Backpack Hero - Switch Review

"Boy is it fun!"

Backpack Hero - Switch Review
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I never thought I’d be able to say that there is such a thing as an “Action Management” game, but here we are. And you know what? It’s a banger. Backpack Hero is a dungeon crawler indie game with one very peculiar and very satisfying mechanic at the centre of it all: organising your supplies. It doesn’t sound exciting at first, but you’ll spend as much brainpower and gain just as much satisfaction from getting your supplies in order as you’ll get from beating up bad guys, meeting new characters, saving a town and beating bosses.

The Good

There’s a reason why the briefcase inventory system of Resident Evil stuck in the minds of players for decades: because it’s so satisfying

Backpack Hero plays exactly on that satisfaction: there are multiple characters to choose from, each with their own backpack and gimmick, and as each levels up, the player can manipulate the base backpack to fit more items, expand in a certain direction to fit armour sets and combos, take advantage of location abilities of certain items….And managing to get your setup just right feels as good as putting together a hard puzzle. Backpack Hero is very satisfying to play.

But what do you actually put in those backpacks? Well, everything, really. The first rule of any good roguelike is to have a lot of variation, after all.

As you go through the dungeons of the game, you’ll pick up everything that you’d expect in a dungeon crawler game: weapons, consumables, armour and artefacts. But instead of equipping some of these, it’s up to you to make it all fit in the backpack which serves as a universal inventory.

Some items are too big to fit at first, while others make use of adjacent items - there’s enough variation in items alone that then goes on to play on the variation of the different characters, and make for an endless amount of builds and combos.

I am exaggerating just a bit there, because Backpack Hero does actually have a HUGE amount of items. Weapons and armour are the most interesting ones, and they come in so many flavours that play very differently with the system mechanics. 

No matter how scuffed your build gets due to RNG, you’ll figure something out with the massive amount of options the game gives out. And thank God, because you’ll need to real soon.

The second rule of roguelikes is the difficulty, and Backpack Hero gives you a little bit to figure out what you want to do before scaling the challenge up past the second floor. Even with good RNG, it’s very hard to break the game with an item combination to the point where bosses are a joke. You might get there eventually - but the game will make you work for it, and it’ll be very fun.


  • The core management mechanic is incredibly satisfying
  • The loot quantity is massive, giving great build variety
  • The challenge scales properly; good RNG won’t break the game

The Bad

Backpack Hero is split into two main game modes: the dungeon crawling roguelike one, and the…city management one?

It took me by surprise the first time I got there, but you do actually get to create an entire little village in between runs with the spoils from your dungeon diving, and obtain rewards and benefits that are more permanent. So far so good, but the implementation doesn’t feel nearly as good as the other half of the game.

NPCs are very small and blend in with one another; delivering certain items feels like a chore when you need to find the exact animal that asked you for something when they roam around in a sea of similar-looking ones. At first, they hang out near certain buildings, but as the village expands, it gets more and more aggravating.

On top of that, it’s honestly just not super interesting. It takes almost no time at all for the village and the characters within to become an afterthought, just part of the loop of dungeon > upgrade > repeat. Which wouldn’t be a problem, except that the village is where you learn about the story and the world. But neither the building nor the characters themselves are particularly engaging.

Now, an uninteresting game half is one thing, but the biggest problem with the game on the switch is an old classic: performance. Backpack Hero is not a particularly graphically taxing game. It’s made of pixel art without making use of particularly impressive animation.

And somehow it still causes the Switch to heat up very fast, and there are plenty of times during normal gameplay where the framerate stutters. Not only that, at release, there were plenty of annoying glitches in menus where selecting options wouldn’t work right. And these issues were still present in their Christmas 2023 updates.


  • The base-building aspect is uninteresting
  • Story and characters suffer due to base-building
  • Performance issues

Final Score: 7/10

Despite the interesting spin, I don’t think Backpack Hero breaks any new ground, but boy is it fun! Despite the aggravating problems, in the grand scheme of things, they are minor issues in an otherwise very addicting roguelike, and I can’t help but give it a thumbs up.

It is a shame that it falls into the same trap of poor performance that so many games on the Switch fall into, though. There are many more graphically-intensive games out there that run buttery smooth on the Switch, yet it seems every other day a promising game trips over execution. I’m hoping that the next release from the devs of Backpack Hero will take that into account.

Thank you for checking out our Backpack Hero Switch review, thank you to Different Tales for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: