INTRODUCTIONLooterkings is an early access title being developed by the identically named studio Looterkings. The devs have chosen to debut with a self-titled game, so much like in the music industry, it better be their best. Looterkings is a third person "dungeon crawler" that's main focus is to create a fun four-player co-op experience.Rally three of your friends and you can all explore ever-changing dungeons that'll surprise you each time you play. If you're interested in supporting the developer in the on-going development, you can pick it up on Steam for $17.99.
GAMEPLAYWe'll dig right into the meat and PO-TA-TOES of Looterkings! As I said above, the devs have designed the game from the ground up to be a co-op experience first, and a single-player game last. In order to fully enjoy the title, you'll need at least one other friend. In my experience thus far I've only managed to group up with two other people at a time, which made the game exponentially better. In an ideal situation, you'll be slogging through the dungeons with a full party of four just decimating any skeleton or weird lava worm that is fool enough to stand in your way.
Even for an early access game, there's a fair amount of content in the game that allows your goblin to feel unique in your part. The game has an interesting progression route that plays into the central theme of the game. Get loot, get good stuff. It's pretty simple. Smashing crates and barrels, opening up chests, and solving the occasional platforming room, you'll be loaded down with loot. After you've carved a bloody swathe through the dungeons and your pockets are packed full of ill-gotten gains, you can head to the shop and get yourself outfitted. You'll start with a crossbow, but as you progress you can buy new weapons and armor. There's also a leveling system, but as far as I can tell, you just get small stat bonuses and the items you can purchase from the store are gated behind specific level thresholds.
When you decide what role you want to play in your group and purchase the corresponding weapon, you get new abilities based off of that weapon. The action economy is as follows: you have a God Ability which is a high powered ability that runs on cool down and enhances the playstyle that you've chosen, you have a special ability that also runs on cool down though it is much shorter, and that's about it!
Super simple. After you've been outfitted, you're ready to play the game. Looterkings reminded me of the hoard style gameplay you'd find in Call of Duty's zombie mode. You'd head into a room, get sealed in, and then fight waves of enemies until either you're dead or they are.
"But Tanner, is it fun?!" That's what I imagine you're asking anyway and you need to chill out. The short answer is "yeah, for a while". During my time playing the game, I enjoyed myself. It was fun seeing what abilities I could unlock, it was neat seeing the dungeons change, and playing with randoms online was actually a pleasant experience. Would I say that the game blew me away in terms of what it currently brought to the table? No. We're still early in the development process, folks.
CommunityA game that is intended to be played with other people better has an active online community. Unfortunately, as it stands at the moment, Looterkings just doesn't have that. According to SteamCharts at the time of writing this preview, the game only has 20 players currently. That means at the most, there're only five full games going on worldwide. That's also assuming that all of those games are being publicly hosted and anyone can join. Again, the game is in early access, but it would be a huge oversight on my part if I didn't mention this.
The game is playable by yourself, but playable and enjoyable are two different things, my friend. I played the first 45 minutes by myself because I couldn't find a game online. Obviously, if a game is made for four people, if you go at it solo the difficulty is way above what you should be experiencing. As far as I can tell, there's no system for scaling difficulty to a number of players at the moment. By the looks of it, though, there will be a "casual" mode coming in future updates, so that may address my concerns.
GRAPHICS AND SOUNDThe game has its own style, which I can appreciate. Does it stack up to triple A titles? No. Was it ever intended to? Also no. The devs and artists on the team did a good job creating a unique style. Each time you progress a floor in the dungeon, you get a new environment that's drastically different from the previous ones. For example. the first floor has a lot of fire and lava and bad stuff, the second is a cool blue crystal encrusted ruin. There's a cool art direction going on here and I am excited to see new levels.
The goblins steal the show, though. As you unlock new equipment, your goblin looks a lot more interesting. Skull masks, leather hoods, togas! Considering that you'll be looking at your gross little goblin the majority of the game, it's nice that you'll have the opportunity to change them up pretty frequently. I should also mention that the developers have already put out free DLC pack that adds...uh, some interesting clothing options.
When it comes to the sound design, the game doesn't do anything groundbreaking. The goblins themselves sound alright in the various grunts and heaves you'll hear, the monsters seem oddly quiet at times, and the weapons sound good enough, but nothing really special to say. But, hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
PerformanceSeeing as how Looterkings is an early access title, performance should be addressed and what you can expect from it. First of all, I am always surprised with an early access game when it runs at a consistent frame rate. I guess my opinion of how an early access will run has been soured by my 500+ hours into DayZ Standalone. This game runs smooth, for the most part. You will get the occasional FPS dip when you move into an object-heavy room or a room with a fair amount of lighting effects happening, but it isn't too bad. You'll also get a strange "hitching" when moving your character every now and then, for what appears to be, no reason at all. Due to this hitching, the game can sort of feel disjointed and wooden at times. Not pleasant.
CONCLUSIONLooterkings is interesting, to say the least. It is a quirky little game that has a lot of neat ideas. The gameplay doesn't do a whole lot that's new, but it manages to stay entertaining for a good little while. The only thing stopping it from becoming a good time waster is the lack of community it currently has. If the developers can remedy this (marketing the game, throwing out a few free copies, etc...), I think the future could be bright. As of right now, there's a fair amount of content for an early access game. It's worth picking up if you already have a few friends you can play with, but if you're someone that finds themselves playing solo the majority of the time, maybe skip this one.
| + Snappy controls|| - Very small community|
| + Nice level of customization|| - FPS hitching|
| + Rewarding progression system|| - No difficulty scaling|