Tower of Fortune 3 ($2.99) by Game Stew is a retro style roguelike RPG where luck plays a large role in everything. It is also the third installment of the Tower of Fortune series, so if you like slots and RPGs, then this could be worth a look.
When it comes to real life, I’m not much of a gambler — I think my money can be better spent without the risk of losing everything. However, when it comes to games, I enjoy slots quite a bit (got it from my mother), as you never know what you’re going to end up with. And when you combine that with my love of roguelikes and RPG games, well, it’s hard to resist something like the Tower of Fortune games. Plus, as other games have shown (such as Dice Mage), sometimes adding the element of chance just makes everything more exciting. So how does the third Tower of Fortune game hold up?
If you’ve played the previous two games, you will know that Game Stew loved to go with the old-school, Gameboy style graphics, complete with the grayscale screen coloring. In Tower of Fortune 3, however, Game Stew decided to go with color, so while it still retains the 16-bit charm, it loses a bit of what made the first two games so great. Still, as a fan of vintage games, I enjoy what Game Stew has brought to the table with the graphics in Tower of Fortune 3. The colors are bright and vibrant, so that your character and enemies contrast nicely with the dark backgrounds. Everything is highly detailed, despite the classic pixelated aesthetic, and animations are smooth and fluid. The ambient soundtrack is rather tranquil and calming, and sound effects add a nice finishing touch to the package.
Each run you do in Tower of Fortune 3 will start from the beginning of the tower, at the tavern. A stone in your inventory will teleport you to the tavern when you need to rest and heal, so make sure to hold on to it. All actions that you can take are available in the bottom half of the screen: Map, Magnifier, Campfire, Backpack, and Clockwork. The Map is how you navigate in the game — view the map and then select an adjacent room to move to on your journey, but be careful, as you never know what awaits you on the other side. The Magnifier allows you to explore areas or interact with NPCs that are around you. The Campfire gives you a chance to restore your HP, or you may also get ambushed by a scum family. The Backpack lets you view your equipment and items, allowing you to equip, check, or use whatever is in your inventory (limited space). Finally, the Clockwork button lets you spend 20 gold to pass the time by one hour.
As you make your way through the tower, trying to find your way home, you’ll encounter many things in the rooms you’ll come across. These can range from foes who want you dead, potentially harmless encounters with other characters, treasure chests with valuable items inside, and more. Regardless, there will be multiple options available whenever you encounter something, and the choice you make determines the outcome.
Most choices you make will lead to the slot machine that plays an integral role in the game. The slots are used to determine what loot you get from chests, the amount of gold you can earn, and what actions to take in battle. During fights, the slot machine will consist of everything that you have equipped on your character, so make sure you equip what you want to use. Spin the slots by tapping the button, and then tap it again to manually stop it, and hope it lands on the items you want. Be warned though — this time, Game Stew has decided to add skulls to the slots, and these will give the enemy another opportunity to attack you, in addition to their own turn. This makes the game a bit unforgiving, and you will die — a lot. In fact, this makes the game a bit more frustrating than the previous two installments, as it just seems way too difficult at times, especially in the beginning. Plus, each time you die, you’ll start over at the beginning and without all of the items that you previously acquired. I’m a fan of roguelikes, don’t get me wrong, but giving the enemy so many opportunities to attack you and deal damage is a bit unbalanced, to say the least.
In the end, while I love the graphics and music of Tower of Fortune 3, I’m not getting as much enjoyment out of the game as much as the other two installments. It’s just unbalanced at the moment, so I hope to see some balance improvements made to the game in future updates. It’s also rather disappointing that while the game is already priced at $2.99, there are in-app purchases for gold, so it just feels like a cash grab. You start out with a few hundred gold in the beginning of the game, but while you spend it on items at the start and then die, you lose it all and the gold you spent was wasted, since you don’t get it back. I was not happy about this, to say the least.
I would personally hold off on Tower of Fortune 3 until the developers make some fixes to the difficulty in the beginning of the game. But if you’re looking for a real challenge and are up to the task, then by all means, go for it.