Early last month, dual-stick dungeon crawler Solomon's Keep was released onto the App Store. Successfully blending aspects from many similar games before it, it proved to be a surprisingly fun experience that we enjoyed in our review. As impressive as that initial release was, rather than resting on their laurels developer Raptisoft has been hard at work collecting user feedback regarding new ideas, gameplay tweaks, and bug-fixes to further improve their game. The latest culmination of this is the recently released version 2.0 update, which irons out the kinks that plagued the first version and adds a considerable amount of new content to play with.
One of the most significant improvements in 2.0 is the ability to weld offensive skills together. Combining 2 of the 3 primary attacks (Magic Missile, Lightning, or Fireball) creates an attack that carries attributes of both. As just one example, Lightning welded with Fireball creates an auto-targeting stream of fire called Flame Lash that's capable of exploding and arcing to multiple enemies at once. The characteristics of the welded attack you create depend on how extensively each individual skill has been upgraded at the time you combine them. The welding mechanic works extremely well and adds a whole new layer of strategy and customization to developing your character, as well as providing satisfying firepower.
Another welcome change is an extension to the game's length. There are now 13 dungeon floors versus 10, with an added boss fight on floor 11. After beating all 13 levels, you're given the ability to play through the dungeon over again on a harder difficulty while retaining all your previous skills and gear. This second run through the game is called Wizard mode, and once that has been completed a third even harder Archmage mode is waiting. There's also a new wizard in town that offers you specific meta-quests, called Feats, such as beating the game without using any potions or items. Acting similarly to achievements, these Feats provide even more interesting ways to play through Solomon's Keep.
In addition to these major enhancements, there's a multitude of bugs and glitches that have been taken care of, which was a point of contention in our initial review. Many other tweaks have been implemented to balance out the gameplay, as well as a few brand new items and secondary skills. Facebook connectivity also enters the fray so you can boast about your achievements (and failures) to your social networking cohorts. It's now a much more stable experience throughout, and taking into consideration all the new additions it feels like a much more complete game. With random level and item generation, and countless possibilities for character leveling, the replay value here is near infinite.
What started as a somewhat brief, quirky game now contains enough compelling content and polish to compete with other heavy-hitting dungeon crawlers on the App Store. And it doesn't seem likely to stop here, as development is already under way on ideas for future updates and DLC. These include an endless graveyard mode to test how far you can take your leveled-up character, and possible new classes such as Archer, Rogue, and Warlord each with unique skill trees and stories. With such an incredibly solid foundation in place, the prospect of additional content like this is really exciting. The price has risen to $1.99 with the 2.0 update and lite version being available, but it's still a great bargain for the amount of entertainment it contains. If you've not checked out Solomon's Keep yet, it's strongly recommended to at least give the lite a try, and to not miss out on this extraordinary title.