Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

[Review] Backpack Hero – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Jaspel
Published By: Different Tales
Category: Role-Playing, Simulation 
Release Date: 11.14.23
Price: $19.99

Backpack Hero is a surprising game. Before the game was released, I heard about the game but I didn’t know anything about it. Then when I saw the trailer during the Indie Direct earlier this month, I liked the gameplay mechanics that were being shown off. It looked like something that I would enjoy so I picked it up immediately.

One of the reasons that it piqued my interest was because it reminded me of a game that I used to play a lot near the start of the Switch’s life. That game is called Moonlighter. In that game, you would manage a store during the day and then go exploring dungeons at night. The following day, items that you collect from the dungeons would be what you sell in the shop. I really liked that mechanic and a similar one can be found in Backpack Hero.

The core gameplay loop is simple but requires a lot of strategy and sometimes quick thinking. Each time you enter the dungeon you’re given a limited amount of backpack space and a few starting items. When you level up, you’re able to add more space to your backpack but that resets each time. As you fight enemies, open chests, or do other tasks, you find all sorts of items that you can use in the dungeon or save for later. For example, you can find better weapons to make fights easier, food to gain extra energy, or a variety of consumables.

Depending on the size and shape of each item, you’ll have to rotate the item or shift things around so that it will fit in your backpack. You’ll also have to pick and choose what you really want to keep because once you get rid of an item for space, it’s gone forever. In each battle, you get a certain amount of energy and HP so you have to pick your actions carefully each turn. Fortunately you will be able to see what each enemy is going to do next turn, so that will help with your planning. Once you complete the dungeon, you return to Haversack Hill which serves as your base of operation but is basically a barren wasteland when you first start.

It’s your job to rebuild the town. Unlike Moonlighter where you sell all the items for cash, you can sell the objects you find have them converted into directed resources. Once you have enough of each type of resource, you can begin to build buildings and bring in townsfolk. I really enjoyed the dungeon crawling aspect of the game because it can be a challenge if you’re not paying attention to your inventory or health and it can be a lot of fun to hunt for the best possible items. As for the town management side of the game, I wasn’t too stoked about it. Near the start of the game I just felt overwhelmed with the number of citizens that stopped by all at once and there was a lot to focus on. Sometimes I would do five or sixe dungeon runs in a row before I even did anything in the town.

Beyond the gameplay mechanics, Backpack Hero has a ton of depth, and that’s one aspect that I really love about any game. Throughout your playthrough you’ll encounter more than 800 different items and 100 enemies. There’s also a decent story mode and the ability to unlock additional playable characters. It’s a short game because of the many different ways that you can play, there are endless options when it comes to replayability.

However, not everyone will get the same value. There will be some who lose interest quickly and don’t find any replayability. Those gamers might only play for 4-8 hours and end up feeling as if the $20 price tag was too much. Most gamers who pick up Backpack Hero because it’s genuinely something they think is interesting can probably get 30-40 hours out of it and get their money’s worth.


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