Developer: Namco
Price: FREEMIUM
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

There’s no shame in trying to fudge together genres to create a super genre, and if anything, the unholy genre mash of puzzle and RPG is a great idea. I have no idea how a game like this should really perform, but it’s the idea that counts, right?

To be fair, although I’m not sure if this is being fair to Namco or the original dev, Knightfall: Death and Taxes is a port of a widely popular Flash game. I guess I would categorize it as a cross between a match-3 puzzle game, Mr. Driller, and an RPG. I’m not sure how well the game performs as it’s hard for me to determine what it is that puts me off.

The game is played, level by level, on a gameboard filled with different blocks, a few enemies, sometimes a potion, and a key to exit. Your character, either the knight or the princess, is given a certain number of hit points and a certain number of action points. To move around, you must blow up blocks next to you and then fall into the gaps by rotating your screen. Blowing up blocks uses action points at first, and then when you run out, you start using hit points. The goal of the puzzle is to blow up blocks in nice, match 3-like chunks as they take less AP to blow up. Conversely, if you blow the blocks up one at a time, it could take 5 AP per block, so doing that really isn’t a solid strategy.

While you are busy blowing up blocks, the overarching goal is to get the key and exit the door, and of course there are enemies to worry about. The challenge with the enemies is finding a way to drop directly onto them, which kills them. If you land next to them, they’ll attack you, draining your much needed HP. There are also potions and spells to use in the levels, but I think the general game idea is there.

Throughout the game, you are to play a variation of the same map, over and over, until the end. Sure, there are RPG elements such as a story, bosses, NPC’s, shops, and level ups, but the meat of the game really lies in the cube.

Unfortunately for me, I just didn’t get the feeling that I was doing much of anything at all. Maybe it was the muddy graphics, maybe it was the lack of flashy effects, or maybe it was the fact that there is absolutely no emphasis on quick decision making. Whatever it was, something was definitely missing. I just kept beating level after level, not really feeling much satisfaction after beating any of them.

I can see the attraction of a game like this, having lots of levels/puzzles to beat, but to me there are simply better apps in the App Store, especially for the price. If you go and buy all the levels that the game has to offer, you’ll end up paying $4.99… not an incredibly steep price, but certainly in the premium game echelon of the App Store. To me, a premium game should have a bit more polish than Knightfall has.

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