Roguelike Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Roguelike RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Dead Cells, Curse Of The Gods Collide in a Crossover for the Ages Wed, 07 Apr 2021 12:30:49 -0400 David Carcasole

Remember when your favourite television shows would come together for a special episode? That's essentially what is happening between Motion Twin's Dead Cells and Passtech Games' Curse Of The Dead Gods in their newly announced crossover event titled Curse Of The Dead Cells

The event will arrive through a free update to Curse Of The Dead Gods on April 14 and will be made available on all console platforms and PC. The update will feature three new weapons, a new curse, and a new kind of challenge room, all of which take their inspiration from Dead Cells.

There will also be a new two-handed weapon style and more new curses not yet specified in the announcement regarding the event, so players will have more surprises to discover in the update next week. 

The Dead Cells content in question will be a new curse called Curse of the Headless, which will increase player speed as they take more damage with a visual nod to the main character of Dead Cells. The new weapons will be the Sword of Conjunctivitis, the Crossbow of the Condemned, and the Broadsword of the Knight, each of which will be emblematic of their Dead Cells counterparts. 

The new challenge room is perhaps the most interesting, where players will be able to find Dead Cells cursed chests that will reward them with rare items if they are able to complete the challenge associated with them.

Not everything in the update will be Dead Cells inspired, namely the new two-handed weapon style and more new curses that will also arrive with the update. In any case, it's more content given to players at no additional cost which is always a good thing. 

The update arrives a week from today but until then, for more on Curse Of The Dead Gods, you can check out our review of it here.


Build the Best Bergson In Children of Morta's Free Family Trials Update Wed, 07 Apr 2021 12:26:18 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The Bergson family has yet another new challenge on the way with the Children of Morta Family Trials update. It's a free Children of Morta update introducing a separate mode and the perilous Zyklus dungeon, and it's available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

The Zyklus dungeon contains multiple randomized floors with different objectives ranging from protecting laborers to surviving as long as possible. The layout changes every time a new dungeon run starts, and like all good roguelikes, failure means losing a significant amount of loot.

The goal is experimenting with the best possible builds and adjusting them to match the challenges ahead.

Every Bergson family member is available from the start with all active abilities unlocked. They get Talents on leveling up, with a maximum of 40 Talents, and these replace Runes from the base game. Relics get extra tiers, and every item is upgradeable. 

Those who believe they've mastered the challenges can think again. Succeeding in Zyklus unlocks two additional difficulty levels, Hard and Insane, with each adding new levels and challenges to Zyklus.

We adored Children of Morta when it released in 2019, calling it "a standout roguelike RPG with a solid central hook, satisfying gameplay, and gorgeous art style ..." 

Dead Cells Whack-a-Mole Update Adds More Bonk for Your Buck Wed, 31 Mar 2021 16:42:18 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Motion Twin revealed Dead Cells' 23rd update, the free "Whack-A-Mole" update introducing new weapons, mutations, and more. Dead Cells' Whack-A-Mole update is available now on console and PC, following the recent Fatal Falls DLC release.

Additionally, Dead Cells: The Bad Seed DLC is also available for iOS and Android devices for $3.99. 

Dead Cells Whack-A-Mole adds The Toothpick, Oven Axe, and Tombstone weapons, three massively oversized bonking devices made for the express purpose of destroying everything in front of you. The update's new mutations are Execution, which automatically kills enemies with less than 15% health; Barbed Tip, which inflicts damage over time; and Point Blank, which increases damage output at close range.

As if Dead Cells weren't challenging enough already, Motion Twin is working on another difficulty option. This new difficulty would alter the challenge as follows:

  • BC0: Health fountains in every transition.
  • BC1: Health fountain every other transition, with one minor flask when the fountain is missing.
  • BC2: No more health fountain, one minor flask in every transition.
  • BC3: One minor flask after the first boss and before the second.
  • BC4: No more health in any transition, enemies teleport to your position.
  • BC5: No more health, enemies teleport, malaise added.

You can check out the full patch notes on the Dead Cells website.

Dead Age 2 Review: This Undead War of Mine Fri, 26 Mar 2021 11:20:48 -0400 Mark Delaney

My favorite zombie games are those that treat their worlds with the gravity of the situation at hand. Stuff like Dead Rising and Zombie Army are fun, but they don't intend to capture the seriousness of what living in a world with the undead would be like. Dead Age 2 does aim to paint such a bleak picture, but it never quite gets there.

For fans of the zombie subgenre, Dead Age 2 has thought of most everything you could wish for: fortifying your home base, recruiting survivors and forming alliances, and scavenging for the last morsels of food in a dire world. On top of that, there are plenty of choices where, despite your intentions, you can't make everyone happy.

But the game's faultier fundamentals, like dialogue and combat, seep into the other more enjoyable areas and infect them, preventing Dead Age 2 from really becoming as enjoyable as it is multifaceted.

Dead Age 2 Review: This Undead War of Mine

Dead Age 2 wears many hats. It's a roguelite, so when you die, you start from the beginning and carry over some perks (or "medals") you earned previously. It's a turn-based combat game too, so each encounter features strict turn orders in small spaces, and you attack with melee or projectiles. It's also a strategy game, so you bring home food, water, and crafting materials to turn your modest base into a survivor's haven.

It's ambitious to say the least, and early on, all of these different paths can feel dazzling, but some of that luster is lost the deeper you go.

Dead Age 2 is a sequel to 2016's Dead Age, but you need not have any knowledge of that first game to play this one, it seems. I had none and didn't feel as though I missed a beat. Its premise is quite simple: the world fell apart, factions rose up, and now you find yourself in a group of people just trying to see tomorrow.

In fact, many story beats in Dead Age 2 are formed from similar cliches. Early on, I found these forgiving. When you play basically every zombie game that comes out (as I do), you notice and even forgive how many use the same narrative tropes.

It's more about how games use those tropes to either spin them on their head or find some deeper sense of humanity at the root of their characters. Dead Age 2 certainly doesn't make it to the root of its characters. Instead, they often say what they do only to serve the gameplay, which ends up not making sense sometimes.

In an early encounter, I came upon a new group of survivors. They wanted to fight. I offered them $40 to relax and let us into their settlement. That money gave me an 80% chance of success, said the game, but I failed the check and we engaged in combat. After I killed several of them, they stood down and let me in, only for the group leader to swear revenge on me unless I gave them money or until I completed quests for them. 

These skill checks can be woven into narrative games well, but they aren't in Dead Age 2. It didn't seem sensible that they'd not take my money, I kill them, then they let me in and ask for money. That encounter is representative of more nonsensical ones I'd see across many hours of gameplay.

Combat can feel a bit too random as well, and when it's not unpredictable, it's predictably punishing. Living in a zombie world should be hard, so I can appreciate that, but in a turn-based system, it doesn't make much sense to have most of my gunshots "graze" opponents while crawling zombies can easily chomp on my survivors in the back of the two-tiled grid.

Sometimes it can feel like nothing more than a war of attrition. Do I have enough health kits to brute-force my way through this horde of zombies, pack of wild dogs, or gang of thieves? When I didn't, no strategy saved me, and that really hurts a turn-based combat system by removing the sense of reward through smart planning.

That's not to say it's all bad. What Dead Age 2 gets right is exploration and scavenging. Traveling outside your base is done on a large map featuring countless nodes you can choose to move to. Like a spider's web, the world shoots off in many different directions, and as you approach certain areas, you're told what's possibly there, what the threat is like, and how much time in the day you have left.

Some missions require you to explore and return home within a set amount of time. After all, if you have a friend dying and in need of Zombex, the in-universe zombie cure, you can't take a week or two to find it for them. This turns every encounter and quest into a tough decision. Even simply picking for berries can get you killed, so you're asked to choose to pick just a few, a lot, or none at all. 

Your community relies on what you bring home, and you can't build things like the garden or exterior defenses without the proper supplies, but neither can you please everyone on your travels, which can greatly limit your haul.

The game tracks your relationships with other groups and factions, so even as the combat and dialogue can get you in trouble despite your best intentions, there remains a good sense of risk versus reward. Doing favors for people may earn you access to their shops or discounts, but it can also mean taking food out of the mouths of your own people.

This is where Dead Age 2 is best; when you have multiple tasks to complete, all of them seeming vital, but you know you can't possibly do them all. It demands you inject your own personal philosophy into each predicament. Do I save the most number of people, or do I save my people? Do I repair fractured friendships or write off lost causes?

It's these sort of moral quandaries that Dead Age 2 certainly isn't the first to do, but they're still enjoyable here, even as the fighting and communicating along the way can hamper that enjoyment.

Dead Age 2 Review — The Bottom Line


  • Tough choices throughout 
  • Basebuilding is slow but fun
  • Scavenging for supplies can be deadly or fruitful at different times


  • Dialogue is often very poorly written
  • Turn-based combat can often feel stacked against you and lacks strategy

Dead Age 2 is faulty but ambitious. It covers virtually every angle zombie gaming fans could expect, but it only does some of those things well, leaving the game a bit uneven. Scavenging for supplies and building up a base are highlights, but having to talk to or fight with other groups to complete those tasks means one must always trudge through the bad stuff to get to the good.

With better writing and a deeper combat system, Dead Age 2 could've risen to the top of a crowded genre, but as is, it's left shambling among the hordes.

