Monsters and magic, knights and damsels are all familiar in the world of video games. They’re the comfort food and favorite movie of gamers. That sort of sturdy fantasy island that every developer goes to mine for ideas. Quite often they come up with coal and cubic zirconia. But, once in awhile, developers will unearth a gem and polish it to a high shine. Knightmare Tower might just be one of those gems to be hewn from a pile of overused rubble. Let’s have a look and see.

Knightmare Tower made its debut as a game for the Ouya alongside other such gems like Towerfall. It stood out because of its wonderfully unorthodox gameplay and unbelievably charming exterior. Now that it has made it onto the App Store, I think this game has become a polished piece of precious fun.

The basic gist of Knightmare Tower is that there are an assortment of princesses that have been kidnapped and held hostage in an exceedingly tall tower filled to the brim with monsters of all shapes and sizes. It is up to you to guide a rocket propelled knight higher and higher through the towers many levels to save them. After initially blasting off, you must guide your knight farther up the tower by bouncing off of monsters and slashing them to bits. It makes for a hell of a lot of fun.

The setting and plot are conveyed in an cutscene with perfect comedic timing. It lays out the tiny story in one swift stroke that left me smiling like I had just watched some of the cartoons from my childhood.

The controls for Knightmare Tower are very simple. At the beginning, you must match up a sliding line on the rocket gauge to judge how much of a liftoff you get. After that, it is all in the tilt of your device and the tap of your finger. To move side to side, you simply cock the device in the direction you want your stalwart knight to glide. Tapping the screen will make him plunge downward towards some unsuspecting monster. He will never even know you are coming.

Bouncing your way up the tower farther and farther is incredibly satisfying. From the sound of your sword slicing apart monsters to the euphoria of snagging a combo and vaulting even higher, it makes you want to play more and more.

The brilliant part of Knightmare Tower is that it isn’t quite an endless game where you make no perceivable progress. After each bout with those pesky monsters, you earn some currency which you can spend in the shop to help you get even higher. You can kit out your rocket with more thrust, upgrade your armor so you can take an extra hit or two, and sharpen that blade to slice more powerful demons and push you ever higher. It is so satisfying to know that your upgrades are helping you to get farther into the game and closer to that last princess.

Also, each time you blast through a new floor, in turn freeing a princess, you are rewarded with a newly unlocked item that may be dropped after slicing and dicing a monster. There are bombs to take out a large array of beasties and bags of coin to help you with upgrades.

Unlike a great many iOS games, playing Knightmare Tower feels like you’re accomplishing something and working towards that goal of freeing that last princess. It urges you ever onward and upward to unlock new items and save new damsels in distress.

Overall, my time with Knightmare Tower was a lot of fun. I wish that the tower went on and on forever. Luckily, I got my wish. After completing the main mode of the game, you unlock a more arcade version which is absolutely endless. It is a pleasant reward for all of your hard work and helps to keep the game on your homescreen for a little bit longer. I know it will be on mine for a good long while. It has joined the ranks of the few iOS titles I keep around for a good laugh and a bit of fun while I’m on the bus or waiting in line at the bank. If only the others knew how courageous I was saving all those princesses!

Knightmare Tower is a gem that reaches for the stars. It doesn't quite achieve perfection, but who cares when you’re surrounded by royalty.


Store Link: Knightmare Tower for iPhone & iPad | By Juicy Beast Studio | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 49.1 MB | Rating 9+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating