Tobold's Blog
Monday, May 06, 2013
Tower of Saviors

Hong Kong mobile applications developer Mad Head Limited sent me an e-mail asking me to review their iOS game Tower of Saviors. I get lots of demands like that and don't always comply, but at least I always have a look at the game in question. In this case Tower of Saviors turned out to be available for free in the iOS App Store, and thus wasn't much of a hassle to get and try out. And even if the YouTube trailer was full of strange Asian English, the game looked interesting enough.

Basically Tower of Saviors can be described as match-3 combined with Pokemon. The match-3 variant is interesting, because for each move you can move one tile wherever you want on the board, following a complicated path if you wish to do so, instead of just swapping it with its neighbor. So you do a whole series of swaps on that path, which enables you to pull of a lot of combos. So even with just 5 colors of tiles and no extras except tiles of the same color with slightly stronger effect and healing tiles, the match-3 game is one of the more interesting available.

Every time you match 3 or more tiles, you power up all the monsters you have in your group of 5 (+1 friend) of the same color. Thus if you have an group with one monster each of each color, each match does something. If you put more monsters of one color, you end up not having another color available and lose all the effect of those matches, but of course you get a stronger effect from the color you concentrated on.

In each fight you can earn cards and coins. Cards can be used as monsters in your army, or you can feed the cards to your monsters to level them up. Then you need specific other cards to "evolve" your monsters past various level caps. The coins pay for the level-up and evolving.

The whole thing is pretty addictive, but comes with a big caveat: You only have a limited amount of stamina, which rises with level, and each fight costs stamina. When you run out, you either need to wait hours for it to fill up again, or pay $1 for full stamina. You can also pay $5 for a rare card, or $1 to get back to full life in a fight you lost. As you can see, there is a lot of opportunity to give money to Mad Head as in app purchase, and most of it smells like Pay2Win.

If you are somebody who has the willpower to withstand such blatant grabs for your money, Tower of Saviors is fun enough as a match-3 and monster-raising game. I was able to play quite well and haven't spend a cent yet (you get some real-money currency for free). Just be aware of the trap.

I am really sick tired of "pay per your time" games. Sometimes I have 20 minutes to play, sometimes 5, sometimes an hour. Let me play as much as I like.

I obviously understand the micro-milking-transactions model, as it's something very popular these days.

But in all honesty, if the game is worth the money I'd rather spend like 10-15-20 bucks and get it -full* without micro-s|-|its.
Also, we really need a new commenting system boss... this one is a pain in the back. When you can, of course.
Not a question of "when" but of "if" I can. This commenting system is what comes pre-installed. For anything else I would need to know how to program a website, and I don't know much more than the most basic HTML.
I have always hated match 3 type of games, because they have taken something that SHOULD be a strategy element, and imposed a short time requirement. You are always better off clicking like crazy, rather than really thinking through any kind of long term strategy.
What's wrong with the comment system - I find it reasonably convenient as comment systems go.

As for Match 3, it depends on the game. Some of them do require you to stop and think rather than race. For example if you have to make matches on certain squares, and some are in tricky corners.

There's rarely a *huge* amount of thinking, I agree - I don't think people would enjoy one in which you had to think it out like a chess move.

Try World Adventure or Gold Fever from GameHouse - they involve a bit of thought.

Oh great. Match 3 games with levelling and experience are a special brand of crack to me. So... yeah. Any excuse to look at my phone now.
Adding DISQUS on a Blogger blog is extremely easy:

It really doesn't take any skill to do that :)
Tower of Saviors is a clone of Puzzle and Dragons which I've been playing for about 6 months, but is only available on the Japan and US iTunes stores (not sure about Android).

Calling it "match 3" is really a misnomer, because you need to match as many combos as possible. Tobold's gameplay description is pretty accurate.
"Match-3" is a name used for the whole genre, but in general matching more than 3 is always possible, and usually gives some sort of bonus. In Tower of Saviors you get an attack on all enemies plus a stronger tile if you match 5 or more tiles.
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