[Note: Headup Games provided the copy of Dead Age 2 used for this review.]

Risk of Rain 2 Anniversary Update Brings Bandit, QoL Changes Thu, 25 Mar 2021 13:45:39 -0400 Ashley Shankle

You didn't think Hopoo Games were done with Risk of Rain 2, did you? To celebrate the game's second anniversary since entering Early Access, Hopoo are granting the game's players another hefty update that includes the community's most requested survivor since Acrid.

The Risk of Rain 2 anniversary update brings the rootin' tootin' Bandit to the roster, the survivor being a fan-favorite from the first game with his crit-heavy boomstick. That's not all today's update brings; a chunk of new items and quality of life changes make it less of a risk of rain and more of a "make it rain" situation.

Two new Lunar Items and Boss Items have been added in this update, along with a new boss and a new type of elite. It seems the lore entries have finally been finished as well, adding some flavor as seen in the first game. A handful of items have been rebalanced or reworked, making some items more (or less) viable. Mostly more viable.

Some of the most exciting changes don't have to do with the items or characters at all, but instead with drones and other player minions like the Squid Polyp and the ghosts that spawn from Happiest Mask.

Now minions will disappear and teleport to the player when they are separated by 400 meters, and they will now scale with time-based difficulty. This means they'll no longer be utterly useless once you reach a certain point, and that is a huge deal.

No matter how you play or what survivors you like best, there's something to love in the Risk of Rain 2 anniversary update. Check out the full patch notes on Steam, and console players sit tight: you'll be getting the update soon enough.

Loop Hero Guide: How to Get More Item Slots Mon, 22 Mar 2021 11:04:53 -0400 Sergey_3847

By default, players get four gear item slots in Loop Hero but there is a way to increase this amount by one or more, giving each hero class an advantage in a loop. This guide will provide you with tips on how to get more item slots in Loop Hero.

The secret to increasing the amount of item slots is hidden in a single card: the Arsenal. This card can be stacked, if you're lucky to find more than one in a single loop. This allows you to increase your item slots by more than just one, although that happens extremely rarely.

How to Get More Item Slots in Loop Hero

In order to unlock the Arsenal card you must have two buildings: Smelter and Intel Center. But first you need to craft a Smithy, which requires a campfire available at the start of the game.

The Smithy can be crafted using the following resources:

  • 2 Stable Wood
  • 4 Preserved Rock
  • 7 Stable Metal
  • 2 Food Supply

When the Smithy is ready, you can start building the Herbalist's Hut:

  • 2 Stable Wood
  • 3 Preserved Rock
  • 4 Food Supply

After the Herbalist's Hut build the Field Kitchen at the campfire using:

  • 3 Stable Wood
  • 2 Preserved Rock
  • 1 Food Supply

When the Herbalist's Hut and the Field Kitchen are ready, build the Gymnasium:

  • 5 Stable Wood
  • 3 Preserved Rock
  • 6 Stable Metal
  • 1 Metamorphosis

Once you have both the Gymnasium and the Smithy, you can build the Supply Depot:

  • 9 Stable Wood
  • 17 Stable Metal
  • 9 Food Supply
  • 3 Metamorphosis

After the Supply Depot you can start building the Intel Center using:

  • 12 Stable Wood
  • 15 Stable Metal
  • 17 Food Supply
  • 3 Metamorphosis

Finally, you need to build the Smelter using this recipe:

  • 5 Preserved Rock
  • 18 Stable Metal
  • 3 Food Supply
  • 1 Metamorphosis

Once the Smelter and the Intel Center are done, the Smelter unlocks Arsenal and Temple Storm cards, as well as additional 30 points to your base HP.

The Arsenal card unlocks an additional item slot for each of the three hero classes:

  • Warrior gets the extra slot for Helmet
  • Rogue geta the extra slot for Amulet
  • Necromancer gets the extra slot for Shield

Arsenal cards can also drop randomly from the chests. In that case you can stack them and have another extra slot for one of your heroes.

That's all you need to know on how to get more item slots in Loop Hero. If you're looking for more Loop Hero tips and tricks articles, then consider checking out our dedicated hub page!

Loop Hero Guide: In Time For Lunch Achievement Walkthrough Thu, 18 Mar 2021 12:21:09 -0400 Jordan Baranowski

The very nature of Loop Hero makes it one of those games where you just want to accomplish and see everything. Many of the game's Achievements will trickle in naturally as you learn Loop Hero's systems and unlock more material, but a few of them require very deliberate action on your part. One of the most obvious is the In Time for Lunch achievement.

Loop Hero being a roguelike, this achievement requires a lot of lucky turns for everything to fall into place. Luckily, it's simple to try again if the cards don't fall your way. Here's how to get started with In Time for Lunch.

Loop Hero In Time for Lunch Achievement

To pop the In Time for Lunch achievement, you have to "Defeat the boss in the first expedition." That does NOT mean you just have to take down the Lich. It means you have to start a new game and defeat the Lich on your very first run.

This certainly isn't easy, since you won't have a lot of the bonuses and extras that you build up throughout Loop Hero. You'll want to have played the game a bit so you have an understanding of the cards and systems at your disposal, so choose a new save slot and get rolling.

This achievement takes a lot of help from the gods of RNG. But there are a few ways you can tilt the scales in your favor. The first is your card selection before you get started. This layout seems to be the general best bet for unlocking this achievement:

You'll want to turn off both the Beacon and Treasury cards for sure. Some recommend swapping off the Vampire Mansion as well, but that tends to be a matter of personal preference. I like leaving it because it gives you more options for blocking Lich Palaces from spawning.

As your run begins, you'll want to prioritize Max HP and Regen/sec. You'll also want to spring the Lich battle as early as possible (within reason), since the boss gets stronger with each loop. Use rock and mountain cards to build your HP, and use Oblivion to take out Goblin Camps as they spawn. Goblins can overwhelm you in a hurry if they get out of hand, so you want to avoid them at all costs!

Place Battlefield cards selectively so you can get as many treasure chests as possible without having to square off with too many of the tough enemies that can spawn here. Avoid placing any Cemetery cards unless you need one or two to fill out a space near camp — skeletons hit like a truck and are tough to take down in later loops.

As you start building up your Max HP, you'll also want to start placing Meadow cards strategically to get Blooming Meadows. Place them so they are directly touching a rock or mountain to get a little extra HP/day bonus.

As you start laying the above down, you'll also want to start transitioning away from Regen to Evasion. The Lich deals a ton of damage, so your goal is to avoid as many attacks as you can while ending the battle as fast as possible.

When you're ready to take on the Lich, make sure every tile surrounding your campfire is filled with something to prevent any palaces from spawning. Place your cards down to max out your stats and put on your best gear, focusing on Evasion and Damage.

The sweet spot seems to be triggering the battle around Loop 6 or Loop 7. Chances are, if you take it much further than that, the Lich's powerful attacks will overwhelm you before you can defeat it.

When you hit the final battle, there isn't much you can do but sit back and hope the RNG is in your favor. Prioritizing evasion is always fickle; as a percentage roll, bad luck is just going to hit you sometimes. Even if your evasion is somewhere between 30-40 percent, there's still a decent chance the Lich will hit you with every attack.

But there's also that chance it will miss you more often than you'd expect.

If you take out the Lich on this first expedition, the achievement will pop. If you fall, just head back to the Loop Hero title screen, delete the save slot you just started and try again. It'll probably take you a few tries. Good luck achievement hunters!

Can't get enough Loop Hero? Check out our game page for more on this compelling roguelike!

Loop Hero Tips & Tricks Guide For Conquering The Loop Tue, 16 Mar 2021 17:19:55 -0400 Anthony McGlynn

Loop Hero is a great roguelike, but between all the cards, RPG stats, and auto-battling, FourQuarters' old school adventure can be a lot to handle. Indeed, finding your way in the post-apocalypse can be tricky, minding the various chain reactions from your card combos and tile combos while keeping your hero alive.

Rest easy, though, because we've learned a thing or three in our time working to defeat the Lich and put the world to rights. Whether it be a class' fundamentals, managing the stream of ghouls and goblins in your path, or some smart landscaping, we have some wisdom to impart.

Here are some tips, tricks, and good beginner's information from our tenure as the Loop Hero.

Certain Tile Combos Create Specific Monsters

One of the great pleasures of Loop Hero is seeing what reacts with what among all the cards. But if you aren't careful, you can end up flooding your path with creatures you never meant to put there, making survival that much trickier.

Nine mountains and rocks together creates a mountain range that spawns harpies, and every tenth of those cards gets you a goblin camp that creates goblins at what is, frankly, an obscenely fast rate.

Every second village brings with it an outpost for bandits, and if you put a vampire mansion beside a village, you get ghouls for three turns.

The list of every possible pairing would be long, but rest assured, this is far from an exhaustive list. The point is to always track what's happening on your map and make sure you're always prepared.

Tailor Your Approach to Your Class

The first class, warrior, is straight-forward. Speed, HP, and strength are easy stats to juice up, and they pick up equipment after each loot-dropping kill. The rogue is significantly different, favoring speed and tipping the odds of big hits in your favor, and the necromancer is all about spawning those skeletons as much as possible.

You need to adjust your play-style for each, and to do that, you need to understand what stats matter to whom.

