Recently, Ratalaika Games have made a bit of a name for themselves by porting over semi-decent games, but then loading the first hour or two of them with all the achievements. For achievement hunters on Xbox One, this is great news, but I reckon a large percentage will never touch the game after the last achievement pops.
Warlock’s Tower is their latest offering, and this one strangely requires you to finish the full game to get all the achievements. Don’t worry though, it’s not a long game, and what’s in there is good enough to warrant a playthrough.
You play as Tim the mailman, who is having the shift from hell as he has to deliver a package to the Warlock who sits at the top of his tower, 100 floors up. If that wasn’t challenging enough, the evil Warlock has put a fiendish puzzle on each floor where every step that Tim takes will take a life point from him. And the poor postman only has three to start each level with!
Thankfully – for Tim at least – the Warlock has left plenty of pickups on the floor to replenish life points. This is where the puzzle element of the game comes in; navigating the floor by utilising the pickups and avoiding the many, many traps that litter the stages.
Things start off relatively easy, there are far more pickups than you will need and therefore multiple ways to complete the earlier levels. Later levels though introduce keys to open doors, portals, trap doors, gates; and then there’s the variety of enemies to deal with that pose an even bigger threat. These can be zombies that will amble after you relentlessly, but the trickiest enemy is the Slime.
The Slime – like all enemies will only move every three of your ‘turns’ – but unlike others, slimes leave a trail of acid on the floor, rendering that square useless. Leave them for too long and you will find your exit completely blocked off.
But it isn’t just enemies you will encounter. Some levels even require the help of an extra NPC as you try and solve the puzzle in tandem. After all, Tim isn’t the first person to try and climb the tower for reasons that only become apparent if you are successful in your ascent. These levels don’t appear to have any set format for when they will appear which is a shame, because they are some of the best designed ones in the game.
Some other NPCs are also hidden away in levels and require an additional layer of thinking to find them. Do so, and you will be rewarded with a humorous anecdote from them as to why they are also in this Tower ie. Invariably, they are stuck too.
Hidden characters aren’t the only secrets for you to find. Warlock’s Tower is split into 5 different sections (Factory, Dungeons, Warehouse, Library and Chambers) and each of those have an additional area that can only be accessed after reaching a certain completion percentage. The levels on offer aren’t any different from the main levels however, and these areas could have been utilised better.
The different sections try and offer some variation in how they look: each area has a different flooring type and a different monochromatic colour that certainly invokes the feeling of whiling days away playing on a Nintendo Gameboy such is the aesthetic. As a throwback to those type of games, it does a great job. But, there isn’t really enough to distinguish between the settings themselves. If it wasn’t for the game changing the music and telling me I was in a different area of the tower, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. That said about the music, I did try and drown it out as it isn’t the best.
Warlock’s Tower on Xbox One comes with 21 achievements in total and as mentioned before, unlike previous Ratalaika titles, you will need to complete the whole game for the full 1000G. This still should not take more than a few hours, providing you play each level and then go back and complete the extra sections when they are unlocked. There are some achievements for meeting the additional NPCs dotted around but most are related to progression through the game so there shouldn’t be too many to mop up after you reach the top of the tower.
Other than traversing the tower, there isn’t much else to do in the game. It can be completed in a couple of hours and then after that, there isn’t anything here to keep you invested for longer. But the price takes that into account and Warlocks Tower is reasonable at just £4.99. And for that, you can’t grumble.