. The cards that you’ve placed influence the raw materials that are available on any given attempt, and the rarest materials often require increasingly dangerous, or complex, interactions. Which became painfully apparent when I tried to acquire two Astral Orbs. Raw materials can be used to improve your camp, to craft supply items, or as reagents in alchemy. New cards are unlocked by placing (or upgrading) various different things, and new character classes are unlocked by placing specific buildings. Most of these can only be built and placed once, but there are a few, such as the Farm and the Forest, that can be built multiple times (should you have the space) for multiplicative bonuses.

The hunt is upon us.

Of the character classes, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and two exhibit unique mechanics. The first, the Warrior, is the hardiest, and utilises different defensive statistics. The second, the Rogue, has unique trophy mechanics, and can dual-wield weapons. While the third, the Necromancer, has unique summoning mechanics, and relies on their skeletons to deal (and take) damage for them. Placing the Arsenal card unlocks an additional equipment slot, which allows each to utilise statistics otherwise unavailable to their character class.

Such as the Rogue utilising magical health.

It’s refreshing to see such creativity, and I can’t praise the developers highly enough for their meticulous attention to detail. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to see every interaction that exists between different cards,
and I couldn’t be happier about that. As it perfectly suits this experience.

One of constant experimentation. One of taking risks while carrying precious resources. One of embarking
on another loop even when you know that you shouldn’t. And one of being wholly absorbed in the enjoyment of these (often questionable) actions. Taking risks is a part of this experience, though. You can never be sure of what might change on the next loop, or how that is going to affect your survival. And that’s why I enjoy pushing each build to its limits. Failure is likely, but there are numerous mechanics which contribute to the longevity of this experience and keep it fresh. Hence why I’ve greatly enjoyed the time that I’ve spent with Loop Hero, and highly recommend it to those seeking exhilarating adventures on a perpetual loop. It really has been such a wonderfully engaging experience throughout.

Have a nice week, all!


Blood On Your Hands

Doing your duty isn’t always pretty.

You might need to prevent an uprising of sentient robots, further destabilise a society that barely functions as it is, or embark on an otherworldly journey through countless mind-altering drugs. These are the untold tales of the heroes that Wellington Wells never recognised, but were instrumental in changing the lives of those around them. We Happy Few continues its narrative-driven adventures through a drug-addled society with three distinct DLC experiences, each introducing a different protagonist with wholly unique mechanics and their own events to follow.

And their own problems to solve.

Of the three, the third, We All Fall Down, expands on the events of the main campaign. Lending insight into how Wellington Wells functioned as a society after Ollie realised the truth, and how his actions influenced another prominent character to take their own drastic measures.

The second, Lightbearer, was easily my favourite, and the most creative. Following the misadventures of Nick Lightbearer was hilarious enough, but the bizarre combat mechanics made it even more enjoyable. Using his guitar to deal damage (and parry incoming damage) was ridiculously fun. I also enjoyed its final boss, despite it being the simplest to defeat. They Came From Below had an interesting final boss, too. A hectic encounter that required you to manipulate the environment to reduce incoming damage, which didn’t always work as expected. We All Fall Down relied on puzzle solving and navigating the environment for its challenges, often shying away from combat despite how versatile the whip proved to be. You could easily avoid damage by stunning (or knocking down) your opponents with a volley of strikes.

Setting the stage for a grandiose finale.

Unlike Arthur, Sally, and Ollie these protagonists have no means by which they gain skill points. But they do unlock new equipment and new abilities throughout their adventures. Victoria is the only exception as she can find and use contraptions to upgrade herself and her equipment, or completely forego those for the challenge. And the associated achievement. You’ll be rummaging through bins less often, too. Crafting mechanics are notably absent, and each character can only make use of a few items. Healing items are available to all but in surprisingly limited quantities.

Making them ridiculously valuable.

You won’t be able to develop as extensively to favour stealth or combat, so running away and hiding in the nearest bush isn’t an option. You’re going to have to fight. Usually in confined spaces and with limited movement. Or while becoming accustomed to different mechanics.

The diversity of the DLC has exceeded any prior expectations that I had for it, with the developers once again exhibiting their seemingly unending creativity as they craft three enrapturing campaigns. Each featuring the same painstaking attention to detail that made We Happy Few the one-of-a-kind experience that I found it to be. Each adding to the impressive content-density of the main campaign. And each implementing its own unique mechanics. If the developers were considering a sequel to We Happy Few, I’d be interested to see how that would deviate from the established mechanics we’ve come to know and love in this ludicrously content-dense experience. I can wholeheartedly recommend We Happy Few in its entirety, and encourage those who have completed the main campaign to try the DLC.

