Loot River

Loot River mixes the brutality of combat with Tetris

How can the block-shifting puzzles of Tetris be melded into a tightly wound, combat-focused game where you’ll inevitably end up in the purgatory of unlife—after bleeding out from too many injuries? These two genres seem incompatible, but Loot River wants to accomplish this as a “dungeon-crawling action-roguelike”. It describes itself as an experience that ties together the punishing real-life combat of Dark Souls (again) with the tile-matching joys of Tetris.

In this roguelike, players have the ability to shift the ground beneath them, which will not only allow them access to various arenas—perhaps even hidden caches of new weapons and gear—but also lets them avoid foes in a pinch. In the developer’s walkthrough of Loot River, players can swiftly dodge an intense rain of ranged attacks by steering a wooden platform they’re stepping on through them. 

On the other hand, avoiding swamps of ghouls—while making sure you aren’t jamming these same blocks into spaces that can’t accommodate them—will require you to make much more instinctive, split-second decisions. Tetris at its peak is probably performed through sheer muscle memory after all, especially in those panicked moments where you have to maniacally flip your blocks as they are cascading rapidly towards the pit. This feature also lets you approach challenges in different ways outside of direct combat, so you can circumvent your enemies to proceed to the next location. 

Featuring a dexterous plague doctor protagonist, Loot River also looks like the top-down, pixelated sibling of the Taiwanese soulslike game, Thymesia, which we covered just a few months ago. Find out more about Loot River on Steam, which has no launch date yet.