Knightmare Tower Review: Bouncy castle
My first exposure to Knightmare Tower was on the OUYA, the Kickstarted Android-based console that didn't turn out to be so hot. The OUYA did have a great feature that allowed me to test drive any of the games on the marketplace before deciding to make the purchase. Through the myriad of games I went through, Knightmare Tower was the only one that had me reaching for my wallet and whipping out my credit card. It's addicting, fun, and easy enough to grasp within minutes. So of course I was excited to hear that it's making its way to Steam, especially now that I don't even own my OUYA anymore. Sad face.
Knightmare Tower stars a bumbling knight who's turned hero in an effort to climb up a seemingly infinite tower, rescue 10 princesses, and defeat the mastermind behind their kidnapping. To do this, the knight launches himself with a rocket and continually propels himself upward by slashing down into various monsters.
It's a beautiful system where the skill lies in knowing when to slash monsters, when to avoid their traps or projectiles, as well as knowing how many hits it takes to kill one completely. You'll start off against stupidly easy enemies that die in a single hit, but eventually end up dodging fire breathing dragons, wizards that cast spells and worm-like spiked monsters that require precision aiming to destroy. The game progressively eases you in with just slightly harder enemies, and enough to learn their movesets, and hitpoints.
However, early on, you won't get very far. Your propelling speed isn't high and the amount of bonus you get through slashing monsters is also quite low. That's where spending money comes in. The game's upgrade system is a perfect complement to the action. You always make quite a lot of money each run, meaning you'll pretty much always have enough to buy at least a single upgrade. These upgrades range from doing more damage, being able to take more damage, getting a bigger speed bonus when consecutively killing enemies, or even granting a speed boost to your initial rocket launch. You're constantly in a cycle of progressing just slightly further until you need to once again unlock a new upgrade to help you succeed even more the next round.
Once you unlock a bulk of these upgrades, the initial few floors will practically fly by you in mere seconds, letting you reach the top quicker. The boss fight is actually quite enjoyable and has a slight learning curve to it. It's a shame that there is only a singular boss and not multiple. I won't spoil it by talking too much about its mechanics, but much like defeating the monsters below him, it's all about reading the enemy and knowing the amount of times to strike before you need to pull back and dodge.
Honestly, getting through the main campaign won't take you long. I got through it in about an hour or so, but the game does offer a secondary Challenge mode, which keeps all your upgrades, and starts you off with much tougher enemies. This mode is much harder and I highly recommend players to stick to this mode once the main campaign is done, as there is a ton of fun to be had here.
Knightmare Tower isn't an overly complex game, nor is it that difficult. What it does provide though is perfectly balanced gameplay, that beautifully balances character progression with level progression, and relies on one another symbiotically. For $3.99, it's an absolute steal and well worth the investment.