Knightmare Tower Review

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Knightmare Tower

PC

Juicy Beast Studio
Back in the late 1960’s, Tammy Wynette sang the words, “Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman,” in her hit song ‘Stand By Your Man’. Tammy was right, sometimes it is hard.

Sometimes it’s downright impossible.

You’re minding your own business, being a special and delicate princess, when some bizarre floating head thing kidnaps you and slings you into their enormous tower of doom and monsters. WTF are you supposed to do now? I mean, gone are the days where you can rely on a man to come and rescue you – it’s time to stand up and be an independent woman.

“Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh no no.”

If Beyonce and Jay-Z have taught you nothing else, establishing your independence comes from an almighty hip thrust and a sassy wiggle of the finger. Sadly, the floating head and his myriad of spiky denizens are immune to your womanly wiles. The only language they understand is a thrust to the face with an enormous chopper.

Luckily for you, a plucky hero with a big round head decides to come to your (and your similarly unfortunate sisters’) aid. Swinging a weapon about with wild abandon, this unnamed protagonist ascends the tower atop a throbbing rocket, then begins to leap from beast to beast bringing the powerful thrusting of doom to bear.

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Rising through the tower behind the hero is a hot, lusty lava flow, ever pushing upwards, yearning to cover all in a scalding ejaculation of death. Miss too many blows with the sword and our swashbuckler will be covered with the premature climax that signals another failure.

Failure is assured during those first rescue attempts, our fortune-hunter is woefully under equipped for this task in the beginning. Fortunately, enemies drop cash and other goodies which can be scooped up and spent in the between-game store. The shop sells various weapon, speed and armour upgrades as well as a variety of other boosts that will assist daredevil exploits.

With enough upgrades equipped and enough bonuses acquired from rescuing princesses lower down the tower, our brave adventurer will reach the summit of the stronghold and begin a battle against the diabolic floating head, who controls a hovering fortress filled with cannons, spike traps and assorted accoutrements of evil. Will peace return to the land once the enemy is vanquished and the princesses are rescued? Or are hero and princess alike fated to be stuck in the tower forever, covered in the ghastly emissions it produces?

Only you can make the difference.

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Knightmare Tower looks for all the world like a mobile game – and indeed there is a free version of the game available on line and a microtransaction enabled version for mobiles. The PC version costs £3, so is it worth this modest amount?
My answer is a completely unqualified ‘YES’, in capital letters no less, so you know I’m serious.

According to Steam I have about 5 hours clocked on this game. I haven’t quite beaten every quest, but Story Mode is beaten and I’ve just been ploughing through Survival for the last couple of hours. The first time I played the game, I played for a solid 90 minutes. Never looking around, not even pausing to take notes for this review. I was thoroughly engaged and entertained, guiding the little hero around the tower, crushing monsters, slaying bosses and busting ceilings in an attempt to rescue those princesses. Yes, it’s a very simple title, but the action is well pitched and it gives that just-one-more-go feeling that keeps you blasting back up the tower.

The game would not work at all were it not for the hugely satisfying central mechanic of thrusting down the screen towards enemies. Incredibly responsive and accurate, it allows for deft skills to rack up big scores (or distances travelled), and at the same time means that younger or inexperienced gamers can enjoy the simple gameplay. My 3 year-old got that hang of the game very quickly and concentrated on playing it for a around 10 minutes. This is a huge amount of investment from a tiddler.

I think it’s likely that I’ve come to the end of my time with Knightmare Tower now, but I have enjoyed the game very much during its run. What it lacks in longevity, it makes up for with instant appeal. As you can see from the screenshots, KT is bright and cheerful, with just enough variety and character to see you through 5 or so fun hours of gameplay.

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What else are you going to spend 3 quid on, exactly? Two fifths of a book? An evening of shoving chocolate into your miserable craw whilst you blub in the corner? A really nasty blowjob from a crack-addled man-whore round the back of Poundland? Bus fare to get you into town in order that you can steal some paint and then use it to paint Shakespearean insults on your own garage door, just to see the confused expressions on the faces of your neighbours as they pass?

