FeaturedNintendo SwitchPCPlayStation 4

Review: Survive a Cruel Summer in Loop8

Review: Survive One Cruel Summer in Loop8
Image via XSEED Games

It’s a shame how many good ideas end up disappointing when put into action. The success of visual novels means we’re getting memorable or enjoyable hybrids like Digimon Survive or Devil Survivor! The Persona series’ relationship and daily life systems mean developers try implementing similar mechanics into their own games! I hoped Loop8: Summer of Gods would be good, because it had these elements that called Gnosia and Persona to mind. Unfortunately, it feels both obtuse and pretentious, caught up in how clever it wants to be.

Novus “Nini” Nemo was raised in outer space on a space station. Beings known as Kegai assault the earth below, and people took to the skies in the hopes of escaping it. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out too well, and now he’s in the small, rural village of Ashihara. Its apparently known for being oddly safe from these unknown beings, but that’s about to change. The Kegai are about to pierce a barrier and assault this apparent last bastion. When they do, they’ll “infect” one of the people there, putting them at risk. However, Nini features the Demon Sight ability, as evidenced by being able to see things he shouldn’t and spy on characters’ current actions, moods, and desires, and finds he’s not the only “gifted” or unusual resident in the town. And so, he’ll regularly head into Yomotsu Hirasaka at the town’s shrine with certain neighbors to face the Kegai there and perhaps save the person being used as their host.


Image via XSEED Games

We go into Loop8 knowing we only have the month of August. What happens when it ends? Well, if you didn’t make the right choices or fall in battle to the Kegai, you die and the loop restarts. There are different endings tied to actions and affections, as you can imagine from a game with relationship elements. You essentially need to live each day as best you can, making good choices that build up the stats of Nini and his allies and form relationships. Doing things like attending classes and training at certain locations build up things like stamina and strength. You can happen upon blessings by talking to people or investigating certain suspicious environmental objects, prompting flying squirrel messenger of the gods Musasa to let you know about the latest buff. (It’s very annoying, but you can choose to “skip” these in the options.) Visiting the cafe or restaurant will restore your energy and stamina, as will getting candy from Saru. So during daylight hours, you’ll check the map to see where people are so you can talk to them, visit certain training spots, perhaps attend classes, and practice time management.

This means you can also see the trips to Yomotsu Hirasaka and deadlines to “save” people from Kegai attacks as being like heading into the Midnight Channel by a certain date. Nini can ask characters to “go for a walk” to add up to two to his party. Once you do, you can head to what is essentially this other plane of existence to face the Kegai. You’ll need to get magatamas to unlock access to its boss fights, then choose attacks tied to the feelings of friendship, love, and hate to assault the boss and other Ashihara resident tied to them. These plodding assaults are turn-based and, while the more poignant opponents might look impressive, are unfortunately lackluster. There’s no real sense of strategy here, especially since you can only choose Nini’s actions. You can use Demon Sight to predict responses, which is interesting. But winning these major bouts mainly comes down to ensuring you pick two allies who the possessed person you’re facing “likes” to make the fight easier, especially since there’s no surefire way to guarantee healing abilities will be used.

Loop8 is a game where caring about characters is critical. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to do so. Yes, I’ll admit some fondness for some of them. I’m a Hori, Ichika, Konoha, and Machina fan. But it’s more for specific character designs or certain things I know about them, rather than a real sense of connection. Which is especially distressing considering the game emphasizes the connections between everyone by looking feelings of friendship, love, and hate. But then, it’s hard to connect when it feels like they talk at you rather than with you. Many interactions involve selecting base concepts like “get to know better,” “flatter,” “annoy them,” tease them,” “let’s go for a walk,” or if you’re lucky a suggestion that will lead to an actual event. But instead of actually learning about someone, most suggestions just… feature a generic response and a small stat bump in exchange for expending energy. Not to mention I’ve found the rates of success may not be as clear cut as the suggestions, as 50/50 chance basically meant Nini’s attempt to connect would fail. So unless you really push toward building a relationship with someone and start to unlock those events or trigger another loop, you might not connect with some of the people around town.

What also hurts it is the amount of investment Loop8 seems to demand. I didn’t really start to “get” the game until my third loop, and it really feels geared toward triggering multiple ones—either via dying or purposely triggering the “loop” option in a conversation. It quickly gets repetitive, since you need to dedicate yourself to rebuilding relationships and stats once a loop restarts. It is easier to rebuild after a loop, but still. This is exacerbated by the general pacing being a mess. (It can take 10 minutes to run from the front gates of the school to the front door, even though it’s right there!) You can unlock new events and text, but much of the script repeats from one loop to the next. It also doesn’t help that some of your early conversations with characters will allude to things to come or immediately imply certain levels of familiarity,

Image via XSEED Games

Image via XSEED Games

But even worse is knowing that means heading into Yomotsu Hirasaka and battling again. The battle system is such a chore, especially since new skills are tied to performing actions and training during the day. When you’re in this underworld area, you need to directly travel to locations to find the glowing orbs you can interact with to gain magatama and reach the fights. Since there’s no traditional leveling system, any battles before a boss are pretty much pointless. Fighting them does boost a stat, perhaps, but it’s so easy to build relationships and earn stats from actions during the day that it’s better to rush in and face the foe. It’s such a slog. Which is a shame, because I feel like even just allowing us to control our allies actions could have been a great step toward making the turn-based RPG elements a little more enjoyable.

Loop8 squanders its goodwill. This is a game Marvelous and SIEG Games clearly want to be poignant and important. However, its frustratingly obtuse, the pacing is problematic, and it wears out its welcome with tedious interactions. I love the concept and the idea of wandering around Ashihara. Some characters are memorable too! But after a few loops and constant Musasa intrusions, I was tempted to let the Kegai win if it would shut that squirrel up.

Loop8: Summer of Gods will be available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 6, 2023.

Loop8: Summer of the Gods


Loop8 feels like a game that wants to be more poignant and meaningful than it really is, due in part to problematic pacing issues.

Food for Thought:
  • When you’re heading to face your first Kegai in your second loop, Ichika and Beni are solid party members and don’t require too much investment to be able to beat it.
  • Choosing “Never mind” after approaching someone will build up hate, presumably for wasting their time, so keep that in mind before starting a conversation.
  • I found you can only visit the cafe and restaurant once each per day. If you have allies with you, they’ll also restore energy and stamina when you do. Choose the cafe first, as it closes earlier, then save the restaurant for later.
  • I feel like I'd have enjoyed Loop8 more if it was a manga, anime, or novel than a game.
    If you want to know more, check out Siliconera's review guide.
    Jenni Lada
    About The Author
    Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.