Led by the co-founder of Ubisoft Montreal and EA Montreal, Alain Tascan's team at Sava Transmedia presents one of the first adventure-runner games to ever grace the iOS format, Treasure Tower Sprint. For those willing to shell out $0.99, you play as a young prince who ascends towers in search of gold and, ultimately, the magical lamp of a Djinn so he can wish for even more riches. Players must must avoid monstrous guardians in order to collect every gold piece that each tower has to offer in a manner similar to Pac-Man. Is this game a wish come true? Or should we simply skip the coins and wish for freedom?

The gameplay of Treasure Tower Sprint itself is essentially easy: players must use the touch screen to navigate the prince throughout the entire level and collect every possible coin. The level will not end until your character has died or collected the last coin. On each floor are enemies that will attack you if you get too close. At first, these enemies will patrol predictable, preordained paths and can easily be avoided. But as you start clearing the game's 70 mazes, you will find a varying degree of enemies to avoid: there will be Beamos-like rotating mini-turrets that will instantly shoot you if you are in their line-of-sight, enemies that are unpredictable in their patrols, enemies that will chase you regardless of where you go and even peacocks that you must catch for extra gold. That's right, for bonus loot, you collect peacocks with zero rationale as to why they are valued or important as opposed to something else of value. The game's bonus levels of peacock-chasing remind me of Rocky Balboa chasing a chicken in an alleyway.

In order to guide the prince through each maze, you must hold your finger on the touch screen and he will run in accordance to where your finger is making contact. If you make contact with an enemy, your character will automatically fight back as each of you fight and drain each others' health bars. This is not recommended since the average enemy will significantly go through your health by the time you defeat one monster. You will find yourself dying regularly if you play Treasure Tower Sprint with a search and destroy methodology. While Sava sporadically left health potions around the first dozen or so levels, players are encouraged to specifically avoid enemy contact as health replenishment dwindle in the higher, bigger and more elaborately-difficult levels.

The graphics and animation of the game are exceptionally clean, but whether it is paying homage to their previous works or keeping up with the story, Tascan and his team made the prince of Treasure Tower Sprint look very much like a mixture Aladdin and the protagonists from the 2003 and 2008 Prince of Persia titles. I feel that this seen-before look, along with the small dagger the prince carries, is a bit too much of a coincidence. Were the developers uninspired? Or were they simply trying to pay homage to some of Tascan's best work? The answer to this comes in the form of the Djinn/Genie.

While the Djinn only shows up on the upgrade screen and when you ascend to the top of one of the towers, his character design is blatantly taken from the Genie of Aladdin with simply a change in color;  from the earring, goatee and yellow bracers, this is the Al's best friend with a purple paintjob. The uninspired design of both the genie and prince reflects the simplicity of Treasure Tower Sprint's gameplay and the cliché of its tagline.

In terms of upgrades and power ups, players can spend their accumulation of coins on four kinds of upgrades for the prince: attack, armor, health, or lockpicking speed. Besides the health potions in the maze levels, there are time-stopping hourglasses that freeze enemies in their tracks for a few seconds and also magnets which pull coins and/or enemies towards you. 

Unfortunately, there is not much lasting appeal in this game. Treasure Tower Sprint's lack of difficulty and its poor choice of character design makes this game feel like Sava was simply flexing its muscles in terms of making a good-looking iOS game without much attention to substance or lasting gameplay. You just avoid things and grab coins. From a team consisting of previous members of Ubisoft Montreal and were partly responsible for the Prince of Persia titles, I expected a bit more, even for the iOS format. This game would have most likely scored lower if it were not for the quality of its graphics and animation.

Personally, I feel that the dollar that you would spend in buying this maze-adventure game could easily be saved up and used for a much better iOS title. Given there are microtransactions in this game in the form of in-app purchases for coins used for upgrading your character, they are relatively unnecessary due to the progression of the game. Since you are forced to collect coins in order to keep going, you don't have to worry about spending real-life money to buy coins. Nevertheless, if you absolutely loved Aladdin and would like some form of a modern game that follows in a Cave of Wonders-esque adventure, then Treasure Tower Sprint is an inexpensive choice that would occupy time. Otherwise, I'd rather just keep the dollar and not chase peacocks.

App Store Link: Treasure Tower Sprint for iPhone and iPad | By Sava Transmedia Inc. | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0.2 | 48.4 MB | Rating 9+

6.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating