Ratalaika is a publisher known for implementing easy Achievements and Trophies in its games. Often these Achievements are so generously given that players don’t even need to complete the game to earn them all. Warlock’s Tower, however, is a polished and fully featured puzzle game that requires a full playthrough to reach the Platinum. Fans of old-school tile-based puzzle games will certainly want to climb this tower…
The tower in question is ruled over by an evil wizard who plans to destroy the world. The key to stopping him lies within a letter that must be delivered by one daring mailman. Along the way, he’ll endure numerous taunts from the wizard (generally providing tutorial information) and encounter a variety of amusing NPCs. At the top of the tower lies a boss battle and a clever narrative surprise.
In order to deliver his letter, our hero must contend with the curse of the tower. Each step a person takes within its floors causes that person to lose a life. Take too many steps and you die for good (quickly restarting the level). Thankfully, life pickups are strewn throughout each level. The number displayed by these items will replace the mailman’s current number of lives when picked up, so he will gain or lose lives depending on when he collects the items. To reach the exit door of each level, players must carefully navigate the pathways and collect lives in the right order.
As the mailman climbs further up the tower, he’ll encounter numerous enemies that move with every few steps the player takes, not unlike Crypt of the Necrodancer. Each monster displays a unique behavior, such as slimes leaving acid trails behind that will kill the player (or other enemies) when touched. The tower’s various floors feature different traps and mechanics, too, like keys for locked doors, levers that lower gates, jars that can be pushed but not pulled, teleportation machines, and more. Some levels even require players to switch back and forth between the mailman and a feisty schoolgirl in order to safely reach the exit.
Warlock’s Tower plays a bit like fellow tile-based puzzle game Slayaway Camp, but it features a much more retro GameBoy-like 8-bit aesthetic. Each floor of the tower utilizes a different 4-bit shade scheme, just like the selectable color palettes used by the Super GameBoy to render original GameBoy games. The music gets a bit repetitive, but otherwise, developer really Midipixel nailed the audiovisual charm of GameBoy tile-based puzzlers like Kwirk: The Chilled Tomato.
As for Achievements and Trophies, Warlock’s Tower doesn’t just give them all away up front. The game consists of 16 total floors, each with several levels. To get every Achievement/Trophy, players must complete all of those levels (except for a handful of bonus levels) as well as locating several hard-to-reach NPCs. Some levels are truly brain-busting, but players can follow a guide easily enough if they get stuck. Using a guide, you might complete the game in a couple of hours. Without a guide, the Platinum Trophy will likely to take eight hours or so to accomplish.
Puzzle platformers have become the dominant type of puzzle game in recent times. Warlock’s Tower is a throwback puzzle game that looks and plays like it came from another era. With great retro graphics, decently witty writing, and fiendish puzzle designs, players looking for an old-school challenge won’t be disappointed.
Warlock’s Tower costs $4.99 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Vita, and Switch; $9.99 on Steam; and $1.99 on iOS and Android. The PlayStation 4 and Vita versions are cross-buy. Xbox and PlayStation review copies were provided by the publisher.
- Achievements and Trophies require a full playthrough of the game.
- Over 100 challenging levels
- Nostalgic GameBoy-style visuals.
- Later levels might be too complex for some players.
- The music quickly becomes repetitive.
- A glitched Trophy/Achievement requires a workaround to unlock