I speak of the fantastically excellent Knightmare Tower from Juicy Beast, released today on the Apple App Store. ‘S’really good.
Hmm, how do I describe Knightmare Tower? It’s almost like a vertical-scrolling cyclical runner, but that doesn’t do it justice. It actually bears more resemblance to Fruit Ninja or even bullet hell stuff like DoDonPachi.
Essentially, as a knight, you’re tasked with soaring to the top of the eponymous Knightmare Tower, having been blasted out of a cannon, with the ultimate goal of rescuing a bunch of princesses.
Each time you rescue a princess, a bonus item is unlocked, yielding – for example – money bags, bombs, potions, horns that call out mini bosses, and double hearts. You’ll then find said bonus item pop up in game.
There are also 40 tasks to complete, such as performing X number of perfect launches, splitting Y monsters, or travelling Z metres without attacking.
Speaking of attacking, that’s a fairly crucial part of Knightmare Tower. You move your guy left and right by tilting, and tapping the screen launches a downward attack.
If your attack hits and splits a monster, you’ll gain a little speed boost. If you miss, you’ll go off the bottom of the screen and lose a little momentum. Screw up bad enough, and you’ll find yourself consumed by the obligatory rising lava.
And that’s Knightmare Tower in a nutshell. It’s incredibly simple, and probably far better than it ought to be.
That’s thanks in part to the perfectly balanced levelling system, which sees you enhancing your guy’s armour, sword and boots (attack faster), alongside things like luck (find better items on your ascent), extraction power (gain more speed from slaying monsters) and oil (lose less speed from friction).
There’s also an upgradeable Knightmare Tower potion, which initially gives you a simple speed most. Investing cash adds to the effects, culminating in… actually, I won’t tell you what the last benefit is.
On the whole Knightmare Tower just feels – as I said before – remarkably well balanced. The upshot is a fantastic sense of progress, and you’ll feel like a god when you’re fully levelled up; monsters that took several blows to destroy when you started out are suddenly gone in one swipe of your mighty sword. Brilliant.
And heck, I haven’t even mentioned the frankly outrageous boss battle at the top of the tower. Amazing stuff.
Better still, defeating the boss unlocks an endless Survival mode, with 40 new challenges. Sah-weet.
My only gripe is that my iPad 3 began to struggle after a few hours of play, when the pace picked up. Background transitions were increasingly stuttery, ditto the music, but a quick reset did the trick. And heck, that’s only because the game gets a little manic towards the end.
Otherwise, I can’t recommend Knightmare Tower enough. The battle for Smartphone Game of the Year begins here.
- The levelling system
- The boss battle
- Loads of missions
- Seems to be quite demanding on the old hardware
Summary: For fans of endless runners, action games and all things crazy, Knightmare Tower – with its first class levelling system – is an absolute must play.
Developer: Juicy Beast
Price: £1.99 @ App Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + 4G, iPad (4th generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation), iPad mini and iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.