These are the general ways I built each:

  • Max HP
  • Attack Speed
  • Health Regen
  • Strength
  • Damage to All

Keeping the warrior's healthbar at a high number is crucial for later laps, and health regeneration pays off massively in battles with three or four enemies. Damage to All is a good ability to use in the laps preceding the boss before replacing it ahead of that encounter.

Attack speed is helpful there too, and when combined with good strength bonuses, it will have you killing anything that dares challenge you.

  • Evasion
  • Counter
  • Attack Speed
  • Critical Hit
  • Damage to All

The rogue is all about hitting fast and making those hits count. Pumping up evasion, counter, and attack speed helps you slice through most enemies. Higher critical hit percentage becomes more helpful in later laps when you need to take chunks out of basic enemies, and damage to all is another crucial asset.

A lot of rogue armor offers a high HP boost without any other stat increase don't fall for the allure. Health won't help you when you can't get those hits in.

  • Evasion
  • Regeneration
  • Summon Quality
  • Summon Speed

The necromancer is the hardest class to use, and most of its stats are unique to its skeleton-summoning abilities. Evasion and regeneration help keep attacks spry, and summon quality and summon speed directly affect how fast you're summoning and how good those summons are.

Skeletons have five tiers, and to get the best  archers and mages  you need four others already on the field. The best way to do that is to be quick and make sure what's coming out of the ground is strong.

Oblivion Cards are Your Greatest Power — and Good for Farming

There is nothing in Loop Hero as powerful as the Oblivion card, which erases everything on a given tile. You can eliminate enemies if you're too low on health and near the campfire, get rid of those dratted goblins, or have another go at a supplies bonus.

Wiping out a horde of goblins is always a good choice, but for certain placements, like the mountain range, using Oblivion on one of the tiles, then replacing said tile, gives you the same supply bonus as you got the first time. You can do this as many times as you like, as long as you feel capable enough without needing Oblivion for anything else.

Bunch Tiles in the Loop, Spread Them Out on the Landscape

As you get confident in laying down tiles and shaping your loops, a good rule of thumb can be to place certain enemies together for your hero and then doing the opposite elsewhere. This helps for farming resources and pacing encounters.

Putting anything beside a meadow gives you a blooming meadow, and zig-zagging rivers helps spread their double effects on more tiles. Mountain-ranges aside, you should place tiles one-by-one to maximize bonuses across meadows and rivers.

On your loop, then, putting graveyards in one section, groves in another, and swamps in another lets you clearly map what's coming for your brave wanderer. It then lets you manage what's going to happen. If you find your rogue is just mowing down skeletons in your corner of graveyards, you can speed up the spawning rate without affecting any other monsters.

The same goes for mosquitoes: putting a run of swamps in a line gives you space to decrease how many spawn without doing anything to your ratwolves, spiders, bandits, or what have you. This is definitely one for when you have all the basics down, but when you do, give it a try.

Know When to Quit  and do so at the Campfire If You Can

You will die many times in Loop Hero, and you'll know the disappointment of losing 70% of your supplies all too well. Work on understanding when your hero is going to die. Sometimes it's obvious; other times, you'll need to do a quick read on what's ahead.

Leaving of your own accord gives you 60% of your supplies, and doing that just before the boss is common practice. All the spoils of a good hearty run, without suffering a heinous death.

But the game doesn't tell you this: if you retreat while on the campfire tile, you can keep 100% of your supplies. All of it. The campfire can be passed by in a jiffy, especially if you're running at double speed, but if you know you're not up for much more, getting out then and there is the way to go.


And those are some of our best Loop Hero beginner's tips and tricks to keep in mind. Of course, there are plenty of other useful things to know and secrets to unlock, so if you're looking for more, consider heading over to our Loop Hero guides hub

Loop Hero Frog King: How to Summon and Beat the Hidden Boss Tue, 16 Mar 2021 14:04:20 -0400 Jordan Baranowski

The world of Loop Hero is a mysterious one indeed, and there are a ton of secrets to be found through experimentation. Many of them you'll find by accident, but some of these secrets require a bit more deliberate action, such as what you have to do to fight the four developer bosses. Fitting into that category is a hidden boss against the Frog King.

This enemy is not terribly difficult to defeat, but getting him to appear takes some luck and a strong build. Here's how to discover and defeat this secret Loop Hero enemy.

Use the Swamp Card Liberally

The key to revealing the Frog King lies in making him feel at home. To do this, you need to use the Swamp card. A lot. 

You unlock the Swamp after building the Herbalist's Hut in your camp, and it's a tricky tile to use. It spawns a mosquito every three days, quick enemies that attack frequently and dodge a lot of attacks. Luckily, they have low HP. What really makes the Swamp precarious is that it reverses any healing effect (other than potions) while you're on the tile.

Suddenly, Regeneration is a slowly ticking time bomb. Vampirism means you take a chunk of your own health with every successful hit. And if morning arrives a few times while you're on a Swamp, you lose big chunks of HP.

To use Swamps to make the Frog King appear, you must cover every single tile in your loop with a Swamp card. That makes your expedition a war of attrition; you have to survive long enough to even find 30+ Swamp cards. 

This makes evasion and attack speed key to success if you want to win a Frog King run. You'll also want some damage sponge helpers: skeletons, a wolf companion, etc. Avoid taking hits and end battles in a hurry.

Once you've covered every tile of the loop with Swamps, the Frog King will appear on a random tile. So, how do you make this dastardly foe croak?

Defeating the Frog King

You'll notice right away that the Frog King has some strange tendencies. First, he only has 2 HP. However, he also has an ability that reduces any damage he suffers to 1 HP. You only have to hit him twice to win, but that's easier said than done. 

The Frog King also has an evasion stat of 99%.

He doesn't hit very hard, but your resources could already be fairly low from making your way through all those loops of Swamp tiles. Luckily, the same stats that helped you reach this boss will be the key to taking him out.

Since any damage to the Frog King knocks off half his health, so it's essential you have:

  • high attack speed
  • allies fighting alongside you

A rogue with high attack speed and a wolf will have a lot of chances to hit this boss twice before succumbing to his attacks.

Boss Rewards

The Frog King drops a ton of cards when you beat him, likely replacing your entire hand. However, you won't get any powerful equipment or impressive trait. Defeating this secret boss is more a pride thing than anything else. There aren't any major rewards to be had. 

Now that you've defeated the secret Frog King boss, it's probably time to see what else Loop Hero has to offer. Check out our game page for more on this charming roguelike, and happy hunting!

Loop Hero Guide: How to Unlock and Beat the Secret Boss Mon, 15 Mar 2021 10:20:35 -0400 Sergey_3847

To get the standard ending of the game, you must beat the four main Loop Hero bosses. However, developer Four Quarters a went one step further and included a secret boss, which can be summoned in the middle of the game, not the end. If you can beat this secret boss, you will get the true ending in Loop Hero.

This guide will tell you how to unlock and beat this secret Loop Hero boss. It a bit of preparation, so read on to find out what you need to do.

How to Unlock Secret Boss in Loop Hero

Defeat The Priestess

Before attempting to beat the secret boss, you must complete the entire second chapter of the game. This includes beating the Priestess.

The Necromancer is the best class for the Priestess boss fight because of its ability to summon skeletons. These skeletons can easily break through the stained-glass windows that the Priestess summons to protect herself, making this fight a bit easier.

Be sure to also place Forest tiles to increase your hero's attack speed by 1%, and Thicket tiles to increase it by 2% per tile.

Once you beat the Priestess, you will receive the following rewards:

  • Living Fabric
  • Orb of Immortality

Overlap Five Roadside Tiles

After the fight, you must collect five specific, wide area of effect roadside tiles:

  • Abandoned Bookery (Library)
  • Battlefield (Chests)
  • Blood Grove (Field Kitchen)
  • Bookery (Library)
  • Chrono Crystals (First Lich Battle)

If you can't find some of these tiles, can also get by using these cards instead: Beacon, Hungry Grove, Lamp Post, or Vampire Mansion.

Once you have all five tiles (or the cards mentioned above), you must place them so they overlap each other. You can place them anywhere. As soon as you do so, you wil notice a new tile with blue flickering lights appear next to them.

Apply the Oblivion card to this new tile, which summons a dimensional rift. Go through it to start the secret boss fight. 

Beat the Secret Boss

This fight is actually against four bosses, each of which represents one of the four Loop Hero developers. Here are their stats:

Boss Name
Damage Attack Speed
Deceiver 17000-18000 80-90 0.7
Finlal 800-900 90-100 1.14
Blinch 2000-2100 40-50 0.7
1 380-400 0.0


Each of the boss' stats can be randomized each time you attempt this battle. However, they'll always be very powerful, so taking them out is never a walk in the park. You have to be well prepared before fighting the four bosses, so don't summon them too early in the game.

For the fight you will need the following tiles:

  • Ancestral Crypt: This field tile not only increases your HP but also gives you a chance for revival after death.
  • Thicket: This tile increases your attack speed, so bring as many with you as you can. 
  • Burned Forest. Place this tile next to common forest tiles and turn your physical damage into magic damage, which ignores enemy defenses.
  • Desert and Sand Dunes: Both of these tiles reduce enemy HP. Spam these as many as you can.
  • Oasis: This tile has a similar function to Desert and Sand Dune tiles, but instead of reducing HP, it reduces the attack speed.

Once you have these tiles ready, you can summon the four bosses and follow this strategy to beat them all:

  1. Focus on Therandom first, as this boss usually has the least life, and his damage output is the highest.
  2. Switch to Finlal, while sending your summoned mobs at the other two bosses, distracting them.
  3. Fight Blinch and use evasion as often as you can.
  4. Finish off Deceiver, keeping in mind his immense HP pool and devastating, but dodgeable, lightning attacks. 

Of course, the strategy above is one of many, but it's one that consistently works. Once you have beaten all four bosses, you will be rewarded with the true ending of the game.

That's all you need to know on how to unlock and beat the secret boss for the true Loop Hero ending. If you're looking for more Loop Hero tips and tricks articles, then consider checking out our dedicated hub page!

Voidigo Early Access Review: A Lurid Monster Hunting Experience Mon, 15 Mar 2021 10:03:38 -0400 Luke Shaw

Video games are full of really good noises and audio cues. The distorted explosion of rockets in Quake, the awful crack of a headshot in Gears of War, Mario's iconic whoops and hollers. They serve as hooks that bring us into the worlds of our favorite games.  

There are plenty of subtle animations that do this, too: the screen shakes that crop up in Vlambeer's pixel-art arcade games, the pause-on-hit and stark audio cues of Hades' combat. They enhance every action and delight the player with the way they infuse each experience with a sense of kinetic energy and reward.

Voidigo leans into of all that so hard that it falls over, sending everything in the room clattering and bouncing away, with a cacophony of honks, squeaks and trills before getting up, dusting itself off, and doing it all over again.

Every frame of Semiwork Studio's roguelike is full of movement and activity. It brings to mind the jittery, wiggly animation of Klasky Csupo, as objects and characters bop and wobble around before you send them flying with a shot to face.

Voidigo Early Access Review: A Lurid Monster Hunting Experience

At its core, Voidigio is a Roguelike similar to other screen-shaking top-down shooters Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon. You are Drash, a small pink bird lady who has no memories of her past but has been picked by the Antivoid to help battle the Void, an all-consuming evil that has messed up reality.

You do so by entering levels shaped like wheels, each with a hub in the middle reaching out to six spokes that are all connected in a ring. Every level has a boss, a big beast corrupted by the warp and turned into an aggressive hunter. When you encounter the boss, which can be from a set roster including everything from a giant queen ant to a carnivorous plant with an angler fish style lure, you are able to begin chipping away at it. 

Bosses have fairly large health pools and a wide range of telegraphed but still hard-to-avoid attacks. You'll notice fairly quickly that they have a big health bar covered in padlocks; this is because each map has a set of void-corrupted monoliths that protect the boss. Of course, you'll need to smash those before you can fully defeat the level's ultimate enemy.

But wait! The monoliths are often locked by a key held by one of an assortment of minions that can be found in the area surrounding the main hub. So the aim of the game is to find the monoliths, get the key, zap it, and hunt the boss. It's not so simple, though, because bosses aren't static. Instead, they roam around the map, haranguing you when they feel brave or scarpering to heal from a hiding place. 

In practice, the loop works like a mix of Monster Hunter and Nuclear Throne, a set of micro objectives forcing you to engage in bullet-hell battles with a menagerie of aggressive tree people, shell wearing goons, and boisterous pigs — all while looking for new loot vortexes to grab weapons from, or shops to spend currency in to top up your ammo count (or durability for melee weapons).

Like most roguelikes, you can also get a whole host of passive upgrades: gems that shoot lasers when you dodge with your jump, buttons that trigger random environmental effects, familiars that make you shoot faster, a long arm that, unsurprisingly, makes your arms longer.

Scrap Mechanics

Combat is hectic and kinetic with projectiles and enemies pinballing off each other, but you're equipped with a good few movement options, including a sprint, a jump that does double duty as a dodge, and a Mario-style stomp that stuns enemies for a few precious moments.

Weapons range the gamut from banal — a revolver, a shotgun, various swords and clubs — to the brilliant — the shotgum, which is a shotgun with bouncing gumballs, the basshunter, a gun that fires small watery fish, and, well, there are lots of unique and memorable weapons best not spoiled.

As with all the great roguelikes, synergies between weapons and effects allow for fun combos to play out. I found a tasty one where my sprint left little electric clouds behind me if I was in combat, which coupled with a gun that shot water projectiles had the added effect of spreading the electricity to even wider areas, stunning bosses and foes alike.

Load up on peppers, which modify melee with effects like fire and poison, and soles, which affect stomps in a similar way, and you might end up going with a full melee build for a run. After the first and second stages, there are shops where you can trade items for health and vice versa, giving you a variety of things to consider as you progress. More health is always good, but sometimes an extra item is better. 

Rush of Blood

Currently, there is a third stage that gives you a wealth of guns and other weapons to choose from as you attempt to battle three bosses at once in a madcap dash around the world. The game currently ends after this, as it is only at version 0.0.2 right now — but it's quite a finale as it stands. 

There are already options to try harder runs, change your starting loadout, and a hint that more characters will be coming over time. It's a really promising start for a roguelike that's already bursting at the seams with creativity.

It's also nice to see such an aesthetic switch-up for a genre that often favors sci-fi and fantasy of the more conservative approaches. Voidigo is a day-glo nightmare world, more 'zine than comic book in its presentation. Music has a pop lean that fits the way everything in the world shakes and shimmies, and it's nice to hear novel instruments like slap bass, woozy synths, and tin drums clatter away in the background.

Voidigo Early Access Review — The Bottom Line So Far

Voidigo is definitely one to watch, so don't let the over-the-top 90s surrealism look put you off. There's great scope here for an exceptional experience, and having bosses smash through levels to chase you is something that never grows old. The whole thing feels slightly manic, and that goes hand in hand with the die and try again approach of a roguelike.

I'm already itching to get my hands on new characters and try out new weapon combos, and I can't wait to see where the developers take things next.

[Note: Semiwork provided the copy of Voidigo used for this Early Access review.]

Loop Hero Chrono Crystals Guide: How to Use This Powerful Card Fri, 12 Mar 2021 14:20:16 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

Part of the charm of a game like Loop Hero is figuring out how all the interlocking pieces work together. The roguelite RPG takes great pride in its difficulty, so it's only fitting that you'll need every advantage you can get in order to respond in kind. One aspect of Loop Hero that can be used to your advantage in a few different ways is the Chrono Crystals card.

Chrono Crystals "doubles the effect of a day's passing on adjacent tiles."  Here's a brief rundown of what that means and how you can use it to your advantage to take down the toughest foes in Loop Hero.

Chrono Crystals Explained

To use the Chrono Crystals card, you have to progress a bit through the game. It is unlocked by defeating the Lich boss in Act 1. Once you've taken this enemy out, Chrono Crystals will be a selectable card, which you can take on your next expedition. It's located in the second row of your Deck Building Menu.

Chrono Crystals, like the other cards in its row, can only be placed adjacent to a road tile. On longer expeditions, that means you'll want to plan ahead and know what you're going to be doing with it. At best, placing it in the wrong spot will have no effect. At worst, it could wind up being a deadly mistake!

The best way to think about Chrono Crystals is that any card that triggers on a day passing triggers twice instead. The easiest way to make sense of this is using a card like the Spider Cocoon. It normally spawns one spider per day. However, if there is a Spider Cocoon next to Chrono Crystals, it will spawn two spiders per day.

One of the best ways to use Chrono Crystals is this method: using it to build up loot and experience with enemies' per-day spawns. The Cemetery, Grove, Spider Cocoon, Ruins, etc., will all spawn more enemies than normal if placed next to Chrono Crystals. Use this to farm specific resources much quicker and to build up your equipment before taking on a boss.

The Chrono Crystals aura only extends to the immediate tiles surrounding it, so Chrono Crystals can, at most, affect eight other placed cards. The effects of the card don't stack with duplicates, either. Sorry, but you can't get exponential days passing with overlapping Chrono Crystals auras!

You can also use Chrono Crystals in a few ways with Meadow cards. Since Meadows give you healing per day, having them within the aura of Chrono Crystals will double that output.

Another benefit that takes a bit of fortuitous timing comes if your character is within the Chrono Crystals aura when a day passes. This will double the total healing per day, so having a lot of Meadows will make for a huge influx in HP. It's not something you'll always be able to make happen, but it's a major boost if you can!

Mastering interactions like this is what will push you to the later acts of Loop Hero. Now that you know how Chrono Crystals work, you can start using them to max effect. If you're looking for more on Loop Hero, check out our game page!

Loop Hero Sells Half a Million Copies, Quality-of-Life Updates Coming Fri, 12 Mar 2021 11:48:50 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Loop Hero is the new sensation. The 2D roguelite RPG just released for PC on March 4, but it's already sold more than 500,000 copies, no small feat for any game, much less one revealed only a few short months ago.

It's already cracked the Top 20 on Steam Charts for concurrent players, with more than 51,000 at its peak. It might not be as seismically popular as Viking survival game Valheim, but it's proven to be a bonafide hit in its own right. 

Alongside the news of the game's "week one sales milestone," developer Four Quarters said that a handful of updates are on the horizon, starting with the addition of Steam trading cards in collaboration with artist Bard-the-Zombie.

Beyond that, Four Quarters said that other "quality of life" and aesthetical updates will follow. 

Next up, we're working on patches with quality-of-life updates you all asked for, including a system for saving during expeditions, new speed settings, and a deck of traits gained from bosses! After that, you can expect to see lots more content added to the game, such as new cards, transformations, classes and new music. 

There have been a number of Loop Hero hotfixes released since launch, with the latest (as of this writing) 1.012 hotfix tweaking the book worm and broken geography achievements, fixing the game's resource dupe, and updating boss summons. 

We called Loop Hero "a game that's absolutely worth the timesink" in our review, praising it for its learning curve and sense of discovery, as well as how it "cleverly mixes many different genres" into a cohesive and compelling adventure. Despite being a bit "grueling," there's little wonder why it's become so popular so quickly.

Stay tuned for further updates in the coming weeks. You can pick up Loop Hero, if you haven't already, over on Steam for $14.99. 

[Source: Four Quarters]

Are Loop Hero Boss Rewards Permanent? Thu, 11 Mar 2021 18:42:00 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

Like any good roguelike, Loop Hero has a lot of secrets to uncover and tricky tasks at hand. One powerful boon players can access is obtained from defeating the bosses of each of Loop Hero's four acts. But are those Loop Hero boss rewards permanent? 

When you take down a boss in Loop Hero, you are given a few options for rewards.

You can pick a cache of resources, many of them valuable. Since boss battles occur on the same square as your campfire, you'll have the option to retreat to camp immediately after the boss fight and keep all your resources in doing so. These resources can then be spent on camp improvements, crafting and the like, and will remain in your camp inventory until used.

Your other option when taking down a boss is to pick a trait reward. You are given three traits to choose from without much explanation. So, are those traits permanent bonuses? Or something else?

After building the Gymnasium in your camp, you'll see a new yellow bar just underneath your health meter. This bar fills up a bit every time you kill a monster and, when it reaches the top, you can pick a trait that will boost your hero for the rest of the run.

This is where those boss traits come into play. If you pick one after defeating a boss, it will be added to the pool of traits that might appear as selections.

Since you only get the option to choose from three traits each time you fill your experience meter, that means you won't always see the traits you want to see. That's the nature of a roguelike.

That also means you'll want to think carefully about whether a boss trait option is one you'd want to see on a later run. If all three trait options you see after defeating a boss are traits you never see yourself selecting on a run, you're probably better off taking the resources.

You'll get three new options each time you take down a boss, and different options are available depending on which boss you defeat. Just a few boss traits you can find include:

  • Awakened Fragment: 2% chance to get a whole resource sphere instead of a chunk.
  • Omicron's Technique: +1 resurrection charge
  • Treasure Hunter: 5% chance for chest to spawn on top of killed enemy.

A full list of traits can be found over on the game's Wiki

After boss traits are unlocked, they have a chance to appear in any future runs. So yes, they are permanent, but you don't automatically begin each run with them. That would make things a little too easy, and Loop Hero isn't about to make things simple for you. That's part of its magic.

Looking for other info on Loop Hero? Check out our game page for more guides, news, and our full review.

Curse of the Dead Gods: Eagle Temple Champion Weapons Unlock Guide Tue, 09 Mar 2021 14:13:10 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

Like any good temple of doom, there are plenty of secrets hidden away in Curse of the Dead Gods. One of the best ways to make your way through this roguelike's deadly traps is by unlocking Forsaken Weaponry. If you're here, you're wondering how to unlock the champion weapons in the Eagle Temple. 

Our Curse of the Dead Gods guide below tells you how to unlock them all. Keep in mind that each weapon only has a 20% drop rate when you complete its requirement, so you'll probably need to make multiple runs to snag them.

Before we jump in, it's worth noting that most Forsaken Weaponry is unlocked by spending Jade Rings in the entryway of the temple before starting a new run. You can view your unlocked weapons by standing on the central circle in front of the temple entrance and tabbing over one menu from the Blessings tab.

Not every weapon can be unlocked with Jade Rings, however. Some have special requirements to unlock them, usually involving accomplishing a certain action during a boss fight. 

How to Get Each Eagle Temple Champion Weapon 

Effulgence, Harbinger of Yaatz

You'll have your chance to unlock this powerful bow during battles with K'ax Taca, High Lord of the Storm, one of the bosses of the Eagle Temple. To get this elemental weapon, you must time your killing blow perfectly.

The unlock requirement for Effulgence is that you must finish off the boss while it is performing a channeled lightning beam attack. Wait until it is firing the lightning at you, dodge around it, and hit K'ax Taca while the attack is still happening.

If you do it right, there's a 20% chance the boss will drop the bow when it is defeated. If it doesn't, you'll have to repeat the same tactic on your next run through the Eagle Temple.

Effulgence, Harbinger of Yaatz is a two-handed weapon that deals base 13 damage and has lightning attacks. Use your Special Dodge ability after firing a shot for an additional shot at the same enemy.

Sunderer, Fist of Doom

This weapon can be unlocked when you battle Malok Paal, the Flesh Monstrosity. To get your hands on this shield, you must goad Malok Paal into using its dash attack.

The unlock requirement for Sunderer, Fist of Doom is that you must perform five perfect dodges against Malok Paal's charge attack in a single battle

The easiest way to do this is to maintain a medium distance from the boss (about the same distance you'd need to hit it with a whip or throwing knife attack). When the boss winds up to execute its dash attack, execute a perfect dodge, dodging into the boss just as it would hit you. Perfect dodges restore a bit of stamina, so you should be able to recognize if you've executed one properly.

If you do this correctly, there's a 20% chance the shield will drop. If it doesn't, you'll have to do another run through the Eagle Temple.

Sunderer, Fist of Doom can be one of the most effective weapons in the game with the correct build. It has base 30 damage, and both simple attacks and off-hand combo attacks summon a stone fist out of a portal, dealing huge damage to enemies. To compensate for the weapon's power, these attacks drain one stamina each. 


And that's how you unlock all of the Eagle Temple champion weapons in Curse of the Dead Gods. After few runs (hopefully), and you'll be able to take these weapons on subsequent excursions, making the path to the temple's riches much easier than it would have been otherwise. If you're looking for more tips, consider heading over to our guides hub for this indie roguelike

Curse of the Dead Gods Best Blessings Guide Tue, 09 Mar 2021 13:41:54 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

Blessings are one of the best ways to improve your chances for a successful run in Curse of the Dead Gods. Before beginning a playthrough, you can choose up to three blessings to make things easier. It's only two at the beginning of the game, but you'll be able to add a third before long with an upgrade.

Most blessings are unlocked by spending crystal skulls, though a select few require you to spend blood emblems. Every blessing can be useful in the right build or with the right playstyle, so experimentation is key for synergy. This guide highlights a few of the overall best options, so read on if you want to master those late runs in Curse of the Dead Gods.

Curse of the Dead Gods Blood Emblem Blessings 

Let's start with the three blessings you can unlock with blood emblems. This currency is much rarer than crystal skulls, so it's fitting that these three blessings add a little more power than many of the others.

T'amok's Breath

Your physical attacks (non-elemental) have a 50% chance to turn into fire attacks. This is probably the weakest of the three, only because it's so easily replaced.

You'll find several weapons throughout your journey with elemental attacks, making this a wasted spot. It is an extremely powerful effect if you're using non-elemental weapons, but you're probably better off filling your blessing spots with other things.

Grace of the Tempest

This one allows you to gain +1 Dexterity each time you complete a room without taking damage. It's a monster and overall, probably the best blessing in the game.

Every point of Dexterity in Curse of the Dead Gods increases your damage by 2%, so longer runs will give you plenty of opportunities to raise your base stats significantly and turn into a DPS machine. Once you unlock this blessing, you'll be hard-pressed to find one that is more effective.

Reptilian Hunger

Your Greed Kill counter never runs out when you are out of combat. Neither does it reset between rooms. Your damage increases by 1% per active Greed Kill Count (up to 50%).

Not only is this effect incredibly powerful, but it works extremely well in conjunction with the Grace of the Tempest blessing. If you can reach a boss with a full Greed Kill counter and get some licks in before you lose it, you'll get a huge damage boost.

Curse of the Dead Gods Crystal Skull Blessings

There are a few really strong blessings in Curse of the Dead Gods that can only be unlocked with crystal skulls. We'll start by naming a few strong, early options that only cost a few skulls to unlock and will help you progress quickly when you're first starting out. 

Furious Skin 

Furious Skin grants you a short-term damage boost after you take damage. This will probably help you squeak by tough fights in the early game, but you'll likely want to focus on not getting hit in later runs, making Furious Skin obsolete.

Favor of Sich'al

Favor of Sich'al gives you 1,000 gold and 5 Perception (increasing your ability to find rewards) at the start of each run. This is huge in short runs, as you often won't have long enough to see benefits from some of the other blessings. This one doesn't scale as well for longer runs, however.

There are also a few other extremely strong blessings, which scale later into the game. 

Gust of Agility

Gust of Agility gives you 5 Dexterity and 5-seconds of increased movement speed after a perfect dodge. This is a very strong blessing that gives you more damage in the early game without sacrificing late-game utility. The movement speed bonus is excellent, especially since perfect dodges are so key to successful late runs.

