Loot Box Achievement Simulator caught my eye with its title. I wasn’t sure if this was truly an overtly obvious clickbait name to make a quick buck, a satirical look at practices of the gaming industry, or something in between. Plus it was on sale. So after browsing the store page I decided to impulse buy it and see how far their comedic exterior went on this one.
The plot, more or less, is just that you want to buy loot boxes so you are forced to do a number of random things in order to make money that you can spend on the loot boxes and obtain all of the unique loot there is. You simply click on whatever task is presented and presumably do it, though there is no indication other than your money count increasing. Some of the tasks will net you nothing and a few even subtract from your total, but you can continue endlessly without penalty even if you go into negative numbers. You also will have to wait a few seconds between each task before you can click the next one. Each loot box costs 300 coins and consists of four random cards. Each card has a corresponding achievement, making for a total of 233. There are essentially five types of cards you can find. The most common and basic of the cards are called Crap and are followed by their respective number. They all show the same picture of a cartoon turd mound. Good Crap cards are slightly more rare, including the word good before the word crap and respective numbering. These cards show the same picture but with a sword imposed on top of the turn mound. There are Rare cards which say rare and are followed by their respective number. These are rarer yer and depict a golden cartoon turd mound. Epic cards have a “super rare” something on them as is indicated by their subtitle and picture. As the subtitle suggests, these are rarer yet. The rarest of the cards are Legendary cards, which follow a similar naming and representation scheme as Epic cards but, of course, just so happen to be rarer. There is no definite ending to the game. When you are done, you may hit the quit button and upon restarting you’ll be back at zero coins.
Loot Box Achievement Simulator has an appealing-enough art style and soundtrack. Some of the tasks brought up here are funny and sometimes the random nature of certain ones following others can create a humorous mini narrative. I think it does a good job pointing out how soulless and empty getting loot boxes for money feels. You really just keep waiting to have the money to buy your next loot box so you can a chance at getting what you need, but since most loot boxes are simply cosmetics in games it ends up feeling like you’re not really getting anything for your money anyway. Once you get down to the last few items you need… it really shows how frustrating paying for something can be when you have no guarantee it’ll be what you want. Not to mention literally calling most of these crap and depicting them as blobs of shit leaves no ambiguity on the stance these guys are taking. I think it also feeds into the exploitative nature of achievement hunter games that try to sell you on a cash grab piece of crap gaming that is loaded with tons of achievements you’ll just get for having the thing on. It doesn’t do as much to satirize those, and flirts with being one of those at times, but strikes a careful balance by using those as a tracking system of your progress yet still ultimately being easily achievable if you simple keep playing. Ya know… which doesn’t feel like you achieved much, and that’s the point. Using the world simulator in the title is another aspect that rides the line. It seems like bait for clicks as it’s not really a simulation game, BUT it does parody a lot of other games that use it in their titles without any real simulation in them, AND this game DOES try to simulate the experience of mindlessly grinding for loot boxes and achievements. It’s an interesting experience to think about.
However, this is definitely more of a statement than a game. That’s fine and all, but I like games. The gameplay is almost non-existent. There are no choices. There’s no story. There’s not even a win state or fail state. It’s just mindless grinding for achievements and pondering the lengths of the satire while also trying to read all of the different messages that pop up. Those messages often repeat if you go for full completion and this will make you go a little crazy by the end. It’s not new and fresh anymore… it’s just a grind. A lot of them have strange grammar and there are many spelling errors. Maybe that’s a localization/translation thing. Maybe it’s intentional so you have the task of looking for errors while you mindlessly click away, but I doubt it and wish they would get someone in there to help them clean those up more. There are also some glitches I found. Apparently if you make the screen too small, despite having the display options when opening the game, you can’t see some of the text on the sides. If you click on a card that is already flipped over, it can mess up the cards for a bit. I did this when I was playing, then clicked some more times to get it to flip over which somehow advanced the screen even though the other three were not yet flipped over. Then the next time it flipped over but in a mirrored image. After that the game seemed to work, but the achievements I was getting were a full cycle ahead. as though the next box was already decided before I even opened it. I would open the next one and see cards I got achievements for in the previous box. Also if you accidentally buy a second box on top of the first then it’ll still work but you just won’t see the box underneath it so… you just have to click on the nothing. I know some of this is minor and doesn’t greatly impact the experience, but for a game without much else going on, I feel like the things that ARE going on should be more polished than this.
I hope that if the developers are reading this they’ll understand when I say Loot Box Achievement Simulator is a hard one to recommend. If you like the concept of poking fun at loot boxes, achievement hunter games, and cynically tagged simulator games… then you might like this. Get it on sale for half a buck or so. It’s a worthy vehicle for the discussion and can decent for background footage while talking about these things or simply to stream for a laugh. The problem is, if we’re going by Steam user review standards, then generally I’d have to give it a not recommended status because the gameplay is too shallow and you have plenty of other options, options of games where gameplay is the focus, for the same price. It’s a victim of its marketplace almost as much as its core design. I guess what I’m saying is, Loot Box Achievement Hunter was worth MY 58 cents, but is probably won’t be worth yours.