I mean, come on dude. If you’re thinking those things, you probably could do with 5 hours of distraction. It gives us time to come round your house and remove all the sharp objects.

Karlos Morale

7/10

Knightmare Tower is out now on PC and Mobile

LYNE Review

LYNE Banner

LYNE
Android / iOS / PC
Dev: Thomas Bowker

Gulp. We’re about to enter a difficult and disturbing world; one where many people step tentatively, get burned and then scurry back to the safety of their free-to-play security blanket.

Yes.

The world of indie-developed paid-for mobile gaming.

You might be entirely comfortable with paying for random apps on your phone. Hell, maybe you’ve got money to throw around like so much wedding confetti, but I am always reticent to pay for games on my mobile devices. It’s pretty much thanks to Steam and Humble Bundle et al, who are constantly telling me I can have 2012’s blockbuster game I missed out on for £3.49. Kind of makes it difficult to justify spending a similar amount on some indie title that’s probably:

a) going to suck

b) only going to be played whilst I’m on the toilet

c) will probably control like ass and make me wish I’d just read the shampoo bottle instead

So when a game comes to my attention that doesn’t hit any of those categories it’s probably worth a second look, huh?

LYNE is one of those deceptively-simple-but-hard-as-balls games that cause great emotional tidal waves when playing. The slow, simmering creep of frustration followed by the joyful release of success – then back again. Your job is quite straightforward; simply join together shapes of the same colour using a line that you draw with your finger. The shapes are laid out on an easy to see grid and interspersed with octagonal intersections that need to be criss-crossed with lines a certain number of times to complete the level.

Sounds a lot more complicated than it is in practice.

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Successfully join all those squares and triangles together and you are rewarded with all the pieces turning white, disappearing and being replaced with another puzzle in the set.

LYNE’s puzzle sets contain 25 challenges in each and there are plenty of brain-teasers to keep you going – additionally there are daily challenges to puzzle through if you find yourself stuck on your current set.

The line drawing is satisfying and accurate but thankfully there is no punishment for drawing an incorrect line – you simply tap on the last shape you were happy with and start drawing again. The graphical assets are simplistic but wonderfully functional, you never become confused as all the lines and shapes are colour coded in clear, albeit soft, tones.

Those soft tones are replicated in the wonderful sound design of the game which provides a very placid backdrop to play the game against. It reminds me very much of the Hans Zimmer soundtrack to True Romance, which I’ve always considered to be beautiful. Apparently, the instrument used to play that song is called a Symphonic Marimba – I have no idea if it’s the same thing that made the in-game sounds but they certainly have the same ‘feel’.

Whether or not you’ll get much enjoyment from LYNE depends upon how much you enjoy puzzle games and how far you can cope with a little frustration when they get tough. What I can say without fear of subjectivity however is that LYNE definitely represents considered and well-crafted design in a video game. You feel when playing it that you are engaging with a polished piece of software that merits the small amount of money you paid to play it.

The final, and perhaps most overlooked pleasure that LYNE provides is something that is pointed out in some of the promotional material almost as a throwaway line – it reads:

Deceptively simple – connect the shapes – fill the board – lose yourself… in LYNE

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I think that concept of losing yourself is quite an interesting one. I think that LYNE must stimulate some very particular part of the brain whilst you play it and, whilst these are all geared towards solving the puzzle, the rest of my brain is slowly ticking away at other things. I can’t claim any great revelatory notions have come as result of playing the game but it certainly leaves me feeling rested if I don’t allow myself to get too bogged down with trying to beat a level that’s giving me trouble.

Like a lot of problems in life, give it a bit of time and bit of space the solution tends to present itself without too much fuss in the end.

Karlos Morale

8/10

LYNE is available now in most good app stores for £1.60

www.lynegame.com/