148Apps Network Post
Developer: Game Stew
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.01
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

We all know the drill: Someone captures a fair maiden, then a knight assaults their hideout in order to rescue her. Same deal here. And as expected the goal is to fight through hordes of enemies, gain experience, gather loot, and best the menace to bring the girl home safe. What might not be quite as expected is that all of this is done via a slot machine interface. It’s a concept that works a heck of a lot better than I would’ve ever expected.

Yes, Tower of Fortune is a slot machine RPG. I’m not sure if it’s been done before or not, but it’s certainly not something I’ve ever encountered before. The gameplay is broken up into a handful of segments depending on the situation, including combat, looting chests, driving away thieves, and resting up at the inn. Each and every one of these tasks is handled with its own three-wheeled slot machine. The first (i.e. left-hand) symbol decides the action, with two or three in a row increasing the effects. Rolling the same icon twice in a row, alone or in a pair/threesome, counts as a combo and also boosts the outcome.

It’s such a simple idea, but the way it all comes together makes Tower of Fortune quite hard to put down. The visuals are simple like those found on an LCD screen for a real slot machine, but also hold a great deal of personality and charm. The compulsion to gather up awesome loot (only attainable from bosses) is also ever-present. Having a sword that boosts attack power and has a 50% chance of attacking twice in one turn is awesome. As is pairing it with an item that earns cash with each hit or similar effects.

On the other hand, slot machines are more about luck than skill. So it’s not out of the question to find oneself getting utterly decimated in an “easy” fight due to a string of bad rolls. The fact that this is essentially a Roguelike (i.e. death means a total reset, save the cash earned so far and unlocked floors) makes the sheer randomness of it even more apparent. And occasionally obnoxious. Thankfully most fights can be forfeited and only cost the initial entry fee, which is usually only a few coins, but some enemies can immobilize players with status effects and “trap” them. A few bad rolls and it’s back to square one.

But thems the breaks, I suppose. Slots are primarily a game of chance, so it stands to reason that Tower of Fortune would also be something of a crap shoot. Although even with the irritation of losing all that gear there’s still a sense of progress and hording cash doesn’t take long. More than all of that, it’s just really freaking addicting and clever.


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