Practical jokes can be fun when done correctly, and arguably, that’s exactly what Shadow of Loot Box is. The problem here, however, is that it’s not a very good joke. That, and it’s a joke that costs money. Furthermore, and somewhat ironically, it’s a joke about a controversial matter about being ripped off. Which, when we strip away the novelty within the game, is exactly what it’s doing in itself. The bottom line in all of this? Shadow of Loot Box isn’t worth the space on your hard-drive. Hell, I’ll go one further, it’s not even worth your thoughts.
Now, the developer clearly has a lot to say about the state of the industry and how games will, or may, be presented within a few years. Each level within the game pokes fun at some touchy subjects; loot boxes, microtransactions, withheld content, poor development, and so on. Whilst indeed funny to begin with, that laughter soon turns to rage when you’re met with the realization that this game encompasses pretty much everything that makes a bad game bad. Regardless as to it being totally intentional, there’s no overlooking any of that.
Shadow of Loot Box is made up of a handful of levels, none of which are particularly fun, and as alluded to above, focuses on the current state of controversial games. There’s a level that simply has you playing fetch quests between three copy-and-paste NPCs. There’s a level that sees you being frequently frozen on the spot due to DRM issues. There’s even a level that’s five seconds long; with a sign-post that states that it’s a withheld level for DLC. If that’s truly what you want from a game, joke or not, then be my guest and fill your boots.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. On top of the few examples above, Shadow of Loot Box only gets worse elsewhere. The core loop sees you collecting loot boxes in order to gain extra health, additional ammo, and EXP. Each level-up will reward you with a skill point that can then be spent on something as basic as the ability to jump, or open a door. Do you enjoy simply being able to interact with items in your games? Well, you’ll need to unlock that ability too. No, I’m not taking the piss here, and no, it’s not a nice concept to be subject to.
I want to make it absolutely clear that I fully understand that that’s how the game is intended to function, but that means very little in the face of all of its issues. Like I said, a bad joke is exactly that, a bad joke. Nevertheless, you’ll move through the game’s uninspired and uninteresting levels achieving a range of bland goals in order to obtain a key. Once you’ve nabbed that, you can either stick around or make your way to the exit door to move onto the next level. Occasionally, you’ll be pit against one of the game’s few generic bosses.
Shadow of Loot Box is a first-person shooter. Before too long at all, you’ll have access to a small pool of weapons; a pistol, a shotgun, a rifle, and so on. These boss battles tend to consist of little more than shooting some plates and unloading your bullets into your opposition. There’s some attempts at humor here too, such as bosses having a hit-box that’s out of sync with their body, meaning that you need to shoot above their head to register any damage. Much like all of the above, this only comes off as irritating, rather than funny.
When you’re not fighting the game’s bosses, you’ll be blasting away at the game’s very few generic enemies; angry loot boxes, bigger angry loot boxes, alternately colored angry loot boxes, and, well, you get where I’m going here. Originality isn’t the game’s strong-suit. There’s little more outside of that that the game has going for it. You can make things a bit easier for yourself by buying loot boxes to bolster your ammo pool and to get EXP for swifter leveling, but to do this, you’ll have to find money, which is hardly handed out often.
The game has a few dollar signs on select levels, and the only way to pull money from these is to watch an advert. You don’t actually see an advert though, instead, you just watch a loading bar slowly rise. Exciting, right? Whatever the case, Shadow of Loot Box is a bad game. I’ll reiterate, charging money for poorly poking fun at controversial subjects is a blatant cash-grab that only feeds into the subject matter at hand. I cant even stretch myself to commend the game’s audio and visual design, because in truth, it’s sloppy and unrefined.
There’s a boat-load of polish needed for this game to even be considered worthy of any standard. Most of the game’s levels simply reuse the former level’s assets, and for the few exceptions included, levels that do attempt to stand out only come across equally as boring and devoid of activity. The same can be said about the game’s audio, which had me reaching for the mute button faster than it takes for the game’s repetition to sink in; which is pretty damn fast I might add. Do yourselves a favor and spare yourselves of being robbed here.
Shadow of Loot Box is a poor joke. Furthermore, it’s a poor joke that costs money. I see nothing funny about a game that’s poking fun at controversial subjects, when in itself, it encompasses everything that makes a bad game, bad. On top of that and with its subject matter to the side, the game is extremely basic, lacks polish, and becomes overly repetitive far too quickly.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.