Storm's Focus

Storm's Focus fully restores your stamina after a successful parry. Even parrying experts can mess up the timing, which can reset a lot of other bonuses. That makes this a risky pick. If your parrying is spot on, though, you'll essentially be able to forget about managing stamina.

Unquenchable Thirst

Unquenchable Thirst restores an extra stamina point after a greed kill. This blessing pairs perfectly with Reptilian Hunger, giving you much better stamina recovery. This gives you more options in combat and is one of the strongest and most universal picks in the game.

Serpent's Bounty

Serpent's Bounty makes bosses and champions drop 5 pieces of gear instead of 2 on defeat. This is a boon in long runs, as you'll encounter many of these foes and want weapons with synergistic abilities when you hit the final few rooms. You can always sacrifice the extra gear to the gods, granting you small health, corruption, or stat boosts.

Skillful Adaptation

Skillful Adaptation gives your two-handed weapon a damage boost after defeating an enemy with either your main or secondary weapon, and vice versa. This blessing can be extremely powerful if you find the right gear, but it can also be underwhelming if you aren't skilled at switching between weapons in the middle of a fight or if you can't find strong weapons. It's temperamental but can be devastating in the right build.

The Best Blessing Combination

When it's all said and done, picking your blessings in Curse of the Dead Gods comes down to personal preference, either to accent your strengths or plug holes in your game. The three I find myself using most often are Grace of the TempestReptilian Hunger, and Unquenchable Thirst.

This gives enough of a damage boost (if you can avoid taking hits) to ease the difficulty of later fights, while also providing a little extra help managing stamina in chaotic brawls.


What's your favorite Curse of the Dead Gods blessing combination? Let us know in the comments below, and consider check out our game page for more on Curse of the Dead Gods.

Loop Hero Review: Groundhog's Roguelike Thu, 04 Mar 2021 11:17:21 -0500 Anthony McGlynn

To describe Loop Hero, it would nearly be easier to tell you the descriptors that aren't relevant. Part deck-builder, part real-time strategy, part survival horror, this roguelike from Four Quarters is novel and deeply compelling.

After a recent Steam demo piqued my interest, I was excited to dive back in and see if the full game could deliver on those initial strong impressions. What I got was something that's even better and continues to find ways to keep me on my toes.

Underneath the game's colorful '80s fantasy aesthetic lies an engine whose constant motion is a touch bewildering to start, forcing you to make moves on the fly while your hero takes down wave after wave of monsters. But in those fleeting moments where you manage to make everything work in your favor, this is a game that's absolutely worth the timesink.

Loop Hero Review: Groundhog's Roguelike

As the name suggests, Loop Hero involves some amount of repetition. A cataclysmic event has occurred, and the titular protagonist must try and rebuild things using resources gathered from expeditions into the wider world. These expeditions involve doing laps on a randomly generated circuit full of slimes. Defeating slimes gives you cards to build out the circuit with scenery that generates resources like wood and food, as well as spawn points for other ghoulish monsters.

Killing enemies gives your intrepid adventurer new equipment, on top of more cards, and on you go until either the boss is killed, you die, or you retreat. Each successful lap, demarcated by your campfire, levels up the surrounding creatures, and a recurring day-cycle dictates creature spawn-rate and other bonuses.

Published by Devolver Digital, Loop Hero is a lot to take in, at first. Unless you pause, your character is always moving straight ahead, and enemies are constantly wandering around. Battles happen automatically, and though you can switch equipment at any time, if you enter one in which you're badly outmatched, you're pretty much out of luck. It's a gauntlet that harkens back to the Ultima and Might and Magic series, by way of Hades and The Binding of Isaac, but the remarkable thing is just how well it teaches you to navigate this desolate world.

Most of the cards have basic descriptions for things like "Meadow," which gives you 2HP at the start of each day, or "Vampire Mansion," which adds a bloodsucker to any fight on an adjacent tile. Spaces where you can put any given card are highlighted in green, and the majority can be played without any specific criteria. As you play, the map fills up with tiny, solid-color animations for each moving entity, your literal white knight marching to the ominously heavy 8-bit soundtrack.

It's about constantly making moves and seeing what happens. When you change equipment, the previously equipped piece evaporates, and if you get more equipment than the nine weapon and armor slots allow for, the overflow becomes resources in your rucksack.

Many of the cards have some form of stacking effect if you place them close together, like nine mountains or rocks becoming a mountain range for a bonus. But watch out, now you've harpies flying around, and one more mountain or rock and a goblin camp will form somewhere on the path.

Half the fun, and much of the challenge, lies in placing something and realizing you've made a mistake, and now a blood golem's in the way. Keenly, unlike Sunset Games' Into The Breach, another timey-wimey strategy-RPG, I never encountered something in Loop Hero that stopped me dead from making just one bad play. It was always an accumulation, accidentally making a chokepoint full of skeletons and spiders or not thinking about just how fast goblins respawn.

You're always cycling through different modes of thinking, from smart land placement and making sure your champion's healthbar stays up to keeping count on the resources being generated. The different classes each require different strategies, where health regen serves the warrior well, but the rogue is more suited to evasion, and so on. It's important to stay wary, but focusing on one is a recipe for disaster.

There can be a temptation to treat this as a passive game, letting the laps run and resources build, and certainly moments to catch your breath do occur, but they're just that. I always found there was something to do, and the random elements make it hard to do anything on auto-pilot. Nothing in Loop Hero comes easy, and keeping the rewards flowing requires your full attention.

Should you last long enough, one of several Lich entities that contributed to this world reset will appear as a boss. Beating them opens the next stage and grants some lore that helps parse what's going on, and if it can be fixed. Losing sends you back to the campsite, with 30% of what you collected in tow – a manual retreat lets you keep 60%, and defeating the boss gets you the whole lot.

There's no retrieving your body, like in Dark Souls or Hollow Knight, much to my absolute relief. As much is a small blessing amid the continuous deaths when trying to figure out each chapter. Loop Hero's difficulty curve can be as steep as any other modern Souls-like, and on occasion I found myself having to step away after an otherwise prosperous run ended in cold hard defeat. A staple of the genre that manifests a little too much in prolonged sessions.

You gradually build out the camp using materials you've picked up, unlocking improvements to your loadout, new cards, and more. Each new square on-site brings another NPC and some more information on what reality was like before whatever happened happened. Everyone and everything has become trapped in this endless vortex, where time doesn't matter, and a collective amnesia is forcing us all to become reacquainted with the old world and how things used to be.

This isn't confined to people in your camp, either. New enemies will often spark dialogue, mentioning the adversarial roles, remembering it was all part of an ecosystem at one point or another. Loop Hero doesn't necessarily do anything profound with this meta candor, but its inclusion did give me some pause.

It doesn't take much to recognize the way Four Quarters has captured the current moment. Living in a strange stasis between an old world that's gone and a new one that's going to need some work, battling forces that are difficult to comprehend.

Loop Hero is the morbid Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask sequel we never got, where the moon crashed down, and this is what happened. Like Majora's Mask, Loop Hero structures itself around temporal distortion but is not a story about time travel.

Rather than taking the Avengers: Endgame approach of having you battle through the ages to stop the big bad, Loop Hero is about existing in the post-apocalypse and using the tools readily at your disposal to fix things — or at least make them better.

It's an important distinction, amid what is now months of lockdown, because bending the laws of physics is not a solution that is available to us. The allegory of breaking time and space doesn't bring me much comfort, but being reminded that taking each day as it comes, and that doing what I can where I can is enough, does. Someday, we'll beat this thing, and Loop Hero is a very welcome reminder of that.

Loop Hero Review — The Bottom Line

  • Cleverly mixes many different genres
  • Plenty to discover
  • Easy to learn
  • Beautiful art and catchy soundtrack
  • Can be grueling
  • Replaying early levels sometimes boring

Loop Hero is a great game for an exhausting period, as much for being a compelling distraction as for its thematic core. The synergy between the interlocking mechanics is remarkable, making all the spinning plates you've to manage seem effortless by times.

The range of inspirations gives it a wide appeal, only held back by the harsh frontloading on new challenges. Be careful, this can make days feel like an instant.

[Note: Four Quarters Games provided the copy of Loop Hero used for this review-in-progress.]

Curse of the Dead Gods Review: The Temple of Doom Tue, 02 Mar 2021 18:10:27 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

It's pretty easy to look at Curse of the Dead Gods and dismiss it as riding the coattails of Hades. There are definitely a lot of similarities between the two, but Curse of the Dead Gods eschews much of the storytelling elements that make Hades stand out to deliver a more traditional, but never inferior, action roguelike experience.

If you've been in search of an action game that will punish you for getting cocky and reward your patience and practice, Curse of the Dead Gods is a temple of doom full of deadly treasures.

I took a look at it last year when it first started kicking around in Early Access, and I enjoyed it for its excellent risk-reward balance, difficulty, and customization. It felt like a good time to check back in and see what the full release looks like.

Curse of the Dead Gods Review: The Temple of Doom

Curse of the Dead Gods casts you in the shoes of a daring explorer who seemingly gets locked in an ancient, ever-shifting temple. On top of that, you've been inflicted with a horrible curse that builds as you progress further and further through it.