Have a nice week, all!


The Burden They Bear

They’ve cast aside their masks.

Exposing the truth about the sordid events that Wellington Wells hides underneath its colourful exterior, while making it painfully apparent that their society is on the brink of collapse should things continue as they are. Which couldn’t have happened to nicer people. Not that everyone was complicit to the events that occurred during the war, but most have perpetuated that lie for their own happiness. We Happy Few is an enrapturing narrative-driven adventure through a drug-addled society, in which three separate protagonists discover the truth about themselves.

Or what they believe to be the truth.

Many of the events are left open to interpretation, with few explicitly stated, while the recollection of events given by each protagonist can’t be trusted, as they’ve each got their own justification for their actions. Their perception has been been irreversibly warped to fit their narrative.

Most notable with events involving multiple protagonists, as the actual events often differ, highlighted by subtle hints in the dialogue, suggesting that each is witnessing their own version of the truth. Or that their recollection of events is hazy due to substance abuse. Making them an unreliable source of information, especially when each exhibits their own selfish tendencies on a regular basis. Only furthering the ambitions
of others if it aligns with their own motivations. Which suits the bleak landscape of Wellington Wells (and its inhabitants) perfectly. Rare is it to encounter a protagonist that isn’t inherently likeable, but We Happy Few proudly presents three of them. Which is what I’ve enjoyed most about this experience. Nothing is ever what it seems to be, and you’re rarely able to fully predict how events will unfold.

I don’t know what they’re taking in this house, but it isn’t Joy.

Having favoured stealth as Arthur it was easy to adjust to Sally, who favours stealth due to her non-existent combat proficiencies. Even using the same non-lethal weapons as I’d used with Arthur she could barely deal any damage. Or take any in return. So she relied on her chemical concoctions to gain the advantage. Ollie, however, favoured combat, but relied on his fists due to a lack of non-lethal weapons. Then he acquired a recipe for the best non-lethal weapon I’d ever seen. Which, due to its durability, never broke, despite how many people he hit with it.

And he hit a lot of people with it.

Opting to knock the opposition unconscious has made this experience more challenging, and I’m glad that non-lethal weaponry even exists as it would’ve been ridiculously tedious relying on their fists. Unarmed damage remains absurdly low even after investing in the relevant skills.

Of the purchases that I’ve made in recent months, We Happy Few is easily one of the best. It’s proven to be an exhilarating one-of-a-kind adventure through the wholly believable society of Wellington Wells. Every aspect of its creation has been meticulously crafted by incredibly passionate developers, whose creativity continues to shine in the three delightfully diverse DLC experiences. Each featuring their own unique mechanics and recounting the (often bizarre) misadventures of lesser known Wellies. Misadventures that I’ll be writing about in a separate post, as I’d like to highlight how different and how fun they are. Due to how content-dense it is, I can’t recommend We Happy Few highly enough to those who crave a satisfying narrative-driven RPG. It truly is the experience that keeps on giving.

Have a nice week, all!


Atoning for Past Sins

We’ve come to the end of our time.

Something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to the residents of Wellington Wells, as its bleak landscape is decaying more rapidly than a plagued corpse in Lud’s Holm. Their reliance on Joy to forget who they are and what they’ve done is a problem, as bad batches are becoming increasingly common, and those who can’t take their Joy are exiled from civilisation. Thrown to the destitute and plagued of the wilderness. Scavenging the ruins of a near-extinct society, that has no means by which to sustain itself, as its ageing population will eventually expire.

But maybe that’s for the best.

Arthur Hastings, former resident of the Parade District, awoke to this nightmare, and fled its institutionalised indoctrination to rediscover his own forgotten past. Something that he may regret doing once he discovers the truth about who he is, what he did, and how he came to be here.

I’ve found We Happy Few to be deceptively content-dense, with three distinct playable characters, each with their own motivations and talents, and each witnessing the intertwining events from their own perspective. Arthur is the first, and most versatile, of the three. Favouring either stealth or combat, while having the fewest equipment restrictions. Uncharacteristically, and solely because there is an associated achievement, I’ve been avoiding combat where possible, instead relying on subtlety to fumble my way through Wellington Wells. Only using weapons deemed as non-lethal, and thus only capable of rendering an opponent unconscious. Not that I’d agree that wrapping a cricket bat (or rolling pin) in cloth makes it any less lethal. But only with non-lethal weapons will I be able to avoid murdering the general populous as Ollie.

