Warlock’s Tower review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Midipixel
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

As popular as retro-looking games are, it’s rare for a game to capture both the aesthetics and the gameplay of games from decades ago. That’s why I’m pleased to report that Warlock’s Tower nails both perfectly.

Visually, of course, this is obvious. The graphics aren’t just somewhere in that nebulous space between 8- and 16-bit, everything seems to be two-toned, and nothing is particularly intricate-looking. If someone were to show me footage from the game and tell me that it belonged to some lost Game Boy game, I would have no trouble believing that.

But the other stuff feels like it comes from a Game Boy title, too. The gameplay is basic enough that it’s easy to pick up, but it gets very difficult very quickly. Warlock’s Tower is a dungeon-crawler of sorts, where you have to move your character — a delivery boy trying to deliver a letter to the eponymous warlock — across a grid, avoiding enemies and traps while reaching the door within a set number of moves. It doesn’t take long for the formula to show just how complex it can be, and if you can solve it all without resorting to any kind of aids or walkthroughs…well, you’re definitely better at these sorts of things than I am.

What really feels like a throwback, though, are the details. The story, for starters, feels like an uncomplicated throwback to earlier days of gaming, as does the teenage boy protagonist. Likewise, the sense of humour — sarcastic and knowing — has a very ‘90s feel to it. These may not sound like much to differentiate Warlock’s Tower, but in practice, you really notice the difference.

Do any of these things make Warlock’s Tower essential? Probably not. But if you want a retro-inspired game that actually looks, feels, and plays like something from a few decades ago — and that is pretty enjoyable while it lasts as a bonus — you could do a lot worse than picking this one up.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Warlock’s Tower PS4/Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B