Deep Loot – Review

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Platform: iOS

Developer: Monster and Monster
Genre: Strategy/Casual
Price: Free
Release Date: 31st July 2014

Monster and Monster’s previous releases have mostly involved calm seasonal walks, so a sudden shift towards turn-based roguelike treasure hunting was a surprise departure. Besides the trademark colourful pixel visuals, the main clue that the two-man team are behind this is the wonderfully British sense of humour. You just have to let the credits roll to realise that.

The cutesy visuals disguise a traditional dungeon crawler in the vein of Sword of Fargoal and Cardinal Quest. Each movement consumes a turn in which enemies act in concert; attacking, fleeing, collecting and advancing. Roguelikes tend to be the territory of the RPG-diehard, an impenetrable bastion of permadeath, walls of stats and endless re-rolling of dice to get the perfect hero. Monster and Monster have seemlessly woven a hardcore genre with that of the endless runner, possibly the most casual of experiences and made something as intricate as you wish it to be.

Being an amalgamation of several distinct genres, it’s hard to summarise the gameplay. From tense yet slow-paced back and forths between your diver and the denizens of the deep to frantic tapping to catch fallen bounties, Deep Loot feels nothing if not unique. Digging through the blocky terrain may make Minecraft comparisons an easy choice but there’s no crafting or persistance in the world you inhabit; the next dive session replaces the layout with a literally endless procedurally generated labyrinth. The RPG features are hard to deny but you won’t be finding a new weapon on your travels, that’s left up to the funds earned from recovering treasures that are added to your museum.

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With game sessions lasting roughly two minutes, it’s perfect for the snatched spare moments yet you can easily sink a few hours into completing a relic set. They’ve perfectly encapsulated the “need, want” addiction of sticker albums where the next full page could be just one dive away.  Much like Animal Crossing’s collection donating, it’s incredibly satisfying to find the last piece and have a complete dinosaur skeleton taking pride of place for all to see.

Deep Loot is an entirely free experience, but unlike most freemium casual games, you won’t feel the not-so-subtle tugging on your wallet to give you an edge on the competition. In-App Purchases are tucked away into a tab you’ll rarely see and social media features are never pushed to the forefront. Whilst you could very easily unlock everything the game has to see without spending a penny, there is a reasonably priced coin doubler that goes a long way to reducing the minimal grind or could be viewed as a premium unlock to thank the developers for their hard work.

Deep Loot can be purchased exclusively for iOS from here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/deep-loot/id563264994?mt=8

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