Loop Hero can be a really addicting game, with its adorable retro visual style and unique gameplay that combines several other genres into one new experience, but the game doesn't exactly help you to understand what's going on and how you should approach it.
While simple at its core, the game's unique playstyle might be hard to understand when starting the game, particularly because sometimes it might even look counterintuitive.
Your role in this game is basically one of a dungeon master, you are not playing the titular loop hero here, they will do everything independently from you, moving around the endless loop and fighting with the enemies they encounter. The only direct command you will ever give to them is when you want them to retreat from the expedition and go back to the camp. Everything else - they do on their own.
So, what is your job then? Well, it can be grouped into three things: world-creating, equipping, and camp-building.
Loop Hero terrain cards placing guide
Various terrain is represented with cards which you put on empty tiles(Picture: Four Quarters)
The loop (the game's world) starts rather empty, and on your journey, you will be getting cards that represent various types of terrain you will use to "create" the world around the loop and on the loop itself.
Once placed, those terrain cards, like rocks or meadows, can give your hero special bonuses or generate more enemies.
Enemies are the main source of resources (equipment, land cards, and other items), so you will want to create more encounters for your hero in order to get better equipment and advance through the story, but the key thing here is balance, as you don't want to overwhelm your hero with too many enemies.
If you give them too many fights to deal with before they are ready, they will not be able to survive the loop and will die quickly. And dying in this game will lose you a lot of resources.
The map will become increasingly more complex as you build more things (Picture: Four Quarters)
On the other hand, the maximum amount of cards you can hold is 15, so make sure not to keep them for too long in hand as well, or you will lose them, and your hero will not progress as the resources will be scarce.
Also, make sure to read the cards' effects carefully and plan your placement accordingly, as many cards have extra strong effects when they are combined and placed next to each other.
For example, if you combine mountain cards into a 3x3 field, they will give you more powerful maximum health bonuses, but that big mountain will also start sending harpies to attack you (one harpy every two days).
A Treasury card will give you a huge amount of resources and loot once you put 8 other terrain cards around it, but then it will become abandoned and gargoyles will start attacking you.
Finally, keep an eye on your day meter, as many effects, both positive and negative, work on a daily basis, and if your hero takes too much time travelling, some tiles can be swarmed with enemies and be too much to handle for your hero.
Loop Hero Base Building: What should you build?
As you advance, you will unlock various new buildings for your basecamp (Picture: Four Quarters)
The base-building is another core aspect of Loop Hero, which will become available once you complete your first few loops (returns to camp).
Smart base-building is essential as it will provide you with the resources your hero will need to overcome all the challenges placed before him, especially as the game progress and the enemies become increasingly more powerful and the loop stacked with all kinds of foes.
The very first building you will need is Herbalist's Hut, which will provide your hero with healing potions they will automatically use in battles if their Health is too low. Not only that, but those potions will refill when the hero is back to the base, plus they will be healed for a small amount whenever they pass the camp. It is a basic thing, but absolutely essential.
Additionally, they will give you access to swamp cards, which can be very tricky to deal with but can reward you nicely.
The second building you will want to have is the Gymnasium, which will unlock the ability to level up your hero with three randomly generated traits each time you kill enough enemies for a new level.
By levelling up, you'll get to chose from 3 random traits whenever you kill enough monsters (Picture: Four Quarters)
The Gymnasium will also give you access to Village cards which give you another RPG aspect: Quest that rewards you with items, experience, or additional health. As a passive bonus, Villages heal you whenever you pass them during a loop.
With potions and heal from Villages, your survivability will be greatly improved and you will be able to go through much more complex encounters and gather more resources, eventually allowing you to progress towards the first boss.
The next things you will want to have are a Smithy and a Field Kitchen, both further improving the chances for survival of your hero. The Field Kitchen will improve the Cozy Camp’s healing by an extra 10%, which might not sound much, but it will help a lot, especially with soo much RNG that will happen in fights.
The Smithy will grant you access to a set of starting armour at the start of each run, which will later improve as you upgrade your building.
That's the final thing we want to mention here, don't forget to improve your buildings! Each building can be improved to give extra bonuses or unlock some new options.
With that being said, we would slowly end this beginners' guide. By now, you understand the fundamentals of how the game functions and which things are important to take care of.
Once again, our biggest advice is to be careful and to understand that balance is the key, as every positive side in this game has its negative side as well, and as long as you are keeping the steady balance and slowly progressing towards your goal, there shouldn't be any problems through your playthrough.
Have fun playing!