Loot River Tips: 15 Things the Game Doesn’t Tell You

There's no T-spin, I'm afraid.

Loot River tips should hopefully get you through this half-puzzle, half-roguelike RPG with as few headaches as possible. The game has been described as a mix of Tetris and Dark Souls: forcing you to “sail” on different shapes of geometric blocks through various levels while doing battle with hard-hitting bosses. It’s an interesting combination. And it’s one that creates a lot of room for tricks and tactics not explicitly mentioned by the game itself. So we’ve decided to put together a little guide full of our favorite strategies for winding through the game. Let’s take a look at each of them in our list of Loot River tips!

Riposte After Parries

One of the very first things Loot River asks you to do is parry enemy attacks. This is, thankfully, not very hard to pull off. Though the game does a poor job of explaining the intricacies of its parry system. One of the most important facts it omits is that a parry is not the same as a riposte. A successful parry is still useful all on its own! It will stagger an enemy temporarily, like a short stun. You can use that time to flee or, more likely, trigger a riposte.

This should be fairly clear to anyone that’s played Elden Ring or games inspired by FromSoftware before. But, to be clear for those who haven’t tried those games, you need to press the light attack button next to a parried enemy to trigger a riposte — a guaranteed-to-hit counterattack that deals bonus damage. This takes place over a brief animation in which you face the affected foe. The tradeoff is that you’re locked into this animation. You can’t stop until the damage is done and your character frees their weapon from the enemy’s body. Again: just like Elden Ring, Dark Souls, etc. The heavy attack button won’t trigger a riposte, either by the way. If you use one during the stun, it will deal the same damage it normally would, which is lower than the “critical” performed by a riposte. Let’s talk about that next.

Riposting Counts as a Critical Hit

You actually can find some of this information in the game itself — if you hover over the “Crit. Damage” stat in your character menu. We’re including it here because the game doesn’t explicitly mention it. In fact, it references critical hits in other places, implying that you might need things like special items or modifiers to crit at all. On that topic: this also means that the critical hits performed by a riposte after a parry share all the same benefits of a normal critical hit. That includes the damage multiplier.

By default, when you start Loot River, crits deal 1.6x the normal damage. At least that’s what it says. How that damage gets calculated actually seems more complex. A riposte deals more damage than the Crit. Damage multiplier would imply. By default, for example, the basic sword does five damage per light hit. Yet a riposte does more than double that with the standard 1.6x multiplier. Really, though, it’s just even more reason to riposte as often as possible.

Everyone Has More to Say

This is a tiny tip, but just for the record, notes and NPCs have more to say than you might realize. Speaking to an NPC (or reading a note) will create a popup window of text. You need to actually press the interact button again to see the next bit of dialogue — even though there’s nothing to indicate there’s more to read. You will only know that someone is finished talking, or that a note has reached its end, when the text bubbles start looping or repeating themselves. This is mostly useful for lore, but can also have some gameplay implications, as various mechanics get explained to you this way.

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You Don’t Need to Fight Fair

This is something shown in the various trailers for Loot River. Though the game itself never makes the tactic explicitly obvious. You don’t (usually) need to fight fair. What this means is that, while you have almost total control over the various rafts/platforms/puzzle pieces in the game, enemies don’t. It’s extremely easy to exploit this to your advantage. Just sail up to a group of enemies, whack them once with your sword, and immediately pull back. Rinse and repeat! Most enemies can’t follow directly, so you can beat them down via attrition.

The greatest danger is that a large group of attackers will board the raft you’re on during that brief window of connection. Fighting one-on-one in Loot River is (usually) easy. Getting swarmed is another matter entirely. This is actually where the dash comes in much handier than the parry. You can use the dash to phase through enemy lines and get to a new raft. From there it’s easy to start the whole process all over again.

Parry Too Early, Not Too Late

If you’re having trouble landing parries in the first place, know that the window is extremely generous. Even by default. Pressing the parry button in Loot River really puts you in more of a temporary “parry stance.” Any blockable blow that hits you during its animation then stuns the foe that threw it. This makes it far, far more effective to parry too early than to parry too late. You can very easily parry before an enemy even begins its attack and still block the blow. Though this can lead to strange situations where you accidentally “dodge” the attack rather than parry it. The parry in Loot River also causes your character to take several steps back, you see, and this can move you outside of enemies’ range altogether. You won’t take damage, but you also won’t trigger that all-important stun.

