Looterkings is available on Steam here, releasing out of Early Access on 11th August 2017. It is developed by the aptly named Indie team, Looterkings, who provided me with a review key.
I hope you like naked goblins. Who doesn’t, right?
This is a cute, attractive, colourful, cheesy, funny and entertaining co-op dungeon crawler. You are an ugly little naked goblin who can partner with up to three more folks to work your way through a randomly generated dungeon, collecting coins, killing bosses and buying upgraded gear. It’s a roguelike; if you die and your team mates can’t resurrect you, you lose your coins and it’s bye-bye back to the checkpoint. The checkpoint is the beginning of each dungeon level; so if you’re still on the first set of rooms it’s game over. If you’ve progressed a bit further, you will save some progress and your level.
Plenty of content
The rooms are varied, with chasms over lava, the occasional platform to jump on, obstacles to avoid and so on – allowing for plenty of kiting. And kiting is what you will be doing for the majority of the game. Most of the enemies are damage sponges but can be killed by evading them and using a ranged weapon. Some of them have different strengths and weaknesses, such as shields that need to broken, enemies that explode in melee, enemies that have ranged attacks or special attacks etc. There’s also bosses which are pretty cool and unique.
By all that is holy, I need pants!!
You get a special ability that’s on cooldown that is pretty powerful, and a weapon ability that’s slightly powerful and on a shorter cooldown and can buy new weapons and armor from the shop after looting all the things to upgrade your attacks. I found some hats (top hat on a goblin?! Yes please!) and changed my chest, but I couldn’t find any pants. This is actually quite critical in this game, since you’re a naked, male goblin and I really don’t need to see goblin dick (apparently steam censors anatomical words, okay) all day long. Is it really practical to be dangling that about with fire and swords and crossbows?
Trolling your “friends”
You collect mushrooms to heal and to throw at the enemies. If you get a bad mushroom, you also suffer the effects of it, so you’ve got to be careful you don’t get poisoned or stunned or set on fire because those things really don’t feel very good. There is an element of PvP in that you can actually stun other players too and then steal their money – quite rude. You can also mount your friends, if that’s your kinda deal, and stacked on top of each other your special ability becomes more powerful. I don’t know what kind of friends you have, but if I was going to knock mine out and then mount them, I’d probably get a few complaints.
The problem is in the playerbase, as is so often the case with any co-op game. I couldn’t find many people to play with – I did host a game and have a couple of people join me, but they ended up snowballing (mushroomballing?) me at annoying times and I can only imagine they were giggling to themselves as I died thanks to my “team mates”. I’m not sure that mechanic is well suited to random groups. I’m sure there are some players out there who aren’t jerks, but the playerbase seems to be absolutely tiny so you’ve not got a lot to work with. You’re also encouraged by the achievements to attack and steal from your fellow players, so I can’t really blame folks for doing it – but when it’s people you don’t know and costs you your life, it can get frustrating.
Bring your own friends
Ultimately, you really need to bring your own friends to the party. You can always play by yourself, but it really feels like the game is designed to be played with a full party as you won’t have any option to be rezzed, to upgrade your special ability or to work as a team when kiting, so loners may need to give this a miss. I did manage to get to the boss on level 2 by myself several times, but alas, he bested me repeatedly. I don’t want to sound like a total pariah, I do actually have a few friends – but not willing to drop £10 on this game right now. Perhaps the playerbase will increase during a sale.
I do want to love this game; but a lack of friends makes it a lot duller than it should be for me. I’d love for this to get a big population so that there were easier ways of finding folks to play with.