A Rogue-like Mixed with Tetris Might Shift Me Back into the Genre

Rogue-like or Rogue-lite games have either been big hits or big misses for me over the last couple years because of my probably unpopular opinion of them all feeling pretty much the same, besides a few stand-outs like Dead Cells and Hades. Now, instead of diving into that opinion of mine, I’d rather talk about a game that I think is putting a brand new and out-of-nowhere spin on the genre, something that, before a few days ago, I would have never thought would ever exist.

This game is called Loot River and is being developed by Straka Studio, an indie studio based in Slovakia that is previously known for creating eye-catching puzzle games. In Loot River, you’re tasked with exploring procedurally generated hand-drawn floating labyrinths as you dungeon crawl your way through intense, real-time combat inspired by the Souls games, in search of sweet loot. Though instead of being able to run around how you would in a standard game, Loot River evolved traditional movement mechanics into something completely new. Armed with something called The Relic, players utilize the tiled floor of each dungeon to slide themselves around the labyrinths similar to that of Tetris or block-shifting puzzles. This not only looks visually phenomenal due to the in-game water simulation that occurs every time you shift a piece of the ground, but it also adds a strategic way to combat enemies as you shift and slide the literal floor of the dungeon. You’re able to move around rooms to flank enemies or position the floor in a way that funnels enemies into one particular location. On top of all this, the floor also acts as a puzzle. You’ll have to shift the floor around in order to explore blocked off areas and find secrets, some of which might be hiding wealth and loot to power up your character.

The loot in Loot River is akin to the loot you’d see in an ARPG, though not endlessly raining down from the sky. You can equip two weapons at once which you can switch between mid-combat and all weapons have unique abilities tied to them as well as stats. You also have a slot for a helmet and a chest piece, so it’s safe to say that you’ll be wandering around (or should I say sliding around) hidden area after hidden area in search of lots of loot. Leveling up grants you points you can put towards attributes as well, broadening the wealth of options you have at your disposal in terms of how you want to build your character. Traversing the perils of these dark fantasy dungeons and surviving not only rewards you in loot but also unholy knowledge that gives you permanent upgrades that you keep even after death. You can encounter huge bosses, lost travelers, and a plethora of beasts as you navigate each perilous dungeon. When you inevitably die, you lose all your acquired loot, and wake up in an alternate reality to start again.

I have no idea how this block-shifting mechanic came to be, although I imagine Straka Studio’s previous work on puzzle games was an inspiration, but I’m very intrigued to learn more about what Loot River has to offer. The super appealing water physics, vibrant but dark pixel art, and the epic heart-pumping music in the game’s only trailer, increases the hype I have for this game tenfold. And it has loot. I can’t pass up a game with loot.

Loot River has no release date yet but will be releasing on Xbox consoles and PC. You can check out the trailer which I’ll have linked below, as well as a more in-depth look at the game via my video, also linked below.

Loot River on Steam:

Loot River Trailer:

In-depth look at Loot River:

Quarter of a century old, spend my days gaming, making game news videos on YouTube, and practicing video game journalism.