What that means is you'll move through a series of procedurally generated rooms, battling enemies and collecting powerups as you go, before eventually coming across a boss (or, in longer runs, multiple bosses) in the hopes that you've become strong enough to take them on.

Otherwise, you'll be zipped back to the beginning to take on another run.

This probably sounds familiar, because, well, it is. Curse of the Dead Gods doesn't break a ton of new ground in the genre. However, it does everything in the roguelike realm very well, and it does have a few clever ways to get its hooks in you. Let's start with the familiar stuff that it does well.

Combat feels silky, and it's difficult without being unfair. You battle a lot of foes at once, and learning to prioritize the most dangerous ones is one key to success. Dodging and heavy attacks take stamina, which refills after a short time of not taking any actions, so learning how to pace yourself, strike, and get to safety is another key. You can also parry, leaving your foes vulnerable and instantly refilling a bit of stamina.

On top of all that, there are a variety of primary, secondary, and heavy weapons to find, all with procedurally generated abilities and status effects, so using them wisely is the third and final key. 

It is a lot to keep track of, but it never feels completely overwhelming. The difficulty curve of Curse of the Dead Gods is a lot less punishing than many roguelikes, and you'll be dodging and parrying like a pro before you know it.

As you move through your early runs, you'll only have a handful of rooms to get through before you take on a boss. It isn't to say these early runs are easy, but you won't suffer too much attrition before reaching the end. And, even if you do, Curse of the Dead Gods plays fast and loose in handing out its persistent resources, which you can use to buy permanent upgrades to take on later runs.

That's when some of the wrinkles in Curse of the Dead Gods shine through.

Those titular curses are a big part of things. As you pass through doors or battle certain enemies, your Corruption meter builds. When it hits critical mass, you'll be inflicted with a game-altering curse. Some of these are generally harmless, and some can even be beneficial to certain playstyles.

As runs get longer and enemies get tougher, however, these curses can build up on one another, leading to unintended combinations that can be impossible to overcome. If you hit your fifth curse on a single run, it's practically a death sentence, though defeating a boss does let you knock a curse off.

Curses make the game even more fascinating because some of the best room rewards can only be obtained by taking a heavy hit to your Corruption meter. Is it worth it to add another random negative effect for an extremely powerful weapon or perk? It might be! 

Light and dark play a big role in Curse of the Dead Gods, too. You can swap to your torch and use it to light braziers in the environment, or even set flammable parts of the environment afire, watching it spread to, perhaps, cause an explosion. Light helps you see enemies from further away, of course, but it can also cause you to take or deal more damage in darkness. 

The risk-reward element is alive and well in Curse of the Dead Gods and, because it's an action game, you never feel completely hopeless.

Deckbuilder roguelikes often have that "critical mass" moment where you realize you won't be able to successfully complete a run, even if you haven't hit the roadblock yet. Curse of the Dead Gods' combat still puts enough control in your hands that you feel like making it through one more room could give you the edge you need.

Curse of the Dead Gods—The Bottom Line


  • Combat is difficult without being unfair and extremely rewarding when you get it right
  • Corruption and darkness add nice layers of risk-reward to runs
  • Interesting art style and slick animations


  • Becomes repetitive quicker than many other roguelikes
  • Could use a bit more of a story and narrative

Where Curse of the Dead Gods falls short is in its replayability. Roguelikes are already somewhat repetitive by design, but without a strong story hook or a huge amount of variety, it can be tough to dive back in for another run.

After putting in about 20 hours for this review, I'm not sure Curse of the Dead Gods is the "long haul" type of roguelike. HadesBinding of IsaacSlay the SpireMonster Train — each keeps revealing more the more hours you sink in. But all in all, that's a small gripe for an otherwise fantastic game. 

If you just want an old-school roguelike to test your mettle, you can't go wrong with Curse of the Dead Gods. It's the right mix of challenge and experimentation, providing dozens of hours of playtime before it starts to wear. After that, you may even find self-imposed challenges and the chase of perfection enough to keep you delving back in for another run.

[Note: Focus Home Interactive provided the copy of Curse of the Dead Gods used for this review.]

PixelJunk Raiders Review: One Small Step for Stadia Mon, 01 Mar 2021 15:23:41 -0500 Mark Delaney

Google Stadia hasn't been in the headlines for the right reasons when it comes to launching games lately. Whether it's the report that Ubisoft and Take-Two were paid more than handsomely for recent ports, the announcement of the first-party games division closing permanently, or apparently canceled deals with the likes of Kojima Productions, it's been a rough few weeks.

But the Stadia team has promised third-party games will continue, and a new and exclusive example, PixelJunk Raiders, is out now for Stadia Pro members. Sadly, this new entry in the genre-agnostic PixelJunk series isn't the killer app that still eludes the tangerine-tinted cloud platform.

PixelJunk Raiders is okay and shows flashes of something greater. Still, its gameplay loop feels decidedly dated right away, and despite a cool exclusive feature only Stadia can pull off, it doesn't feel like an alien world much worth exploring.

PixelJunk Raiders Review: One Small Step for Stadia

In the third-person roguelike melee-driven action game PixelJunk Raiders, a "Quantum Anomaly" has caused a crack in space, and through it come pouring aliens of all shapes and sizes. Early on, you'll see a lot of squid-like aliens slashing or even shooting at you when they get close. Later on, giant sandworms and some Giger-inspired humanoids show up to disrupt the planet of Tantal, the cel-shaded, high-contrast home to helpless other lifeforms.

It's your job as a mercenary to get boots on the ground and fight for their safety, clearing encampments of the volatile aliens and restoring peace to each area you visit.

Because each level is procedurally generated, piecing together various planetary parts to create each level, like loot, number of survivors, and enemy difficulty, you always have a general idea of what they're getting into — even if failure may mean you don't ever get back.

But this structure is also one of the game's biggest letdowns, because no matter what a level looks like or how tough the threat may be, saving Tantalian survivors is routinely lacking. You don't escort the survivors anywhere, you don't enlist them to aid you in battle before sending them home, you don't do anything really, except approach them and hold down a button when the immediate area has been cleared of enemies.

They just stand there, and because every mission besides the boss battles has to do with these survivors, it quickly becomes a chore to stick around.

PixelJunk Raiders is built like an arcade game, so there's deliberately no narrative pull to these survivors. You don't learn their stories. Even when they give you brief side quests before you can save them, those quests amount to going to a spot on the map and grabbing an item, which means periods of fighting enemies close to your survivors are broken up with periods of fighting enemies far away from your survivors.

That's the sort of variety we're talking about here.

It's too bad these survivors prove to be such uninteresting subjects because some of the game's systems are more enjoyable. Upgrades come early and often and in several varieties. You can unlock permanent ability changes like getting to recover your loot, a la a Soulslike, when you die, improving your max health, or adding new attacks to your melee arsenal. New cosmetics can be unlocked by completing contracts, though these only ever amount to saving a certain number of survivors. Stat increases are reset on death, but you otherwise keep what you've earned, so it's one of the more forgiving roguelites I've played.

Weapon degradation means you'll always be scrambling to stay ahead of alien hordes, and that part feels great. You'll need to use everything in your environment, and what's actually in your environment is affected by other players on Stadia. Using State Share, you can share a link to your procedurally generated level featuring all the traps and tools you've left behind, like mines, jump pads, and pockets of healing smoke.

It's reminiscent of what Kojima called the debut of the "strand game." However, what he, and PixelJunk Raiders, are really referencing is the asynchronous multiplayer from Dark Souls, where players who never meet one another can still aid each other on their travels.

It's a fun idea, but it doesn't make PJR's worst bits more enjoyable. The dashes between settlements to save 10+ survivors in each level are not any more exciting because someone left me some extra supplies. This does improve boss battles, at least.

These levels are typical, featuring bosses that need to be hit three times in between waves of smaller grunts, but loading up a boss battle with all sorts of assists and sending it to a friend has a lot of potential, if only because of the way it allows you to unload and almost speedrun these bosses. 

Crowd control is the directive as levels get harder, and it doesn't take long before they really test your mettle. This is the game's best bit because even if the survivors aren't interesting, at least the act of checking the box that says you saved them proves to be a real challenge. PixelJunk Raiders does get exciting when you're hanging on to your last few hit points, hoping for a critical item that will help you clear the area of the final few colorful alien creatures.

A fun synthy soundtrack helps paint the game in its intended retro-pulp sci-fi aesthetic, though the barren worlds don't provide the same punch. PJR is a lot more like Death Stranding than I expected in that way. It's a lot of running across barren land from settlement to settlement, with little that matters in between and a lot of nonsense once you get there.

PixelJunk Raiders Review — The Bottom Line



  • Challenging enemy encounters after some early breezes
  • Fun retro sci-fi music sets the appropriate scene
  • Good character progression split across several upgrade trees



  • Central loop of saving survivors is a chore
  • Boss battles stick to tropes
  • Procedurally generated levels that don't feel worth discovering

PixelJunk Raiders is almost a good game and certainly isn't horrible, but its best bits, the roguelite systems and some tough melee battles, are still better done in other games in the genre, and those games aren't built around saving survivors who behave more like statues.

With more variety in missions and scenery, this indie could've proven to be the killer app Google needs, but as it is, it's merely one small step for Stadia and one giant leap for no one.