Happy as can be.

Character development is surprisingly extensive, too. There are three different skill trees per character to invest in, with skill points being awarded for the completion of numerous quests. Some skills, such as those that increase maximum health, or weapon damage, are shared between characters. But every character has their own particular talents as well. Having to explore- and interact with- the world around you to further the capabilities of your chosen character is very satisfying, and encourages meaningful exploration that often yields other boons.

Such as Inventory Expansion Kits.

Allowing you to satiate that desire to hoard every glass bottle, brick, and rock that you find in the bins you’re rummaging through. Regardless of whether they’re actually useful to you or not. Never daring to sell them as you’ve no need for more currency that you won’t spend.

I’m curious as to how my approach will change, if at all, for Sally and Ollie, as they’ve got notable strengths and weaknesses. Which is as exciting as it is terrifying, as there might be some really annoying mechanics pertaining to those two. Or they might be jolly good fun. Sally, who seems to favour stealth, and chemical warfare, should be easy to adjust to from my time with Arthur. Ollie, however, needs to fight. Needs to rely solely on non-lethal weapons to avoid undoing everything that I’ve done in the last fifty hours. I’m fairly proficient at engaging in combat, but I’ve never had to default to it. So I’m (rather surprisingly) unsure whether I can. But I believe that your experiences should teach you something about yourself, and relying on stealth in We Happy Few has certainly done that. I’ve learned that I’m really good at running away.

Have a nice week, all!


First Impressions of… Nexomon

One tamer and their Velokitti.

Choosing their very first Nexomon is a momentous occassion for any tamer, but when a feline species was offered, a feline species was chosen, and thus the theme for my team had been decided. They’re going to be playful felines. There aren’t feline Nexomon of every elemental type, though. So I brought Wiselie, Shermit, and Arctivore along with them. An owl, a crab, and a canine. Wiselie rekindled nostalgic childhood memories of an owl that I trained in a popular creature collecting video game, Shermit was arguably the most adorable, and Arctivore was the most devastating.

It’s a surprisingly formidable team.

And so we began our journey through wiggly bushes, vibrant locales, colourful locals, surmountable Overseers, and insurmountable Champions. Or so they’d like to think. Hours spent running between the same wiggly bushes outside of the Nexolord’s Tower would suggest otherwise.

If you’ve played creature collecting video games before, Nexomon is a very familiar experience but does introduce some interesting mechanics of its own. Notably, Stamina, which dictates how many skills a Nexomon can use, and steadily increases with each evolution. Skills also function differently. New skills are learned as a Nexomon gains levels, but you won’t need to delete any to make use of the newer ones, and they can be freely swapped around, allowing you to experiment with different types of elemental damage and effects. Or to tailor your Nexomon to a particular encounter. There’s a wide variety of skills to use, too. Everything from dealing elemental damage, to inflicting status effects, to buffing, to debuffing, and even healing. It’s an eclectic mix that encourages creativity and flexibility when battling.

Big chunky paws of fire.

Following the conclusion of the main campaign, Nexomon can also be reborn, which reverts their progression back to Lvl 5, but affords them higher statistical growth per level. You’d first do this to access the Netherworld and to battle the Wardens, as it’s a prerequisite for those events, but you can repeat the process with any Nexomon of adequate strength. Which could be useful when evolving Nexomon that you might be missing in the database, but it’s arguably easier to capture them in the wild. Unless it’s Clonky. Then it’s the rarest of all Nexomon and no tamer shall have them.

So many brown bushes. So few encounters.

Returning from the Netherworld allows myriad legendary Nexomon and the Wardens themselves to appear in the world. Of these, the Wardens are the most tedious, as you need to revisit each location to battle them, and there are sixty-five of them. Sixty-five. They’re not exactly easy to find, either.

But I’d consider these objectives optional if you’re finding them too tedious. If, however, you want to earn every achievement, then be prepared to walk around a lot. As you can’t complete the database without the legendary Nexomon and the Wardens. However, Luhava, the last entry in the database, isn’t tied to either. Encountering them shouldn’t be too tricky, though. I believe that they can be found anywhere, and that their appearance is dictated by the number of different Nexomon that you’ve captured. These moments of complexity balance the casual approach that Nexomon takes for the majority of its main campaign, allowing tenacious tamers to satiate their desire for challenging content. Resulting in a rather charming narrative-driven creature collecting experience that I’d recommend without hesitation.

Have a nice week, all!