Loop8: Summer of Gods Review
Loop8: Summer of Gods is a hybrid visual novel and JRPG. It draws gameplay inspirations from Persona, and has a roguelike structure. But it’s best to think of it as a visual novel with mild JRPG elements, because those JRPG elements are slim. Anyone thinking Loop8: Summer of Gods is mainly a JRPG will be very upset. It’s an extremely compelling visual novel, and an incredibly awful JRPG.
The story takes place 8 months after humanity has stopped living in outer space. Destructive god monsters called Kegai threaten the world. Our protagonist, Nini, was one of the people on the failed space station. The game begins with him relocating to Ashihara, a rural town in 1980s Japan. For some unknown reason, Ashihara hasn’t seen the frequent Kegai attacks the rest of the world is used to. By the end of Nini’s first month in Ashihara, the Kegai attack, and destroy everything. The world, as the player knows it, resets, and a new time loop begins.
This extremely compelling narrative sets up the gameplay structure of Loop8: Summer of Gods. Nini walks around Ashihara, befriending his fellow students, and doing activities that increase his bonds with them. Many of the activities lead to stat increases. Time management is an important part of Nini’s day to day. Every action takes up time, and every minute of the day plays out as one second in real time. At the end of the month, Nini is thrown into an underworld version of Ashihara, and forced to fight Kegai. If he fails, another loop begins.
Almost everything resets each time a new loop starts. The only changes are that stat gains called Blessings remain, and it becomes easier for Nini to increase his bonds with his classmates. Every event has to be repeated. Every bit of dialogue has to be reread. And this is the Loop8: Summer of Gods’ biggest flaw: extreme tedium in its repetition. It’s not fun to go back through everything. It becomes a chore way too quickly. Each loop takes 5-10 hours, and every time one restarted, I felt myself letting out a massive groan.
A major reason replaying each loop was so unfun, was that the JRPG mechanics were half baked. Only Nini can be controlled in battle. All healing, buffing, etc. is done at random, by Nini’s chosen party members. Also, after choosing Nini’s actions, the player has to watch all the battle actions play out after choosing their own. There’s no fast forward option, and it becomes tedious very quickly. It’s especially hard to watch party members choose unwanted actions, like an attack buff, when someone is in desperate need of healing. There are no spells, items, or equipment.
In general, Loop8: Summer of Gods just moves too slowly. Nini’s walking speed is too slow. Load screens are very frequent. Every time the player clicks on something, there’s a black flash before they can continue playing. The player can’t speedily click through dialogue. There was an update with a fast forward feature that was added while I was reviewing Loop8: Summer of Gods, but that didn’t change that it took too long to just blast through dialogue. The ability to advance was always a second or two slower than my desired button press timing, All of this slowness would be annoying in a normal game, but it became incredibly aggravating in one with so much repetition.
Visually, Loop8: Summer of Gods is pretty gorgeous. It’s definitely not a triple A game. But all the environments are lovingly created, with highly detailed backgrounds. backgrounds. The cell-shaded anime characters look great. The character animation has an intentionally low framerate, which gives it an effect similar to the animation in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It reminded me of the incredibly beautiful PS3 game Time and Eternity. The cutscenes are gorgeous, and everything has rich colors. The blues and greens are vibrant, and create wonderful Osaka summertime vibes,
The music is pretty whimsical, and fades into the background. The melodies don’t stick out, but they suit Loop8’s mood. Some of the transitions between music tracks are too abrupt though. Though fully voiced, the English voice acting is pretty poor. You can really tell the actors are reading, and overacting into stereotypes. It almost sounds like the voice director just used first takes. I recommend switching to Japanese if you don’t mind reading. Some of the prose is a little stiff and full of exposition.
Loop8: Summer of Gods started so promisingly. It has an extremely compelling narrative, and gorgeous visuals. I loved how the story tied into the gameplay structure. But all of the JRPG elements are way too light. The combat is pure trash, and devoid of almost any strategy. And every loop after the first few became an aggravating chore. By the end of Loop8: Summer of Gods, I was only playing for the story.
***PS4 code provided by the publisher***
- Compelling narrative
- Gorgeous graphics
- Chill vibes
- JRPG elements are way to shallow
- Moves too slowly
- Repetition is cumbersome