[Note: Google provided the copy of PixelJunk Raiders used for this review.]

Turn-Based RPGs in 2021: 14 Games to Look Out For Wed, 17 Feb 2021 11:13:02 -0500 Ethan Anderson


Rogue Lords

  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
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  • Release Date: TBD 2021
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Rogue Lords is one of those games where you're unquestionably playing as the "bad guys" in the story. As the title suggests, it's a roguelike in which you literally take control of the Devil and his forces of evil.


Your party will be full of characters like the Headless Horseman, Dracula, Bloody Mary, and more as you aim to terrorize brave mortals known as Demon Hunters in this somewhat humorous plot. It's one fans of both horror and RPGs will want to keep an eye on. 


There are plenty of RPGs, turn-based or otherwise, launching in 2021. This list doesn't exactly name all of them, so let us know in the comments below if we missed anything you're really looking forward to!


Fuga: Melodies of Steel

  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
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  • Release Date: TBD 2021
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Delays have been coming for plenty of games recently, and unfortunately, Fuga: Melodies of Steel is no exception. With an original release window of late 2019, it eventually got delayed to 2020, then again to 2021.


The game is being developed and published by CyberConnect2. These days, the company is best known for their Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series, but Fuga is a turn-based RPG set in wartime, so there are almost no similarities between the two.


Fuga: Melodies of Steel follows the story of children living in a war-torn land. In true anime fashion, the children stumble upon a tank that they soon use to fight back against the forces that have invaded their home. Hopefully, we'll learn more about it soon. 


Loop Hero

  • Platforms: PC
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  • Release Date: March 4, 2021
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If you're into card games and roguelikes, then Loop Hero is definitely one of the RPGs that you should be looking out for this year. It's a deck-builder with an interesting twist.


Each level has a pre-determined path that the hero must take in order to complete it. The path is made up of multiple tiles, and the player decides what goes on in each tile by using cards that the game deals.


The cards can contain monsters, power-ups, buildings, and much more. To succeed, you'll need to cleverly plot a path in order for the hero to survive each loop. If Loop Hero has you even the slightest bit interested, you can try it out for yourself through the demo on Steam.


Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny

  • Platforms: Switch
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  • Release Date: Summer 2021
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This is a bit of a weird entry because Disgaea 6 already launched in Japan on January 28, 2021. With that said, Nippon Ichi Software recently released a character trailer to build hype for the game's western launch, while also providing some details for non-Japanese fans.


It's been six years since the last Disgaea game, and in this entry, the plot focuses on a zombie named Zed and his sister Bieko. The sibling's journey through the Netherworld after a God of Destruction threatens their way of life.


Disgaea 6 offers gameplay features that could help ease new players into the long series, just in case you were thinking of starting at the sixth entry. With Auto, Retry, and Replay options for combat, battles can be as easy or as difficult as you want them to be.



  • Platforms: PC
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  • Release Date: TBD 2021
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Wolfstride seems so over-the-top in such a good way. It's got plenty of style in all 39 seconds of its only trailer. Developer OTA IMON Studios and publisher Raw Fury haven't shown off very much of the game yet, but it's still an RPG that you should look out for this year.


The main trio of characters includes an ex-Yakuza, a rookie combat pilot, and a grizzled mechanic. They come together to form a team for the Ultimate Mech Tournament. It sounds like a wild anime plot you'll be able to play through.


When you aren't upgrading/customizing your mechs or competing, you'll be exploring Rain City as you build relationships with its citizens. There's more to this game than meets the eye, and with that art style, you'll want to see all of it.


Shin Megami Tensei V

  • Platforms: Switch
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  • Release Date: TBD 2021
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Here's another entry with little to no details whatsoever provided by the developer. ATLUS announced Shin Megami Tensei V last summer during a short Nintendo Direct that focused solely on third-party releases.


Since then, there's been no buzz at all surrounding the game. Even today's 50-minute long Nintendo Direct had no mention of it whatsoever. That being said, there'll still be plenty of chances for ATLUS to surprise fans with more info on the fifth mainline entry in the SMT franchise throughout the year.


The only thing that we know for sure at this point is that SMT V will have a simultaneous worldwide release, which is a welcome surprise for an ATLUS game.


Darkest Dungeon 2

  • Platforms: PC
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  • Release Date: TBD 2021
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Darkest Dungeon came out back in 2015, and now, Darkest Dungeon 2 is "welcoming" players back to a new, nightmarish dungeon, six years later.


Developer Red Hook Studios hasn't provided much info on the sequel just yet, but the turn-based roguelike RPG will be available in Early Access on the Epic Games Store at some point this year. Hopefully. 


Darkest Dungeon 2 will be exclusive to the EGS throughout its Early Access run, and no console plans have been finalized just yet, even though the original is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch.


King's Bounty II

  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
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  • Release Date: August 24, 2021
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Here's another RPG that puts real emphasis on player choice. King's Bounty II wants fans to feel as though there's weight to every decision that they make.


The game has players assume the role of one of three main characters, each with their own unique tale to tell. All three stories are full of non-linear plot points, tough moral choices, and a number of classes to choose from. All of this is in a world that mixes realism and fantasy.


Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

  • Platforms: PC
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  • Release Date: June 2021
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This is another RPG that started out with a successful Kickstarter campaign, and developer Owlcat Games intends to give fans exactly what they crowdfunded this summer.


Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a classic CRPG that draws players into the demon-infested realm of Sarkoris, where they'll be tasked with fighting back hordes of creatures in a righteous crusade.


As the game progresses, players will be faced with plenty of choices as they're literally given control of the Fifth Crusade — a fierce push against the demons.


If you're a Kickstarted backer, you can even get some hands-on time with the game in the backer-only beta ahead of its official launch.


Black Book

  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch
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  • Release Date: Q1 2021
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A lot of us know about the bigger names in the land of RPGs, but what about some of the smaller, indie turn-based RPGs coming in 2021? Kickstarter game Black Book falls into that category.


Developer Morteshka and publisher HypeTrain Digital have come together to create a narrative-driven card combat RPG set in a world where mythical creatures and humans live alongside one another.


Black Book's setting is rooted in Slavic folk tales, with players following a sorceress named Vasilisa as she aims to obtain the mysterious Black Book — an artifact said to grant any wish.


The game doesn't have a release date just yet, but it's set to launch in the first quarter of 2021.


Cris Tales

  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, Stadia
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  • Release Date: June 2021
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Time travel is always a cool and interesting mechanic in games  unless it becomes overly complicated. Cris Tales is aiming to keep things relatively simple with gameplay features that allow players to see into the past, make decisions in the present, and watch the future change on-screen all at once.


Cris Tales tells the tale of Crisbell. That's a bit of a tongue-twister, but the young heroine sets out on a journey in the land of Crystallis in order to stop the Time Empress.


The game was originally slated for a 2020 launch, but after two delays, here's hoping that it hits its current summer 2021 release window.


Digimon Survive

  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
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  • Release Date: TBD 2021
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Digimon is back once again. This time, it feels like pure nostalgia coated in a fresh, new coat of paint. Digimon Survive even borrows small story beats from the original anime.


Saki, Takuma, and their friends are spending time at a summer camp when boredom forces them to venture out into the wild. They eventually end up in a different world after walking through a mysterious shrine. And of course, they meet Digimon once they arrive.


Digimon Survive is a tactical RPG that provides both turn-based combat and choice-filled "Drama Parts" containing Persona-style social bond systems.


The game is presented as a somewhat ominous trip to the digital world, with "death and danger" waiting for the children as they attempt to return home.


Ruined King: A League of Legends Story

  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch
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  • Release Date: TBD 2021
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League of Legends currently has over 140 Champions, each with unique lore, personalities, and more. With a roster size that size and the game's everlasting popularity, it really should come as no surprise that a few spin-offs are in the works.


They were inevitable, really.


Of those 140 characters, Ruined King has players following just Miss Fortune, Illaoi, Braum, Pyke, Ahri, and Yasuo. It's a turn-based adventure that will take place in Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles as the mysterious Black Mist approaches. It's currently set for an "early" 2021 release, though no exact date has been shared yet. 



  • Platforms: Switch
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  • Release Date: Feb. 26, 2021
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No surprise here. If you're looking to scratch that turn-based RPG itch as soon as possible, Bravely Default II is your best option. The release date is right around the corner, and this will be the series' first entry on a home console.


This sequel tells the story of Seth, Gloria, Elvis, and Adelle. Together, they're known as the Heroes of Light. Series veterans will be pleased to know that these heroes have many Jobs, as the signature customizable Bravely Default class system returns.


If you want to get a little taste of what to expect, you can download the five-hour demo right now on the Nintendo eShop.


Bravely Default II launches on Feb. 26, so fans of the first two entries won't have to wait much longer to get their hands on the full game.


There are so many promising RPGs launching in 2021 that those with turn-based gameplay can be made into a list all on their own. (We have a separate one for other notable titles coming soon). 


2020 gave us turn-based gems like Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Wasteland 3, and Ikenfell. So, what is there to look forward to this year?


Bravely Default II is one of the most talked-about releases under that category at this point, but there will be plenty more to see in the coming months. Read on to see 14 new upcoming turn-based RPGs that you should keep an eye out for.