Heroes of Loot review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Abstraction Games
Developer: Orange Pixel
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

You wouldn't think that "roguelike dungeon crawler" and "frenetic twin-stick shooter" are genres that would go well together. The former, after all, tends to be built around grinding your way through, well, dungeons, while the latter is all about constant action and mowing through waves of enemies.

And yet, here's Heroes of Loot to show that not only are the two genres compatible, they fit together like the most natural thing in the world. You pick your class, you get plopped down in a random dungeon, and you just start firing until you find a key that unlocks the door to the next dungeon. It's simple, but it's unbelievably effective.

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Of course, it's probably effective specifically because it's so simple. There are no items to craft, or skills to level up. You don't need to memorize complex enemy patterns, or slowly make your way through a dungeon full of dead ends. You don't even need to remember a story. Your sole goal is to blast your way from one end of the dungeon to the other, and the game is geared towards making it as easy as possible to do that.

Consequently, it's ridiculously fun. You don't need to worry about anything so mundane as a learning curve — you just get in there and start flinging your swords or casting your spells or shooting your arrows, and you're good. You need to learn when to hold back a little and not go charging into the enemies who can fight back, but apart from that, Heroes of Loot is smart enough to just let you get right into it.

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Also, as a slight aside, I think the game's sound effects need to be singled out for praise. Picking up coins causes a sound that will be familiar to anyone who ever played a Mario Bros game — which means, consequently, that the game will tickle those same reward centres of your brain that came to associate that high-pitched "ding" with extra lives. It's a simple thing, but it works.

The same goes for Heroes of Loot as a whole: it's very simple, but it works incredibly well. Bring on more twin-stick dungeon crawlers!

Grade: A-