There's a persuasive argument that role-playing games – offline and online – aren't really about killing monsters or completing quests. They're all about the loot.
In other words, people play these games obsessively to accumulate cool stuff, whether it be magic swords, powerful armour, or some other manner of rare item. Before flogging them on eBay if it's an online game, of course.
Loot Master takes this argument as the core of its gameplay. It's like a super-basic RPG crossed with a Tower Defense game (such as Fieldrunners, for instance), where monsters run across the screen and you tap on them to attack them. When killed, they usually drop items, including weapons, armour, spells, skill boosts and so on. There are thousands of different items, which you can drag onto your character profile, which takes up most of the screen.
And that's the game. It's entirely focused on how much loot you can pick up to make your character strong enough to kill increasingly tough waves of enemies. At the end of each wave, there's a pause for you to take stock, check what items have been dropped, and decide whether to equip them, store them in your bag, or chuck them away (neatly, you do this by shaking the device).
It would be easy to hate Loot Master. The sound is non-existent, the gameplay is mindlessly repetitive, and – most cripplingly – there's no option to save your progress. Each time you fire up the game, you start from wave 1. And yet there's a certain charm. Maybe it's just the power of our inner collector, but the more it's played, the more its mindless monotony turned into something hypnotic.
There's the core of a decent idea here. Making the playing field full-screen with a tab to pull up your inventory would be one small change that could have enormous impact. There's no real need for your whole inventory to be onscreen during the levels, as long as you can get to it quickly.
Introducing a few more elements of strategy would be nice, too. You can imagine Loot Master evolving into a really fun take on the Tower Defense genre, perhaps letting you control four characters who can be placed anywhere on-screen, with their own skills and attacks, and you'd divide the loot up between them in between levels.
This blend of RPG-collecting and Tower Defense mechanics could be big. But we're not reviewing the game in our heads, we're reviewing Loot Master. As things stand, it's overpriced for what you get, the gameplay is too basic, and the lack of a save option is a huge omission. The developer deserves credit for coming up with an original idea, though. Hopefully it'll run with it in any future sequel or spin-off.