Your next endless obsession
I have a confession to make: I’ve played Knightmare Tower a lot. And no, that’s not because I’m a media darling who gets first dibs on every game ever. It’s because Knightmare Tower – this version of Knightmare Tower - appeared on OUYA a few months before its iOS debut.
I couldn’t stop playing it then, and I can’t stop playing it now.
There’s a chance you’ve played it before, too. The game made its debut as a Flash-based web game back in 2012, though it’s come a long way since that time. New art assets, tweaked effects, and a combo system highlight the changes. And as anyone who’s played the game prior to this might have guessed, the iOS version has one big twist that sets itself apart from even the OUYA version: tilt controls.
WAIT! DON’T GO!
Tilt controls have been given a pretty bad rap over the past few years, and in a lot of cases it’s been well deserved. With Knightmare Tower, however, tilt is as natural as breathing. In fact, during my earlier OUYA experience with the game, my first reaction was “geez, I wish OUYA controllers would recognize tilt like the SIXAXIS did.” And believe you me, it takes a lot for me to invoke the term “SIXAXIS” like that. You wouldn’t believe the amount of dust I breathed in when taking that word off the shelf.
My gut wants to describe Knightmare Tower as an endless climbing game, but as is often the case, my gut doesn’t really know what it’s talking about. For one thing, it’s not endless. It may seem that way at first, but if you sink enough time into it you’ll find a damned difficult boss fight to reward you for your hours of perserverance. For another, it’s not really about climbing. There’s upward momentum alright, but rather than a classy climb, you’ll be doing brutal bounces off the heads of the monstrous enemies that try to prevent your ascent.
So really, someone should correct my gut.
Players tilt their device left and right to guide their rocket-propelled knight as he attempts to hover above one of his fearsome foes. Once in place, just tap the screen to drive your sword downward into their monstery flesh, bouncing back up to gain even more height. In short, Knightmare Tower is a frenzy of tilting and tapping.
All the while, though, there’s a pool of quickly growing lava ascending not far behind you. Let it get too close (which will happen if you miss too many monsters) and it’s game over. The same goes for losing health. After all, some of these monsters are just as happy to damage you as you are to damage them.
To survive long enough to reach the end you’re going to need to improve your speed, strength, and resiliency. And a few potions wouldn’t hurt either. Better equipment and other shiny things can be purchased via the in-game shop, with currency you’ll earn from every monster you slay. And while the gameplay itself is great, it’s this cycle of “kill stuff, buy stuff, get stronger” that makes Knightmare Tower just about impossible to put down.
Games like Jetpack Joyride succeed in hooking players because they’ll always want to do a little better than they did last time. Knightmare Tower slam dunks this idea by giving players items that will iteratively improve their performance time and time again.
The first time I sat down to play Knightmare Tower, I came to the boss fight at the end. Not because the game is easy, but because the next time I looked at the clock, six hours had passed. That was on my OUYA. Now Juicy Beast are insisting on putting the exact same experience in my pocket, to haunt me everywhere I go.