Watch Your Enemies Windup

Another good tip for parrying is to basically ignore the icons over your enemies’ heads. Fans of the Arkham Asylum games may recognize this sort of telegraph: an indicator that says the enemy is about to attack. However, enemies actually start moving a split second before the little lines appear over their heads. A twitch of the arm, a shift of the leg, etc. This is less obvious but acts like an early tell that they’re winding up for a swing. Especially since the enemies (also like in Arkham Asylum) usually just stand stiffly next to your character when they’re not on the offensive. Any movement at all, once the enemy steps within range, basically always indicates an attack is coming. That lets you start your lengthy parry pose before the game even indicates it with a glowing marker.

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The Big Head Heals You

This is a small tip, but a pretty damn important one. That huge statue in the center of the game’s headquarters? That’s how you heal between levels without dipping into your health flasks. You just need to stand in front of it, wait for the eyes to glow, and your HP will jump back to full in an instant.

For the record, you can return to headquarters by using the eastern exist in the elevator room any time you exit a level. This room is also where you meet Soap: the NPC who can multiply your flasks between zones. This is one of the best ways to refill your otherwise limited healing items — meaning you actually want to avoid using flasks as much as possible. At least early on. Standing in front of that giant head and letting it fix you up will keep you from dipping into your supply for no reason.

Counterattacks Teleport You to the Target

Loot River makes it pretty easy to riposte from any angle or range. That’s good since the game is also very generous with its enemies’ attack range. A good early example of this is the guards with extending spears (which you can actually turn off using a modifier found in-game). Don’t worry about wasting time running up for the riposte, either. One area where Loot River differs from its Souls-like inspiration is positional requirements. You can riposte a foe from halfway across a platform. So long as the parry is successful — indicated by the flash of light and “ding” sound that accompany the stun — you can simply press the light attack button from wherever it is you stand. The riposte will teleport your character right next to the off-kilter enemy and stab them up like normal.

Riposting Cancels Out Certain Dangers

Another early enemy encountered in Loot River mushroom-headed warriors. These creatures spray poisonous fog whenever you hit them with a normal attack. This encourages you to keep your difference — such as using your spear to poke them at range. The standard parry and riposte, however, cancels out this automatic defense. You deal your damage normally without triggering the poison at all. This is actually a huge help early in the game since the poison clouds last for ages. Not to mention touching them just once continues to damage you even after you step outside the gas. It’s better to avoid the hazard altogether by never encountering it at all.

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Poison Doesn’t Move with You, but Fire Does

On the topic of those poison spores: these sorts of hazards linger in the air. Not on the ground. That means simply moving your platform out of the danger won’t carry it with you! Poisonous fog and the like will simply stay put as you sail away.

Other traps and dangers work exactly the opposite, of course. Such as the burning vents you can sometimes encounter. These follow you no matter where you bring your raft-like platform on which the vent is connected. In fact, fire can spread across solid ground, forcing you to move onto a new platform altogether. Fire will eventually burn itself out without. However, it won’t stop until it affects every block that is currently touching. That means you can burn it out faster by leaving fire by itself (i.e. not connected to any further platforms).

You’re Almost Always in Control

Speaking of controlling the raft: that control doesn’t go away just because you’re busy. You can continue to fight, parry, dodge, etc. while sailing. The inverse is also true. In situations where you lose direct control of your character, you can continue controlling your raft. The most common use of this tactic is moving rafts around while you’re caught in the riposte animation. Remember that getting surrounded by multiple enemies is one of the biggest dangers in Loot River. The lengthy riposte animation can keep you locked down while other enemies move close. By moving your raft away from potential dangers, and possibly isolating yourself with the stunned target, you can preemptively put yourself into a safer position for when you start moving again.

