Backpack Hero (Switch) Review
When a dungeon-crawling mouse stumbles upon a magical backpack, it’s about to get roguelike! Explore the depths below Orderia, fight fierce funny animals, shuffle around goodies in your pack, and rebuild the town of Haversack Hill. No two runs are alike so grab your pack and let’s roll.
Backpack Hero started off as a Kickstarter last year and was funded real quick when the public caught wind of the unique premise.
The game’s a turn-based roguelike, combining the familiar procedurally-generated RPG formula with an intricate inventory management system. The inventory is most comparable to the one made famous by the Resident Evil franchise, but with some fun twists.
On any given dungeon crawl, you’ll receive new items from chests and enemies. You’ll rotate and stuff these into your backpack, which will expand when you level up that run. As your pack gets bigger you’ll have to strategise and prioritise items, perfecting your build for what might lie ahead. There are buffs, perks, and complementary items and bag placements With the right know-how, along with a little prayer to the RNG gods you might just make it through.
Each of the five characters play completely different from one another. Our protagonist Purse is the all-rounder, and has your standard issue expanding magical backpack and access to a smorgasbord of items. Then there’s the musician Satchel who can charm enemies with his instrument-leaning loadout, and has a ripped backpack which leads to a Tetris-esque backpack expansion minigame. There are three other unlockable characters to find on your adventure if you’re lucky (along with Satchel) but I’ll save the spoilers.
There are a bunch of quests too, which encourage you to try out different playstyles. One had me on an all-fish run, where I was given a Fish Sword that was buffed by any surrounding fish in my backpack, and you better believe my backpack became a huge aquarium. Another gave me a Keg and a Piggybank which let me buy drinks to replenish my energy, meaning if I had enough dosh I could have dozens of turns back to back, which was pretty darn OP at times.
When you’re not tackling the dungeons below Orderia, you’ll be in Purse’s hometown of Haversack Hill. After being destroyed by the bad guys, it’s up to you and your new bag powers to rebuild and bring back the friendly townsfolk. Here you’ll build new structures which’ll net you more resources, and unlock items for the RNG item pool, character-specific quests and new areas within the dungeon. It’s also unfortunately where the game got most buggy for me. The more I progressed, the longer the menus seemed to freeze up on me, leaving me less bothered to unlock things at times. I’m not sure if this is a Switch port issue, but hopefully this will be patched out real soon. And I’m just thankful that the dungeons don’t seem to be affected!
Backpack Hero is an excellent roguelike. With its unique inventory mechanics, cute cast of characters and seemingly endless gameplay possibilities, this is one game you oughta stuff into your backpack!
+ Backpack inventory management is wildly inventive
+ A tonne of items to discover with great interconnected abilities
+ Kept me saying "just one more run!"
- Menu freeze gets worse the more you play
- Kept making me lose track of time and stay up til 5am