Warlock's Tower (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gabriel Jones 07.06.2019

Review for Warlock

From atop his life-draining tower, a warlock is hatching a plan to destroy the entire world. The only person capable of stopping him is Tim the mailman. What's his special power? He delivers mail, and that's it. Yes, his superpower is pretty lame, but that's not the point. In his satchel is a letter addressed to the Warlock's Tower. If Tim can survive the many floors of this dreadful spire, then maybe he can give the nihilistic wizard a reason to refrain from annihilating all living things. It won't be easy though. Tim forgot to bring the satchel that contains all of his extra lives.

Warlock's Tower is a videogame that abides by one simple rule. Every step is death. Much like an especially nasty poison, the tower just takes a person's life every time they make a move. Wow! Talk about pure evil. If the player is prone to mistakes or second guesses, then they're going to be treated to endless suffering. While the conditions are unfathomable and the odds are brutal, there is something awfully intriguing about this concept. Perhaps dancing into the throes of madness and despair could actually be enjoyable.

The basics are easy to grasp. Tim can move in four directions, and there's a button for retrying the current stage. At first, staying alive is all a matter of collecting the '3ups' and '5ups' that are scattered everywhere, while inching ever closer to the goal. Mainly, the puzzle comes from figuring out the right order to grab these life extensions. Once the player gets the hang of this, then zombies are introduced. The undead take one step for every three the mailman takes, and they will home in on his current position. Just like that, survival has become a lot more complicated. Now one has to take care to avoid shambling corpses, while managing their step count.

After completing a handful of stages, players will be gifted their own personal checkpoint. This can be used at any time to save Tim's current position and step count. This is handy for those times where you feel like you're on the right track, but haven't quite reached the end of the current stage. Shortly afterwards, a kid by the name of Jess decides to help out, and the tag team mechanic is introduced. By pressing the 'X' button, control switches between the two characters. As long as one of them can make it to the exit, then the stage is completed. However, they share the same number of lives. The idea is to lead them on separate paths. In one early example, Jess will take one path to collect a key, while Tim will head down another path to reach the locked door.

Screenshot for Warlock's Tower on PlayStation 4

As the mailman makes his way onward and upward, new obstacles come into play. Trapdoors will cause the unwary to plummet to their doom, and must be closed by a nearby button. However, these buttons must be held down by a person or have a vase shoved on top of them. Slimes will not only hunt down trespassers, but the acid they leave behind is fatal to the touch. Conveyor belts and teleporters require players to take multiple possibilities into consideration, and think a few steps ahead. Thankfully, they have all of the time they need to plan their next move.

Although the puzzles get increasingly complex, they don't bog players down in convoluted scenarios. You aren't going to be expected to manage several mechanics at once. One stage might involve Tim and Jess teaming up to figure things out, while a later stage could just feature the postal boy by himself. Everything is manageable and appropriately paced. It's not as if there will be a puzzle that involves zombie-dodging, lever-flipping, keys and a dozen other traps all at once. Finding the solution isn't typically a matter of agonizing over every step for hours. This helps maintain the sense of accomplishment that keeps the game engaging.

Due to limitations on moves, most puzzles have one route to the solution. This is both good and bad. On the good side, there's always an understanding of where the player stands. They have an idea of how many moves they have to work with, so it's just a matter of making the most of them. On the bad side, that can mean a lot of trial-and-error. Getting around a zombie or slime often requires following a specific path. Even if Tim and/or Jess have the right idea of what to do, that path can't be deviated from. To put it another way, usually there aren't any alternate solutions, only what's intended by the developer. Thankfully, the puzzles never really become arbitrary. If there's a stage where the zombies have to be manipulated in order to clear a path, the protagonist won't have to do anything absurd like "walk in a circle" or "move up and down repeatedly."

Screenshot for Warlock's Tower on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Over 100 stages of mind-boggling puzzles await anyone who decides to tackle Warlock's Tower. Depending on your patience and aptitude for problem-solving, this adventure could last for quite some time. In every respect, Midipixel has done a fine job. The charming visuals and great soundtrack accompany a wealth of challenging ordeals. Frustration and exhaustion are rarely a factor, because this puzzler never tries to do too much at once. Altogether, it's a worthwhile pick-up for genre fans.

Developer

Midipixel

Publisher

Ratalaika Games

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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