Loop Hero Shines a Spotlight on Empathy

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By Juno Stump on January 21st, 2022


I missed Loop Hero when it was first released. I thought it looked fun but was worried it would be another game that just feels like metrics and rewards. Reducing life down to numbers is a bit of a touchy subject for me right now. And honestly, it always has been. I have a deep love for the lives of others. Throwing life at death for better numbers is horrific but Loop Hero doesn’t ask you to do that. Instead, the game’s structure and mechanics all remind me of how much it costs to live another day.

Optimizing for stats is a big part of games. But there’s just something so beautiful about a game that wields empathy so openly. Loop Hero puts players in an endless loop that only really stops for settlement upgrades and death. This cruel circuit is controlled by players like a puppet master from above, tugging at strings to influence the loop below. The loop hero automatically moves through the endless gauntlet, acquiring upgrades and items while battling monsters, only stopping when it’s time. And it’s never really time to stop.

just a little further

The trolley going around the track is the only way to bring supplies back. An unstoppable machine of this nature would feel a little hopeless, or at least desperate if it were you down in that loop. Instead, Loop Hero places you at the top, entrusted with the tempo and rhythm of the symphony below.

And this is where we might play differently. I like to keep my hero safe. I like to make her journey easier. We both know she’s going to kill skeletons, slimes, and vampires while battling a brain fog but wouldn’t it be nice if it were all a little easier?

Loop Hero doesn’t force you to make costly decisions that result in repeated deaths. No game really does this completely but Loop Hero is so consistent in how it frames everything. It never feels like you need to rush. It always feels like you have time. You can increase the speed and walk away from the simulation if you’d like. Go wash the dishes. Walk the dog. Take a nap. Your hero will die while you’re away but it’s no matter. They can be revived and you still keep some of the gains.

Be a hero, instead of just as god

And this is where we might play differently. I like keeping things moving slowly for my hero. She’s tired and who knows when it’ll all finally stop? I don’t multitask to grind on other tasks while helping my hero. I stay focused and alert. I pause often and make careful considerations with equipment. Sure, she’s got enough health to stay alive but haven’t we all suffered enough?

Loop Hero has metrics just like any group of people looking for answers and another day of life. Measuring out what we need to live and breathe is normal but it doesn’t have to be like this. The gods of this loop have made the decisions that brought us here. But you’re the god of this loop. There’s no reason things can’t be different. You can be a hero too, instead of just a god.

Play Loop Hero on PC or Nintendo Switch. Be kind and try to make the loop better for those that need it <3

Juno really likes video games. Horror is their favorite but she also likes other stuff.


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