HomeReviews3/5 ReviewLoop8: Summer of Gods Review 

Loop8: Summer of Gods Review 

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Prior to its release, Loop8: Summer of Gods initially caught my eye with its watercolour style Japanese environments. Upon further inspection, I noticed it’s a choice-driven coming-of-age RPG with turn-based battles and a mysterious time loop, which piqued my interest further.

Now that Loop8: Summer of Gods is actually here, will it be an experience worth reliving over and over again, or could the repetitive nature leave you wishing the summer would end already?

Well, don’t get too excited just yet, for Loop8: Summer of Gods is flawed as an overall package. There are certain aspects that developers Sieg Games and Marvelous Inc. have pulled off though, so don’t be too disheartened.

Loop8: Summer of Gods review pic 2
Loop8: Summer of Gods Konoha

Set in the August of 1983, Loop8: Summer of Gods follows the life of Nini for what could be the weirdest month ever. Due to the world being regularly ravaged by entities known as the Kegai, Nini grew up in space. Returning to Earth after the Kegai managed to destroy the space station, the young man arrives in the only town seemingly safe from such a threat – Ashihara Nakatsu, Japan. Unfortunately, that comforting notion doesn’t last long and the Kegai are secretly infiltrating the rural town. Even more bizarrely, Nini is now stuck in a time loop, destined to either destroy the invaders or relive the end of days forevermore.

The premise is fascinating and it instantly puts a hefty weight on Nini’s – and your – shoulders. It throws up all sorts of questions, such as why this fate is bestowed upon Nini, how on earth you’re going to stop the Kegai, and whether anyone can aid in this quest. Fortunately, mere moments after stepping foot in Ashihara you’ll begin to meet potential allies in the form of the locals. Chatting to people is one of the main ways to learn more about what’s going on in Loop8: Summer of Gods, because the major storytelling cutscenes are few and far between.

The residents are a bit of an odd bunch, which is great because it makes you want to get to know them better. There are fellow students like anime and manga fanatic Nanachi, the shy Micchi, the prim and proper Ichika, and the happy-go-lucky sportsman Saru. On top of that there’s the stern teacher Ms Kuni, the charming cousin Konoha, a quirky divine messenger known as Beni, and a handful more. While not every piece of dialogue with these characters is fully voiced, the voice acting present really seems to suit each personality well. Especially Beni, who is exceptionally bonkers at times.

Loop8: Summer of Gods review pic
Loop8: Summer of Gods Beni dialogue

Wandering around town and instigating conversations is a huge part of the gameplay. You see, succeeding in Loop8: Summer of Gods relies heavily on making friends and building strong relationships. Every so often during an interaction, various options are presented as suggestions to get closer to whomever it is. Early on these include the chance to flatter folks, get to know them more, and go for a walk, but increasing the bond eventually allows you to show off, work out together, and go on a date. 

You’ll need to choose carefully though, for not every suggested event will go smoothly and instead of bolstering the relationship, it may cause a negative reaction. Ultimately, each decision can raise or lower the levels of Friendship, Affection, and Hate between Nini and the rest of the cast. It’s as clever as it is baffling, mainly because a seemingly harmless option is occasionally a failure and it can happen with your closest pals unexpectedly. Such interactions are disappointing given the time constraints in place.

Time is of the essence as you try to cram in conversations, stat-boosting training activities like working out and cleaning, and garner blessings from shrines before the end of the world happens. The blessings also come about through advancing relationships and can really improve the attributes of Nini as well as his allies. As the clock ticks along pretty swiftly, managing the day is crucial to ensure your time is well spent. 

Loop8: Summer of Gods review pic 5
Loop8: Summer of Gods suggestions

Not only do you need to be strong enough to face the most powerful of creatures mustered up by the Kegai, but you’ll also need to figure out which of the residents have been possessed.

Within a few days of settling in, Ashihara will be decimated, unless you find and conquer the godly beasts. When you’re ready to battle, it’s time to venture into a mirrored underworld either alone or alongside two other characters. Convincing people to join the fight is too tough for my liking and this often saw me going solo. Nevertheless, the idea is to drain the enemy’s health before it depletes your stamina to zero. 

All that training and relationship building comes to the forefront, enhancing the amounts of energy and stamina your party members have. This is especially true considering every attack is powered by the Friendship, Affection, and Hate emotions, which is a cool mechanic – if a little badly explained. Rather disappointingly though, the other characters are AI controlled, hence there’s no way of dictating their actions. In mere minutes, the big build up to a boss is over and, although the creatures are brilliantly designed, it’s such an anti-climax on the whole.

Sure, you can optionally take on much lesser opposition in the underworld, but it’s just too bland of an activity with very little reward. The move variety is fairly limited too, meaning the excitement of a confrontation is short-lived. There’s also quite a bit of stuttering during the attacking animations, which isn’t ideal. On the upside, I like the risk of permadeath for your compatriots as it adds an edge to proceedings.

Loop8: Summer of Gods review pic 3
Loop8: Summer of Gods battle

Defeating a boss will extend the amount of days until destruction, with the ultimate goal being to topple the lot and last an entire month. Should the unthinkable happen where you fail to claim victory – and I guarantee it will – then the world resets. At first, it seems great to get chance after chance, but the cost is too much to bear. 

Each reset is known as a loop and almost everything you did before is forgotten, including relationships and training. On the plus side, blessings are retained and every action improves your stats faster than before. Well, until the stats are back to what they once were and then it returns to the regular increase rate. I don’t particularly have a problem with that, but the amount of conversations you must repeat grows with every loop and even on fast-forward it’s incredibly monotonous. 

Visually, Loop8: Summer of Gods captures the beauty of rural Japan brilliantly using water-colour back-drops. The inside of Nini’s house is particularly on-point with its design and it’s one of the highlights for sure. It does look odd though, because the character models are 3D when moving around the town and stick out with rather rough edging. And while I’m on the subject, the AI movement is unpredictable and idiotic. In the tight areas of the school, the AI congregates together at times and can actually block you from moving. If it weren’t for fast travel, I’d still be stuck in a classroom now!

Loop8: Summer of Gods review pic 4
Loop8: Summer of Gods train

Loop8: Summer of Gods is a delightful visual novel with decent RPG mechanics that’s let down greatly by repetition and below-par battling. Training, having fun chats with the intriguing characters, and doing a spot of detective work is fairly enjoyable while traversing the lovely town, however it generally goes downhill in regards to the other features. The looping idea ends up draining the enjoyment out of conversations and the battling is incredibly lacklustre after all the time spent building up to every encounter.

As a visual novel, Loop8: Summer of Gods is worth considering if it’s on sale, but don’t expect much from the other aspects.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Well-voiced and intriguing characters
  • Building relationships
  • Lovely art style
Cons:
  • Battling
  • Repetitive loop
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Marvelous Inc.
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 6 June 2023 | £44.99
James Birks
James Birks
Been gaming casually since the SNES as a youngster but found my true passion for games on the Playstation 1 (the forbidden word ooo). My addiction grew to its pinnacle with the purchase of an Xbox 360 & Xbox Live Service. A recovering GS hunter that will still play literally any game.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Well-voiced and intriguing characters</li> <li>Building relationships</li> <li>Lovely art style</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Battling</li> <li>Repetitive loop</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Marvelous Inc.</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 6 June 2023 | £44.99</li> Loop8: Summer of Gods Review 
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