I was sent Backpack Hero as a review code, and while I am grateful for the opportunity, I will not let it sway my opinions. This will be my honest review of the game.
Backpack Hero is a charming little inventory roguelike that deserves a lot more attention. It has a cute art style, a nice soundtrack, and fun gameplay. This game is a lot more fun than an early-access game has the right to be. If you are looking for a chill game that will challenge you, get Backpack Hero.
Dive through procedurally generated dungeons as you fight enemies, find treasure, and manage your inventory. Space in your bag is limited, so choose carefully. How will you brave the unknown? Will you use magic? Poison? Swords? Ninja stars? The choice is yours! (and RNGesus’)
Players start with limited inventory space and gain more as their character levels. Dungeons are full of monsters, treasure, and random events that award players loot to shuffle around. Weapons, items, armor, and potions have unique skills that can interact with each other based on their placement in the backpack. Inventory management is almost like a deck builder as you work towards specific builds by collecting certain items.
As deceptively simple as this game appears, I spent a lot of time theory crafting and optimizing my build only to have my run ended by an enemy or ability I didn’t plan for. Losing was never a frustrating experience in Backpack Hero. I understood my shortcomings and planned for a better run. There are special challenges you can run if the normal game because too easy, but I mostly played in normal because I enjoyed the chill yet challenging vibe that came with it.
What I liked most about this game is how different every run felt. I never had the same build, even when I started building toward a familiar one. There was always something dumb and alluring I wanted to try. It didn’t always work out, but I had a lot of fun exploring and testing my options. The combat is a little simple. It is turn-based, and what you can do is limited by action points. You spend your action points by casting spells, attacking with weapons, or blocking with shields. I never felt like combat got stale because my strategy was constantly changing. Some runs were more fun than others, but such is life with RNGesus.
Inventory management is the most important mechanic in Backpack Hero. If you’ve played any MMO or RPG, you’ve become too familiar with the concept. I used to joke that most of my playtime on Guild Wars 2 was spent in my inventory. In Backpack Hero, you will consistently make difficult choices as you arrange and rearrange your bag. What you choose to keep in your bag affects how you play each round, so make sure you choose carefully. There are vendors and special events that will give you access to random and sometimes cool items, a smith that will upgrade your gear, and cursed items that will mess up your whole strategy. I spent a lot of time theory-crafting the perfect build and had a blast doing it, even if I never got impressively far. There are probably guides out there for the most optimal run, but I recommend you fail a couple of times on your own first.
If you have been considering getting this game or looking for a new game to get into, Backpack Hero is worth every penny. It is a cute casual game with enough kick to it to keep you entertained for hours. You can buy Backpack Hero on Steam for $16.99. Now would be a great time to pick it up because it is 20% off ($13.59) until the 13th.