LOOPMANCER is an action side scroller, roguelike indie game developed by eBrain Studios for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC.
If you love a game with a grind, then this game is for you. The premises is much like other games such as Deathloop and Returnal; if you die, you start from the beginning again. When you die, all your items and coin are lost – but fortunately you keep your acquired upgrades.
Set in a futuristic cyberpunk setting, you play as Detective Xiang Zixu. Xiang Zixu dies while investigating the disappearance of a reporter who was last seen with the antagonist Wei Long. Conveniently, Zixu happened to put him in prison years earlier.
A rather deadpan protagonist, what he lacks in personality, he makes up in grand ways to beat up enemies. But if you want to make our disinterested-sounding protagonist a bit more lively, I do recommend changing your audio to Chinese (Mandarin) as the voice actor sounds less flat – and has the advantage of pronouncing the Chinese names authentically.
The game is definitely for those who love a fast paced game, and with each death, the level’s layouts and power-ups placement do change to a point. And with each level, you do get a boss that you need to learn its pattern over several runs, reminding you that dodge is your best friend – as it should be in any fast-paced game.
Of course, depending on your difficulty settings, when you die, you go back to the beginning all over again, with the exception of story mode, where you go back to the beginning of the level you are currently on.
This is a blessing in the fact that you don’t have to go back through all those levels you’ve just torn your way through – but you’re playing a roguelike game, so you knew this was a thing going into the game (we hope).
Opting for Story mode can have setbacks in that you can miss out on certain power-ups and equipment you might like using without going back to the very beginning.
As a plus for the game, some of the stage visuals are gorgeous. The Tang Dynasty Hotel level is a particular favourite of mine for the visuals. Especially when you head up to the upper levels and fight the enemy’s silhouettes behind ceiling-to-floor red wall scrolls, reminiscent of scenes from martial art movies, in particular Kill Bill.
This is a fun little indie game if you are in for fast action, though not the best if you want to get absorbed in the story like you can in some other more recently released roguelike games.