Developer: Juicy Beast Studio
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Burrito Bison creator Juicy Beast’s latest game, Knightmare Tower is based around offensive gameplay instead of pure survival like other similar vertical endless games. Players control a knight flying upward, and dash downward on top of enemies to hurt them and bounce back up in the air at a higher rate. Combos can accelerate the knight even faster, and powerups can help along the way. The enemies aren’t just there to take a beating: they’ll try to attack the knight and do enough damage to kill them. The other big hazard is lava, aka “Dear Knight, I suggest going faster if the plan is to not burn to death. Love, The Giant Rapidly-Rising Pool of Lava.” I suggest staying out of it.

KnightmareTower-07Coins are used to buy upgrades to go faster and be more powerful. This could have been based around IAP, but there actually is none, unlike in Burrito Bison. I spoke to developer Juicy Beast for an interview on the next episode of The Portable Podcast, and they said that they weren’t actually fans of the IAP in Burrito Bison because of the “pay-to-not-play” element that consumable IAP entails, so they didn’t jam it in to Knightmare Tower. Hey, I can respect that. The game is definitely curved well enough with its progression to where there always feels like there’s progress being made toward some new upgrade. It’s very well-balanced, so IAP doesn’t really feel necessary.

The controls are tilt-based, which is something I wasn’t a huge fan of at first, especially considering I’ve played a lot of the game on the Ouya with its gamepad. Having a joystick to move around feels more accurate. And by ‘feels’ I mean, ‘I perceive it to be more accurate though it actually might not be.’ I made a lot of the same mistakes that I made on the version with a real controller, so I don’t think it’s actually any worse to play this way. There’s just an added discomfort that comes from the physical holding of the device, that one jostle or wrong move might mess up a downward attack. There’s more tension, but the tilt controls aren’t objectively worse.

KnightmareTower-08And I must say, I found myself getting hooked on this game again after playing a lot on the Ouya. The gameplay is frantic and unique. Later on in the game, the combat becomes rather strategic between dodging and timing attacks to try and hit enemies at safe times. It’s challenging yet rewarding when getting to another layer of the tower and rescuing another princess. Juicy Beast knows how to make a game that can start with a simple concept and layer on the delicious additional ingredients to make an awesome gaming burrito. Dig in deep to Knightmare Tower, a metaphor that would work better if I was reviewing Burrito Bison, but I didn’t get the chance to so this’ll have to do, dear reader. At worst, for those who would like to see currency-based games without IAP this is a title worth supporting.

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