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Game Review #296: Warlock's Tower (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Steven Green

Developer: Midipixel

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Category: Puzzle / Adventure

Release Date: 05.31.2019

Price (At Time of Review): $4.99

Buy Warlock's Tower from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

The Game Boy Returns

Warlock’s Tower is a classic-styled puzzle game in which you traverse levels in the aforementioned tower to try to get to the top so that you can…deliver some mail? You play a valiant mailman named Tim who takes his job very seriously. You have a peace offering in your possession that you must get to the warlock so that the planet can be saved. You meet some friends along the way and help them get through the tower as well, and even tag team with a little girl named Jess through harrowing levels filled with monsters of all sorts, and puzzles that increase with complexity as you progress. Nostalgia abounds in this wonderful little indie title.

Simply Simplicity

The Warlock is an interesting character, and the fun NPCs you meet add some spice to the game, but overall you aren’t playing this game for the story. This is a pretty pure puzzle game, that is a very self-aware adventure game on the side. The campiness of it is exactly what this game needs to break up the toughness in the puzzles, and I feel like a complex story would take away from the awesome simplicity to this gameplay. Jump in and jump out gameplay, that is great in handheld mode as well, lets you play a few levels and move on. Or, you can binge through the game as the puzzles are extremely addicting. And even better, how often have you played a puzzle game with a twist ending?

Step Sabotage

In this game you find yourself in quite the pickle. With every step you take you lose one count from your life meter, meaning you only have a certain number of moves in order to get through the door at the end of the puzzle to complete the room. Coins are laid out on the floor in order for you to reset your counter, allowing you more chances to get through before the warlock’s magic disintegrates you. You do this through 5 different worlds; each themed as a dungeon, warehouse, factory, library, and laboratory. As you continue, new elements are introduced to make the levels more and more difficult, such as switches, levers, pits, gates, and new monsters at every turn.

You Shall Not Pass

The monsters include: the zombie, who chases you with every three moves and attempts to eat you. The Fleye, a flying, magical eyeball with wings that also moves every three turns but can fly over obstacles. And slimes, that leave behind a trail of acid you cannot cross. You also have pots that can be placed over the switches on the floor in order to close the pits you find in later levels, as well as the levers which are used to open gates that block your path. Teleporters allow for more interesting traversal in the end game, and things just don’t slow down from there.

Tough Traversal

The difficulty of this game is perfect in my mind. It starts very easy, allowing you to learn the mechanics and get very comfortable moving around, and then things ramp up at a very fair level, with the addition of new traps and monsters coming with each floor you traverse. As someone who likes puzzle games but finds puzzle games that try to break your brain taxing, this game really allowed for me to have a very pleasant play-through. Don’t get me wrong, this game gets brutal, and in the end you will be playing the same level over and over to try to pass it, but they offer you the mechanic of placing a checkpoint whenever you want in order to allow you to choose where you respawn. That way you can easily jump back in after failing. A nice quality of life addition.

Everything Else

The game offers you tons of levels to get through, and with the secret levels the content just increases. NPCs need a second run of the room in order to get the NPC and then solve the room separately. With the difficulty ramp in the level floors you will also be spending a good amount of time in the levels towards the end (The boss battle is crazy). All of this allows for a good amount of run time till the end.

The classic Game Boy style music and graphical design are impeccable. In handheld mode you truly feel like you could be playing on the Game Boy. The pixelated graphics for the Game Boy could sometimes leave detail out, but here we see character models that are fairly impressive in detail, and just the right amount of design to the levels themselves to make this feel expertly crafted. The music is a straight call-back to the days of old and is something I wouldn’t mind listening to the soundtrack of on its own, as a lover of the 8-bit/16-bit era music.

In closing…

Warlock’s Tower is a gem, and if you have an affinity for classic gaming and puzzles it is a must play. The game doesn’t add much for replay value once it’s completed, but at the low price tag you cannot complain about the hours of fun you will have in this one. The game isn’t perfect, but I sure did have a great time playing through it. My biggest issue was wanting there to be more of the game once it was over. Games of the Game Boy era had to be simpler, and that allowed for the charm to just ooze out of them. This game oozes as well. And that’s a compliment.

Score: 9/10

Buy Warlock's Tower from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Ratalaika Games

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