I've got to hand it to Butterscotch Shenanigans, there aren't that many iOS games that can pique my interest on premise alone. However, TowelFight 2: The Monocle of Destiny [$0.99] certainly does, and is a pretty crazy title in most regards. More importantly, TowelFight is an enjoyable game, with only some control issues keeping back an otherwise unique take on the old-school action-adventure genre.

TowelFight follows the story of Hardik, an ordinary monocle-wearing guy that gets sucked into an alternate dimension where infighting amongst gods is causing chaos. Armed with his newly enchanted monocle, Hardik gains the ability to shoot animals from his eye and is charged with a quest to take down opposing gods and save the world. While the story sounds entirely absurd, I thought TowelFight did a great job not only with its overall narrative but also with its dialogue, which is often tongue-in-cheek and filled with a lot of amusing colloquialisms.

From a broad standpoint, TowelFight plays similarly to the original Legend of Zelda. Combat and exploration take place in single-screen environments connected by doors and tracked with a grid-like overworld map. Enemies also drop coins, which can be used to purchase a variety of weapons and items. Health is also measured in hearts, with Hardik losing a percentage of coins and returning to home base if he dies.

While there are plenty of supplemental screens to explore and enemies to take out, the main quest surrounds taking out various bosses, which require boss keys before you can access their screen. Thus, you'll spend most of your time slowly working your way across the map to a boss key, then on to the corresponding boss, which in turn opens the next boss battle and the cycle repeats.

Any vague comparisons to Zelda ends with the above description, however. Explored screens remain enemy-less after they are defeated. A warp system allows Hardik to travel across the map with relative ease. In addition, the game's ridiculous and hilarious story and theme are the polar opposites of what you might find in a 'serious' adventure. Of course, considering how much I enjoy TowelFight's narrative, I welcome the zaniness with open arms. This theme continues with the visuals, which are reminiscent of an old-school style but are supplemented with an intense amount of on-screen special effects. At times, the effects were a little too much, as it can be difficulty to track enemies and projectiles coming at Hardik.

And then there're the weapons, which are the stars of TowelFight. Hardik can eventually pick up 40 different animal projectiles (or as the game calls them, 'Jectiles) that can be used in his monocle. The different animals aren't just for show either, as they cover a pretty wide variety of attack ranges, style, and effects. For example, the Mantis will surround you in a shield-like formation (attacking those that come into contact) while the whale is a very slow 'Jectile that deals heavy damage to anything caught in its explosion. In addition, each animal has two augments that can be found (or bought) which expand on the weapon capabilities of that animal.

I absolutely love TowelFight's animal system and I think it goes a long way towards improving replaybility via collection and strategy. Completionists will want to spend time catching all the various animals while battle strategists will want to check each out in order to create the best monocle combinations to suit their playstyle. While most animals and augments can be bought or found on the overworld, I also appreciate the fact that the strongest (or at least, the most interesting) animals and their augments are hidden away in randomized dungeons that must be explored in order to find and use them. I didn't even get to mention relics, which afford Hardik special powers that can be activated after charging a power bar.

There's a lot to love with TowelFight, but one aspect that I really don't like are its controls. Employing a dual-stick shooter control scheme, TowelFight's sticks are fixed and are center-aligned on both sides of the play area. The current location makes it very easy for your thumbs to lose their bearings on the neutral sports of the sticks, forcing you to divert valuable attention to realign. Considering how hectic TowelFight can get, this can lead to some rather frustrating experiences with Hardik unnecessarily losing hearts and even dying simply due to control issues.

A big update with new control options is in the works, so things are likely to improve in the future, but it's a shame about TowelFight's controls in their current state because otherwise it's an incredibly enjoyable game. With a decent amount of story content, tons of weapons and customization and a hilarious story to boot, folks looking for an action-adventure game that doesn't take itself seriously really need to check out TowelFight. If you're still on the fence, I highly suggest checking out our recent TA Plays on it.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • http://www.facebook.com/JosueF Josue Feliciano

    FYI - The patch that addresses the controls is already out on Android, and it makes the game infinitely more playable. If controls are giving you pause in buying the game, worry no more.

    • NuEssex

      Yep. The new update makes the controls more responsive. Not MiniGore 2 responsive, but much better than before. Also, enemies now respawn randomly, which adds a little spice to the exploration.

  • mrTofu

    I have to say, great game. Agree with the controls. Will be even better once there is an update.

  • shadax

    I made a video review as well, not sure if I can link it here or not.

    Ultimately I felt the game is just way too easy. Money and power ups are so abundant that I just run through and destroy everything. I occasionally die, but the game just doesn't give me any reason to care. I really had no strategy outside of strafe and fire, so the incentive to keep going, to explore, or to even play really dwindled for me.

    On the plus side, it is a fun game to an extent. The music is cool, there's a lot going on for the most part, the narrative is humorous (albeit slightly topical) and the developers definitely made an effort (and continue to make an effort) towards an entertaining game without being lazy or attempting a cash grab. Unfortunately, my criteria has to extend beyond that in a sea of mediocrity that is current iOS gaming.

    I will continue playing the game to watch the improvements and additions as the game matures.

    Anyway. I have a 30 minute video of my first play if anyone is interested.

    • NuEssex

      To preserve replayability, I chose not to buy any of the Jectiles in the shop. Finding Jectiles randomly adds so much to the replay value.

  • http://twitter.com/BeRad_Ent Be-Rad

    This is one of the most polished games to have come out in a while. The dialogue is hilarious and the amount of content & upgrades makes for a fantastic experience. It really gets better the more you play, and it didn't take too long to get used to the controls.

  • Karzay

    Great game! I'm looking forward to the controls fix too.

  • MUTILATOR

    Awful unfunny game, when you attack guys CRAZY ZANY WORDS pop out of them. The projectiles you shoot make stuff fly all over the screen which will obscure enemy projectiles, making it just a huge mess to tell what is even going on. And it uses a virtual game pad, and like every other virtual game pad, moving is difficult which is especially frustrating in this type of game where avoiding enemies is important.

    Oh and the graphics suck too

    Piece of garbage, do not buy.

    • drloony

      Wrong

    • NuEssex

      Well that's like, your opinion man.

    • Greyskull

      You are way to uptight. #YOLO says my exploding tweet bird.

    • themostunclean

      Profile name (in all caps mind you) says it all. "I'm a moron who just wants attention so I'll crap all over a game others seem to like". Attitude of a 5 year old.

      • themostunclean

        Shit. Just realized I gave him that attention he was craving. Bad Me!!!

  • subshell001

    The update for the controls was submitted earlier this week

Towelfight 2: The Monocle of Destiny Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 4