Tested on: PC
Warlock’s Tower – Review
In many situations the mailman is either the bearer of bad news, or the joyous wondrous hero in shining armor that brings you packages, and in some cases, the evil thug that lends your packages for an indefinite amount of time. Nonetheless, there are those, so driven by what they do, they will deliver your parcel, no matter the weather conditions, their mood, and so on, simply to be the best damn mailman they could be. With this in mind Midipixel created Warlock’s Tower, where your average day mailman has to go beyond himself, in a dangerous tower that is shaped like a labyrinth, with zombies and other creatures lurking about. One step too much means certain death, while outsmarting the warlock will allow you to achieve your goal: delivering the mail. We were enamored by the concept, as well as the game boy-like graphics.
You’re a mailman and you wish to deliver your mail. Period. You just so happen to find yourself in a warlock’s tower, filled with traps, puzzles, zombies, goo. Add the fact that you can only make a limited set of moves and need to find something to refresh your move counter seeing you’d otherwise die, doesn’t make things easier . Sounds like a fairly average day for the regular run-of-the-mill postman? Well in Warlock’s Tower, this is the setting, without too many whistles and bells added to thicken the plot. While you will see the recipient of the mail pop up from time to time, to tell you what you can and can’t do, with rather amusing dialogues, filled with purposely misspelled words, there isn’t really that much story content to be found in this game. The parts that are there are brought in a very witty and original way, given the theme of this title.
It’s clear that the developers wanted to make a game that would make us think back of the good old days when the original Game Boy was just released, and ruled the handheld market for many years to come. The first few levels of Warlock’s Tower are done in the same tones of green, which enhances said nostalgic feeling. Nonetheless, every floor has its own theme going for it, where the colors shift a tad, but always within the same monotone area, if a certain floor chooses a brown theme, you, the enemies and everything else within the level you’re in, will shift all their colors to brown, albeit in different shades. Same for the other color schemes that are used within the game.
As expected, the game chooses a pixilated look, which probably could render on an actual Game Boy, which makes us regret there isn’t a version being developed for Nintendo’s handheld. Your character looks fairly cute in its square-ish look, same for the other two characters that pass the revue, as well as the two different enemies. Sadly, that’s all there is to the game when it comes to characters, which means that you will not see such a big diversity in enemies, allies and of course the warlock you have to reach. All of that being said, this game looks quite spiffy in its retro form.
Sound-wise there isn’t that much to tell, safe for the rather cheerful and catchy 8-bit music that will blast through the speakers. The tunes are fairly simple, not that diverse, but they never grow tiresome, which is certainly a plus. Sadly the game is void of voice acting, or the ‘gibberish’ noises that were used in retro games to replace an actual voice cast. While the latter is no real issue for a game such as this, perhaps a few extra sounds would have been nice.
Warlock’s Tower is an old-school puzzle game with a rather original twist. While you simply have to navigate the mailman to the end of each level, you only get a limited amount of moves. If you go over your fixed amount of moves, your character will dissolve into nothingness, forcing you to restart the level. That being said, each level has a few power-ups that replenishes moves, but you’ll also have to grab these items after some serious thought, as the number on said pickups will not add to your current stock of moves, but they will simply refresh it to the value of the token you just grabbed. Every move you make will deplete this counter by one, safe for activating switches, which comes at no cost.
What we just described is pretty much all there is to the game, but the further you progress, some things get a bit more complicated, like enemies added to the fray, who will move after every three moves you make. Other than that, switches, trapdoors and a second character will make their appearance, with the latter being a fun addition. The second character will allow you to close bigger gaps, as he can grab power-ups in his area, which will also replenish the counter for the mailman, which might be vital for your escape, or in this case, to reach the recipient.
While all in Warlock’s Tower is good, there are a few minor things that drag this game down from practically perfect to just ‘great’. You’ll plow through the game in about two to three hours, and there is hardly any replay value or extra content to be found. Also one regrettable thing is the ending of the game, as during your playthrough you’ll have fun encounters with the warlock, while at the ending it’s just like in the ‘good old days’ that you’ll be left wanting more, as you simply pop to an ending screen, without any additional story value. Nonetheless, with the story content that the game has, it’s not really such a big issue, it’s just a missed opportunity.
In all its shortness, Warlock’s Tower is a fun and cute title, that offers a variety of fun puzzles, that offer enough challenge but never become frustratingly hard. The not-so-subtle wink to the games of the Game Boy era is probably what makes this title very original, good looking and amusing for young and old. If you’re looking for a game with a wacky topic, a mailman as a protagonist, puzzles and of course a fun visual interpretation, this one will certainly be amusing from start to finish.