Deep Loot is all about treasure collecting. Combining the sort of drilling/mining gameplay of something like Junk Jack X or Mines of Mars, players control a diver who goes into the sea again and again, collecting loot, finding treasure that can be used to upgrade air tanks, attack power, and drill speed. The world is different each time, with special items to discover and special treasure to find and make collections of. Ultimately, new suits can be bought with stat modifiers, and ships with special effects purchased as well.
Deep Loot is controlled by single-tap touches and line-drawing. This is a scheme that is solid, but not without flaws. It’s nice to not have to worry about gestures or anything like that – just tap, and the diver will go to that spot, drill to that block, attack that enemy, or open that chest. This does mean that it’s very easy to start off by attacking an enemy, and then accidentally tapping on something else will interrupt that action. It’s a little chaotic, but mostly an effective control scheme.
Referential humor is all throughout this game – many of the special locations that can be discovered, along with the collectible treasures, are pop culture references. The “discord diamonds” are a clear reference to the Sonic series Chaos Emeralds, for one. But there are also a couple of officially-sanctioned references to other indie games, like Meganoid and Little Acorns. I’m just an absolute sucker for this sort of thing.
The soundtrack is by Gavin Harrison, who’s a regular contributor to Orangepixel’s titles (like the Meganoid games!) and it creates a wonderful atmosphere for each discovered environment.
While perhaps any independent developer going free-to-play is taking a risk, Deep Loot seems to strike a fair balance. There’s a $3.99 coin doubler which I picked up early on, and it wound up being of tremendous value. I also eventually bought a $3.99 coin package to fill out my upgrades. I don’t recommend that, though: the quest for coins and earning upgrades is the game’s ultimate purpose.
The endgame is just discovering more treasure and finding more of the collection items, so while it’s nice to speed up getting the max air tank, for example, the chase is better than the catch. And collecting the items essentially requires just playing over and over until said random items spawn, as duplicates of items will appear.
It’s worth exploring more than just the deepest, darkest depths. The game even makes a sly reference to there not being much beyond the bottom. Or if there is, then it would take a majorly-successful run to get all the way down there in time thanks to the limited air.
That is a bit disappointing: the game feels like it could do a better job for the dedicated player in providing some sort of goal to return to. Searching for treasure is somewhat random, though there’s value in re-exploring earlier areas. But finding those special areas is always random. It’s always rewarding to do so, but eventually, this game just kind of runs out of interesting things to do. The ride up to it is a ton of fun, as I have definitely kept going back in again and again – I was playing this game at a Starbucks and realized at one point it was an hour later than I thought it was – but the value for the maxed-out player is lacking.
So, while I’d love to see some more value added for the player who has maxed out everything, Deep Loot is a really fun dive up until that point. Upgrading items is satisfying, finding special treasures is exciting, and the quest to do both is a great driving factor for a long period of time.