Part visual novel, part RPG, Loop8: Summer of the Gods is an interesting idea which unfortunately ends up stuck in a bit of a rut. It all starts off well enough, with the game’s protagonist Nini moving to a small town and one of the few safe havens left on Earth. Humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction due to creatures from the underworld, known as the Kegai, constantly invading.
Despite imminent destruction looming over everyone, the atmosphere is remarkably relaxed. Nini will spend his days going to class and hanging out with friends rather than fretting about the end of the world. But things don’t stay peaceful for long. Every five days or so a Kegai will manage to slip through the barrier surrounding the town and possess someone. With Nini’s unique Demon Sight ability you’ll have to make your way through the underworld and face off against the demons.
You can take two friends with you to help in the fight, and this is where hanging out will come in handy. Rather than gaining levels by fighting, characters will get stronger as you get to know them. This will increase their stats and unlock new abilities for them to use during the simplistic turn-based combat.
You’ll only be controlling Nini during battle; the other characters will decide their own actions based on their bond with you. This can make combat a bit annoying at times, as your allies won’t always make the most sensible of choices. And if your friends get killed, they won’t return until your next time loop. This makes it really important to try and spend time with more than just a couple of your favourites — chances are some of them aren’t going to survive the summer.
If Nini dies then the Gods will reset the world and you’ll have to start again from the beginning of August. You won’t be starting completely from scratch though, as any blessings you’ve been given by the Gods will still be active. This gives you a bit of a head start on your stats and means that you’ll be stronger every loop.
A good time loop mechanic is supposed to give you enough variety so that repetition doesn’t set in. Unfortunately, this is where Loop8 falls flat. You’ll be going over the same conversations and they’re just not interesting enough to make it worthwhile. It also doesn’t help that there’s only a small variety of enemies, and that the underworld is mostly just the town with a different colour palette. It’s hard not to get annoyed when you realise that you’re still not strong enough to take out the next boss, and have no choice but to repeat the last few weeks.