Review: Knightmare Tower

Review: Knightmare Tower

Lots of games have players climb a tower to take on the big baddie and/or rescue a princess. Having a tower of baddies is far from unique, sure. But what if – hear me out here – instead of walking your way up, you launched yourself up, bouncing off of enemies to reach the top in mere minutes?

Welcome to Knightmare Tower, a wild, frantic ride up a tower full of baddies to hack apart, and a geyser of lava chasing you the whole way up!

Title: Knightmare Tower
Developer: Juicy Beast
Platform: Steam
Game Version: Final
Review Copy: Purchased by reviewer
Interface: Keyboard
Available on Steam (Windows, Mac, Linux), iOS, Android, and OUYA

Break through ceilings, rescue princesses and escape boiling lava as you slash your way to the top of the Knightmare Tower!

I grew up with gaming on Atari and all that jazz, but there was a real change in gaming for me when Newgrounds came around. Being able to play a buttload of games with a click, vote on them to help others find them (or hide the terrible stuff), and comment right on them to critique games was a gamechanger. Then Kongregate came along, and I quickly found my favorite Flash game developer: Juicy Beast. Console gamers may know them for Toto Temple Deluxe, but I knew them for the Burrito Bison games and Knightmare TowerKnightmare Tower hit Kongregate in 2012 (where it can still be played for free), and I played the absolute heck out of it. Then in 2014 – just under 2 years later – it hit Steam. Nearly 5 years later I found it there, played the whole thing with a smile on my face, and figured hey, why not write a review?

Knightmare Tower is a humorous game where you fling your heroic knight up the tower with a rocket, then proceed to propel yourself off of various baddies to get as high as you can before you run out of health or the lava overtakes you. As you ascend you’ll collect gold, which can be used to upgrade all sorts of stats, before trying again and again and again.

The controls are simple: you’ll automatically move upward, so you only have to move right or left. To attack, you can either let the knight drop toward the bottom of the screen on his own or attack, which thrusts him down until either he hits an enemy or you miss and go off the screen. Going off the screen drastically drops your speed and returns you into place via rocket, but you gain speed when you kill enemies. You also have a limited amount of life, and taking damage from projectiles or colliding with spiky foes reduces it. If you slow down too much lava will overtake you, and if you run out of health you’ll die.

This sounds complicated, but it all basically boils down to carefully attacking as many enemies as you can so that you can propel yourself quickly up the tower. Everything happens fast, so you’ll be dodging, weaving, and attacking relentlessly. Attacking has a fun pogo feel since you bounce right back up after you hit something, but then missing can be pretty darn funny too when it happens repeatedly. To mix things up, there are loads of enemy types, power-ups, and bags of money to grab, and the more princesses you rescue the more things you’ll have to go after.

Knightmare Tower also has dozens of quests to complete. You can have up to three at any given time, challenging you to do things like collect a bunch of gold, kill a certain number of enemies, or reach a certain height within a certain amount of time. The quests get tougher and tougher, but just like in real life, if you have enough gold you can just buy your way out of them.

Finally, once you complete the game you’ll unlock survival mode. Here you’ll get a whole new list of quests, face off against tougher enemies, and ascend a new, endless tower. It’s a great place to challenge yourself, and it’s rather funny going back to the original tower after honing your skills there for a while.

The game is a blast to play, and there’s a serious “just one more try” vibe to it. Unfortunately, the game loses a lot of its replayability once all of the upgrades and quests are complete. It took me about 4.5 hours to knock all of that out, but those 4.5 hours were a lot of fun, and they were totally worth every cent. Now if only we can get the Burrito Bison games on PC or console…

Also, it’s worth mentioning that Knightmare Tower has an incredibly intuitive, brilliant mechanic: enemies that will take more than one hit to kill have a life bar under them, but enemies that take only one hit don’t. When an enemy with a life bar is down to one hit left, the color changes a bit. This makes it super clear, at a quick glance, whether an enemy will only take one hit or not to kill. This is incredibly important since tougher enemies require mashing the attack button to hit them repeatedly, and hitting the attack button even one too many times will slow your speed down.

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