Loot River review – the dungeon crawl reconfigured

Gary Chang lives in a tiny apartment – 344 square feet – in Hong Kong. And Gary Chang is an architectural designer, so he’s taken a space that’s just about suited to a single room and allowed it to become every room in the house as needed. Bedroom? Pull down the bed. Kitchen? Pull back a wall to reveal a range and a sink. Bath? Pull aside a different wall. Laundry and utilities? Pull – you get me.

I watched a brilliant documentary on Chang’s apartment last night. And by the end of it I thought: cor, maybe we’re all thinking about this home stuff wrong? Maybe Chang’s etch-a-sketch lifestyle is the way to do it. Focus on what you love and conjure the idea of rooms around that and that alone. Opt for a house that slides into place only when you want it to be there.

Harmoniously – a suspicious kind of harmony really – I then spent today playing Loot River. Loot River is an inventive and deeply satisfying roguelite, a top-down affair with a touch of Souls to it. There are a lot of these. But Loot River has a big idea, and it’s an idea Chang might approve of. The game plays out on dungeons made of floating tiles – tetrominos put you in the right headspace, but there are lots more shapes – and as you move around with the left stick, you can move the tile you’re on with the right, sliding it through the water from one spot to another.

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