The major exception to the rule of control is when facing those enemies that lock rafts together. These aren’t threats on their own, but the units are basically always accompanied by real enemies. You can tell when is locking down your raft the neon red outline connecting it to other (that and the fact that your platforms will stop moving). Killing the enemy behind the lockdown will free you up to move again. Once again, dashing is important here, because you can use it to get close to the nasty little wizards while dodging the actual threats. Don’t be afraid to land just one swing on the lockdown unit before dodging around again. You can always circle back around and finish them off from a better angle — if you’re getting chased by bigger foes, which happens frequently, that is.

Kill Flying and Ranged Enemies First

Before even touching two platforms together, make sure there are no flying enemies around. These aren’t deadly threats on their own. Yet they contribute to larger groups of enemies attempting to surround your character. Luckily, it’s very easy to isolate fliers from the pack. Flying enemies can fly, after all. They don’t need you to connect your raft to another piece of the level before attacking. That just makes it even easier to pick them off as they charge you in the middle of the water. Make sure to take them out first before progressing any farther.

While you’re at it, keep an eye out for ranged enemies as well. Foes that throw grenades can hit you even before your little boat touches their platform. They simply start lobbing explosives at you the second you get close enough. That includes when you’re standing on platforms at different elevations, too. Melee foes cannot actually hit you if they’re standing on taller or shorter parts of the level. Not without going up or down a set of stairs, anyway. Ranged enemies suffer no such limitation. Make them a priority by getting in their face and breaking their poise (i.e. causing them to flinch with rapid attacks).

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You Can Walk Diagonally

By “walk diagonally” we don’t just mean that you can move in any direction on a given platform. That much should be obvious. What this actually means is that you can walk or dash between two rafts that are only touching at the corners. The shapes don’t need to be flush with one another horizontally or vertically in order to let you cross. This can be very useful for skipping sections of a level or solving puzzles more quickly. Enemies also seem unable or uninterested in crossing diagonally this way, too. You can stand right in a corner next to them and they won’t follow you that away. At least not that we’ve seen.

Yet there are limitations to this trick. Stairs seem to be a major exception, for instance. Platforms with staircases are the only reliable way to travel up or down between two different heights of platforms. These do need to be flush with another flat surface before you can walk up or down them. Though it doesn’t matter if they’re touching vertically or horizontally — they just need to “touch” for one whole tile’s worth of surface area. Then you can get on or off as you please.

Down is Not Out

Another good time to bully enemies is whenever they hit the ground. This is, like so many things in Loot River, tied to the parry system. A successful riposte won’t just deal critical damage while locking together both you and the enemy: it also drops the affected foe onto the floor for a second. This, too, matches what you might expect from Elden Ring and the like. There’s just one pretty major difference, which is that enemies are not invulnerable during their “wakeup” animations.

Wakeup animations are an old fighting game concept which can also be applied to many Souls-like games. Whenever a character gets knocked down, they usually take time standing back up again, which is otherwise known as the wakeup. FromSoftware games usually make targets invulnerable during this chunk of time — at least temporarily. This stops the player (and often the game itself) from killing characters mid-animation, when they can’t do anything to defend themselves. Loot River doesn’t appear to care about that. You can keep swinging to your heart’s content. At least as long as the enemy stays down, of course.

Most foes are only stuck in wakeup animations for about one light attack’s worth of time. We don’t recommend trying for a charged heavy attack; it takes so long that you’ll probably be hit before it lands. Yet it’s well worth going for that single attack. Sometimes that’s all you need to completely finish off a foe. Either way, it’s free damage.

Heavy Attacks Take a While

This is something you will almost certainly discover through trial and error. We’ll save you the trouble by warning you now: heavy attacks, and especially charged attacks, take forever.

The charge itself is bad enough. You can release the charge whenever you want, of course but maximum damage is achieved by waiting until there’s an accompanying “ding” sound. This takes several seconds. That’s not all, though, since the attack itself can still take a few seconds to activate after you release the charge. Though it depends on the type of weapon. The lengthy animation is less of an issue with the sword, for instance, because this dashes you forward through enemies — launching you out of potential attack range.

In other cases, though, charged attacks are best when you have an extremely big window. Say… when you slam your raft next to an enemy. Just make sure to release the attack before your raft touches. The delay between releasing the button and the attack itself is long enough that you need to preemptively start the animation before getting into range.