App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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As a once avid Monster Strike player, I had always wondered why more games hadn't borrowed its strangely satisfying pinball-meets-dungeon-crawler gameplay and stuck it into something new. Little did I know that a game like Treasure Buster would come along and do exactly that in perhaps the coolest way possible: by combining the pull-and-release style of dungeon combat with the backdrop of an amazing homage to 90s-style arcade games.
If you're not already familiar with how Monster Strike plays, Treasure Buster is a dungeon crawler in which players battle on an enclosed field where they tug and release to launch their hero at enemies to damage them. On each enemy is a number which counts down after each time you attack. When it reaches zero, the enemies then attack you.
The goal on any given field is to clear it of enemies as quickly as possible while also gathering treasure and power ups that drop from your foes when you hit them. To help you survive, you can tap the screen when attacks reach your character to parry them.
Dungeons & Dubloons
There are two ways to play Treasure Buster, Arcade Mode and Endless Mode. Endless Mode, as you can probably guess, has you clear board after board of enemies until you die, whereas Arcade Mode treats each board as a section of a dungeon that you must clear out before opening up your map to move ever closer to the boss you must defeat. In both modes, you can choose one of six characters, complete with their own set of stats and special abilities.
Out of the two modes, Arcade is generally the more interesting, as traveling around a map adds in a more meaningful layer of decision-making to the game, plus the boss fights occur more often in it.
As if it weren't enough to make a cool dungeon crawler with Monster Strike combat, Treasure Buster goes the extra mile by creating an aesthetic that is steeped in arcade nostalgia while still maintaining its own identity.
Much like an arcade game from days gone by, Treasure Buster features a colorful cast of unique characters, a pixel art visual style, and a great chip tune soundtrack. To top it off, the game even enters a kind of "Demo Mode" when left idle, much like an arcade game. The only drawback of the aesthetic choices in this game are that the pixelated art style can make it hard to see exactly how your arrow is pointing when you're set to fling, which can occasionally lead to not-so-precise shots.
The bottom line
Treasure Buster is a fantastic little game with loads of heart. It takes a great combat mechanic and loads it into an arcade experience that is deeper than it appears. If you've got a buck, there's no good reason why you shouldn't pick Treasure Buster up.