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7 beginner’s tips to untangle Loop Hero

Loop Hero takes bits and pieces from lots of other games and shuffles them into something new. The individual parts are easy enough to understand, but it gets overwhelming fast.

In this Loop Hero guide, we’ll give our tips for your several hours with the game. We’ll teach you how to think about your role (what you do in Loop Hero), choosing and placing cards, gathering resources, what to build first at your camp, and how to unlock new classes.

You have three roles in Loop Hero

The odd thing about Loop Hero is that you don’t control any walking or fighting — the titular hero handles that on their own. Instead, you’ve got three distinct (but related) jobs: outfitter, world-builder, and city planner.

During a loop, the hero is autonomously walking around and slaying enemies that drop equipment, cards, and resources. As outfitter, you manage the equipment they find by comparing equipment’s stats and equipping the one with the bigger number.

As the hero fights, you build the world — think of it like playing as the board on which a board game takes place (or being a dungeon master in Dungeons & Dragons).

Dead enemies drop equipment like swords and shields, as well as cards. You place these cards around the map, complicating the loop. Some cards change the terrain (the black void around the loop), adding things like meadows and rocks for health boosts. Others change the loop itself (the path the hero walks), creating cemeteries and vampire mansions that spawn extra enemies — and more enemies means more drops.

In between trips along the titular loop, you’ll be planning and building out your hero’s camp with structures like a farm, smithy, and herbalist’s hut.

And that’s how all three roles are interrelated: In the hands-off part, the hero fights and collects things, and you’re in charge of making said hero more kill-y. More killing means more cards and better equipment. Placing cards lets the hero collect better, rarer, and more valuable resources. And that stuff turns into new camp buildings which unlock new cards and classes. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The three parts of Loop Hero’s loop.
Graphic: Jeffrey Parkin | Sources: Four Quarters/Devolver Digital via Polygon

Your job is to balance those three tasks, and that starts with making sure your hero doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Don’t place every card or you’ll overwhelm your hero

If you don’t place a single card during a loop, the hero will happily continue fighting slimes in wastelands forever, collecting getting mediocre weapons and unexciting resources as rewards.

Placing cards means putting challenges in your hero’s way, and those challenges come with better rewards. Your job as world-builder (and equipment manager) is to balance your hero’s survival against the value of those rewards.

Loop Hero gets complicated fast.
Image: Four Quarters/Devolver Digital via Polygon

It’s tempting to drop every card along the path the moment they come into your hand. Very early in the game, this is mostly manageable. But it quickly gets out of hand.

Instead, hold onto the enemy-generating cards. Don’t overwhelm your hero. Spread them out, save the ones you know will be hard to deal with (like swamps, for some reason), and take some time to think about their placement.

Experiment with card placement for weird combinations

Placing cards is straightforward enough. You pick a card, drop it in a valid spot (on the path, next to the path, or out in the void), and then wait for your hero to happen by. Some cards behave differently based on what’s nearby, though.

For example, placing nine rock or mountain cards in a three-by-three square transforms them into a mountain peak, which has different stats and daily actions than rocks and mountains. Similarly, meadows heal you for a couple points every morning. But a meadow placed so that it’s touching a different type of tile (like a mountain or rock) becomes a blooming meadow that gives an extra point of health each morning.

Experiment with card placement to see if you get any unexpected effects.

Keep an eye on your day meter

A day is Loop Hero’s timing mechanic, represented by the green gauge in the upper left corner of your screen. It’s a visual representation of the background math that controls everything from daily health bonuses to enemy spawns.

The 8-bit rooster will tell you when the gauge is full.
Image: Four Quarters/Devolver Digital via Polygon

The day meter fills when you’re in adventure mode and stops when you’re paused in planning mode. When the gauge is full, that’s a day — you’ll hear an 8-bit rooster, and the next day begins. Loop Hero’s daily math happens when the meter resets (or when the day begins, if you prefer).

It’s like an egg timer in a board game determining when you get healing from meadows (and blooming meadows) and how often a wasteland tile spits out a slime. Other tiles, like the mountain peak we mentioned, generate enemies on a schedule (one harpy every two days). Those enemies appear in the morning, when the gauge resets.

On your first loop or two, there’s not much combat, so you’ll make it back around to the starting point (the cozy camp tile) before many days pass. For example, that means a spider cocoon, which spits out one spider each morning, will only have time to drop a couple spiders in your hero’s path.

As you place more cards and more enemies show up, your hero’ll spend more time fighting, and loop takes longer. More days pass during each loop, and that spider cocoon, chugging along at one per day, has time to spit out six or eight spiders instead of just one or two. A tile can turn deadly just because you took too long to get there.

Dying is a pain, because you lose 70% of the resources you’ve gathered.

Retreat to camp before you die

When you’re not on an expedition, you’re in Loop Hero’s camp.

When you retreat determines how many resources you keep.
Image: Four Quarters/Devolver Digital via Polygon

You can get to camp in three ways. Two of them involve pressing the retreat button (the icon in the lower right with a person running on it), but all three determine what resources you keep.

  1. Cozy camp tile. Hit the retreat button on the cozy camp tile (the start/finish campfire on a loop), and you’ll return with 100% of what you’ve gathered.
  2. Retreat. Hit the retreat button anywhere other than the cozy camp tile, and you’ll keep 60% of your resources.
  3. Death. If you fall in battle, you’ll go back to camp with only 30% of your resources.

It’s much better to take several trips where you leave early — preferably by returning (alive) via the cozy camp — than it is to overexert your hero and fall in battle. About three times better, if our math is right.

Keeping those resources matters, because you’ll need a lot of stuff to upgrade your camp.

Build the herbalist hut and field kitchen first

After you return to camp a few times, you’ll unlock the build menu. This turns those resources you’ve collected into new structures that expand the camp.

Build the herbalist’s hut first.
Image: Four Quarters/Devolver Digital via Polygon

Build the herbalist’s hut first. This adds a healing potion to your hero’s equipment.

Healing potions automatically heal the hero when their health decreases to a certain threshold. (There’s a little marker above the health bar indicating when this will happen.) It’ll recharge by two doses every time your hero passes the cozy camp.

You’ll also get healed every time you pass Go (the cozy camp tile). To get even more health each time you pass, build the field kitchen. That will bump the cozy camp’s healing by an extra 10%.

Upgrade both buildings for even more health and more healing potion doses.

Expand your camp to unlock new classes, cards, and upgrades

Keep building out your camp with other structures from the build menu. New structures unlock new cards for your deck, different classes for your heroes, new kinds of resources, and even new mechanics.

The refuge unlocks the rogue class, for example. The herbalist’s hut, field kitchen, and gymnasium each add a new card to your deck.

And that’s where Loop Hero loops(!) back around to our first tip about balancing your three roles. You place cards in the void to get better resources from your hero; better resources build new camp buildings; new camp buildings give you new cards; new cards give better resources; and the loop continues.

Polygon’s Loop Hero review

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