Aficionados of old school dungeon crawlers will instantly appreciate the merits of a game like Lootbox RPG. It doesn’t require overly flashy visuals nor does it rely on an overblown story to keep players entertained - instead it relies purely on well-honed and time-honoured RPG mechanics, similar in mold to classic titles like Angband and Gauntlet.
Lootbox’s story is suitably simplistic, in which you assume the role of an in-experienced demon child set the task of protecting the realm of his father - who also just happens to be the ‘Great Unholiness’, so it’s safe to assume that you have some pretty big shoes to fill.
Guiding your character through the top-down blocky 2D environments that is your father’s kingdom, you’ll experience all of the classic RPG tropes that you’ve come to expect, with turn based mechanics, an in-depth progression system, and a host of equipment and potions to equip along the way.
It’s seldom that we see a solo-developer pull off a game as accomplished as Lootbox, but having already found acclaim with another previous RPG title, Silversword, developer Mario J. Gaida is proving that it doesn’t always take a big budget to put together a great game.
We recently spoke with Mario to learn more about Lootbox RPG and exactly what makes it so distinguished.
What do you think Lootbox offers that you can’t get from any other title on the app stores?
Two things come to mind when trying to describe the somewhat unique approach: first, the game is 100% offline and there are no In-App-Purchases. This gives the player a sense of "it's mine, and it's not rented". Second, the game is turn-based and not real-time driven. This is needed to make it a game for casual players who just want to bridge the time until the bus comes or the doctor calls you in. Of course, this doesn't make the game unique as there are just too many dungeon crawlers on the store. But it feels like the majority of games lack the offline policy and casuality principle nowadays.
What were your inspirations for making the game?
I like building up something and make it last. Be it a civilisation, a city or a character. And I like grinding (this is the moment where I have to mention that I love the Bard's Tale games and spent weeks (!) in EverQuest just waiting for a single item to drop). The games that I've found on the App Store(s) didn't met my taste so I simply had to write my own. It's the same as with Silversword back in 2012 - if I want to play a game that doesn't exist, well... I create it.
What challenges did you face during development, and how did you overcome them?
Laziness? lol. There were (and still are) some technical challenges (pathfinding, pet behaviour, aggro/hate list management) but due to my many years of roleplaying experience I always knew which direction I had to look in for a solution.
Can you share what is your favourite part of the game and why?
When I finally have the means to kill the first boss mob and get his damn magic sword. Because it means that I can begin to pay those endless PITA-mobs back on the long way down when continuing to build up my character.
Another cool part is the "tier"-approach, meaning that at some stage your character limits are raised and let you evolve into a more powerful hero.
What tips or advice would you give to new players trying Lootbox for the first time?
This game isn't on rails. You won't meet encounters that are totally balanced to your gear or your strategy. You have to realise that you will meet much stronger creatures than you can handle. Avoid them, gear up, come back, try again. And the most important thing: light a torch when it's dark.
How is Lootbox performing so far and has it been meeting expectations?Lootbox RPG doesn't have much commercial success, I'm honest with that. Perhaps it's not that appealing to young and modern players who are attracted by AAA graphics and sounds. Anyway, it has a good reputation and the rating on the stores is around 4.5 / 5.0 stars, which makes me really happy! Mainly it's a game that I like to play myself and this drives me to polish it and enhance it further. Hopefully, more players will discover this little gem over time and honour my work. But this is the good thing to be an indie developer: I do it out of love for coding and gaming, not for the cash. Otherwise I would have starved to death long ago.
If you’re looking for an extensive, old-school dungeon crawler to lose yourself in then Lootbox RPG is definitely the right choice. You can find it available for download over on the App Store and Google Play.