Kill blob, get dagger, heal up. Kill rat, get sword, heal up. Find dungeon, kill skeletons, get warhammer, heal up. Encounter boss, kill boss, get Necromantic Tome of Skeleton Summoning, heal up. 

Loop Hero knows the deal. If you break down most games, you get a loop. It’s the rhythm of every game that teases you into one more raid, one more dungeon, or one more screen of gems to match-three. Some games are subtle about it, others toss away the foreplay and get right to it. Loop Hero is about as unsubtle as they come.

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Loop Hero boils down the dungeon-raiding RPG to an actual, literal loop. The dungeon you are facing circles back on itself, as you return to camp on each turn, like GO on a giant Monopoly board. With each loop, the enemies become bigger, nastier and there’s more of them, but the loot gets bigger and nastier too. The skill of Loop Hero is whether you can keep your head above water, as the loop becomes increasingly tempestuous. It’s exactly the same loop that Geralt, Cloud, Tiny Tina and more face, just without any pretensions. 

The boiling down doesn’t stop there. Because not only does Loop Hero simplify the character’s journey, but it simplifies the combat they face too. When the player starts looping, the only creatures on the board are slimes. Step on one and the view switches from top-down to a JRPG-like turn-based view. Except you don’t get to pick from a menu of attacks, blocks and items: the game does it for you. All you can do is watch and wince as the damage leaves you incredibly close to death.

This doesn’t change throughout Loop Hero. You’re a combat voyeur. But the reason is because Loop Hero is all about the loadout management. It wants you to get deep down and dirty with the items you pick up. Almost every battle slots a new sword, spellbook, helmet or ring into your inventory, and you’re pausing the game (which would merrily progress without you) to outfit your little warrior, rogue or necromancer. 

What’s your gameplan? Perhaps it’s to tank the enemies’ hits and counter. Or perhaps you’re going to summon an army of skeletons that absorb all the damage you would receive. Loop Hero lets you create a playbook largely through the bonuses on the armour and weapons. You’ll be slobbering over rare and super-rare armours as they pour into your inventory (and they really do pour), checking the stats to see if they benefit your agenda.

But items aren’t the only bounty from a good kill. You gain cards too, and these cards are what make Loop Hero extremely special. I’m still unlocking the odd one, finishing off my catalogue of cards, and each one makes me shake my head with a mix of delight and surprise.

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The cards you get in Loop Hero are locations. If you check the screenshots in the article, you’ll see that the loop is made up of squares, both on the path of the loop itself, and in the surrounding areas. Every single square (and we do mean every single one – there’s an achievement for covering them all) can have a card placed on it. Once a card is on there, it’s locked and never to be removed.

The most common kinds of cards are encounters and benefit-generating cards. Encounters get placed on the loop. You’ll be tucking Groves onto the loop so they generate wolves, and Vampire Mansions so vampires sneak into your battles. You might be wondering why you might make things harder for yourself, but there are so many reasons why: the main ones being that they generate you the loot you will need, but they also contribute to an invisible total that eventually leads to a boss turning up, and that boss signals the end of the run (if you want it to).

But where do you place them? We started finding tricks that worked just fine for us. We put Cemeteries in the opening squares of the loop, as they generated the best loot chests, and those loot chests would deliver weapons that would set us up for the remainder of the loop. We placed Villages and Farms like pit stops, as their bandits and scarecrows didn’t really harm us and we ended up with more health leaving them than entering them. And Swamps damaged anything that gained life on them, so we stuck them next to Vampire Mansions, as vampires loved to lifesteal.

The benefit-generating cards, like Mountains and Forests, are a little less fun, if we’re being honest. These are placed on the fringes and have a few layers of use. They immediately generate resources, which you can take back to your camp at the end of the run, with penalties for whether you ducked out early or died. Loop Hero has a fine line in risk-reward, as you balance the benefits of now with the benefits of back-at-camp.

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They also stack up boosts for your little adventurer. Incrementally you might be decreasing enemy life pools, or increasing yours. You might be dinking up your attack speed. But the fun bit is how they combine. We’d have loved more combinations to liven these cards up, but place enough Mountains and you start getting goblin camps appearing – without choice in placement – within your loop, while Deserts create Ziggurats on occasion that chuck a sand guardian into the mix.

Eventually the boss appears, and that boss is a test of everything you’ve accumulated. Think you’ve got an endless health-regeneration character going on? Well, throw it at a boss who endlessly produces mirrors to protect themselves and see if it’s humming along nicely. If you’re right and the boss dies, you get the best resources, and you also get the choice to stick around and effectively harvest your loop for resources to take back to camp. Knowing when to pull the eject cord is half of the battle in Loop Hero.

There’s even more game when you get to camp. Cleverly, your home is mapped to the same grid that the dungeon-delving takes place on. You are gathering resources to build yet more locations, and the blacksmithies and lumberjacks might give you new cards for your deck, benefits to your stats and amenities that you can benefit from, like Outposts that defend your character when they fight next to the camp in the game’s loop. 

What this does is instill the ‘one more go’ feeling. We had our heart set on the River as a buildable location. Why was a simple River the most expensive thing to buy? We needed to know! It was our North Star and undoubtedly you will find your own.

And we looped, looped again, then looped some more. Because, by golly, Loop Hero is crack to this nerd. There is always a motivation to play again, whether that’s finally killing the next boss, or earning enough resources to level up your Outposts. When loops are so low maintenance – you could play by just equipping the highest level, rarest items if you wanted and still do well – then the obstacles to playing are removed too. We just hopped back on the carousel for another twenty minute whirl.

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Perhaps we’re greedy – in fact, we know we’re greedy – but we wanted more. There aren’t many chapters to play through, and those chapters don’t actually remix things much. It’s a cognitive leap to understand that YOU are the one who determines the challenge, thanks to the cards you put in your deck. The bosses and the chapters change very little indeed, and – if we are being honest – we would have been happier if each chapter felt more different than they did. It was okay for more of the agency to slip out of our hands.

Loop Hero is perfectly pitched for DLC; we will get our fold-out chairs and camp out days before to make sure we get them day-one. Because we are in its clutches now, looping and looping like Tom Cruise in an F-14 Tomcat. We can’t help ourselves: it’s a compulsion now. 

With Loop Hero demanding so little and costing a lowly £12.49, we can’t recommend it enough. Go play it: we will see you in roughly two weeks.

You can buy Loop Hero from the Xbox Store

TXH Score



  • Good gods, it’s addictive
  • Extremely clever design
  • Plenty of motivations to loop
  • YOU are both DM and player


  • Yeah, yeah, it’s pig ugly
  • Chapters don’t vary enough


  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to – Purchased by TXH
  • Formats – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
  • Version reviewed – Xbox Series X
  • Release date – 4 April 2023
  • Launch price from – £12.49

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