It's a pretty nice week for early releases with both Final Fantasy IX [$20.99] and Ys Chronicles 2 [$4.99] out in the wild and likely sucking up a large portion of everybody's time. However, if you're feeling overwhelmed with these big ol' RPGs and looking to cleanse your palate with something a bit more breezy, another really awesome new game just dropped ahead of the normal weekly releases. It's Happymagenta's Tomb of the Mask [Free], and the best way I could possibly describe it is it's as if Pac-Man [$4.99 / Free], Downwell [$2.99], and The Last Rocket [$1.99] all had a three-way lovechild (which is totally possible, haven't you seen The Brothers Solomon?).

The level structure is very much like Downwell, except instead of racing down you're constantly racing upwards and away from a rising wave of colorful death. When you reach the end of one area you move on to the next very similarly to Downwell. The control scheme is very much like The Last Rocket, as swiping in any of the cardinal directions will fling your character that way, but there's no stopping or changing directions in the middle of your movement. So you'll need to strategically decide when and where to leap to so that you'll be able to continue on up through the level. Finally, it's like Pac-Man because your character is traveling through very maze-like levels and collecting dots along the way. Could this be the #puppymonkeybaby of iOS?

I haven't had a chance to dig too deeply into Tomb of the Mask just yet, but in the short amount of time I've fiddled around with it it's proven to be incredibly fun. The level layouts are random with each new run, and as you play you'll earn experience and level up (just like Downwell!) which unlocks additional special ability masks for your character. The swiping feels super natural and the game moves at a brisk pace but doesn't feel so fast that it makes me panic, though I've definitely already gotten myself through some extremely close calls that had my heart racing. Tomb of the Mask is free to play, but it's pretty tame. There's a single in-game currency which you can buy in IAP packs or earn through opt-in ads, and this goes towards buying power-ups. You can also buy a revive with coins or watching an ad. There's also pop-up ads that can be disabled with a one-time 99¢ IAP.

Overall I'm very impressed with how much I'm enjoying Tomb of the Mask, especially in light of so many high-profile games releasing recently. The players in our forums are digging it too, so if you need an arcadey break from all your RPG'ing, I'd recommend giving it a shot.

  • Sebastian Gomez

    I haven't even finished FFVI, when will I finish FFVII and FFIX? D:

    I'm such a collector who doesn't play his games... u.u

    Well... ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • dingdongfootball


    • xxAcesHighxx

      Same here, chaps! I just gotta buy em day one, but I never have time to play em! Oh well, at least they're there for a rainy day ;0)

      • OrangutanKungfu

        Join the club. Except I haven't even started FFVI yet... It's next on the list, once I've wrapped up Crashlands. Or FF Tactics...

    • drunk_vader

      Sums it up nicely.

      • Sebastian Gomez

        I love those icons on my device's screen.

  • stelluhreyesthis

    Oh snap Jared, this game is awesome. Thanks for the heads up. It literally feels like exactly a mashup of those games.

    • Mark DeNardo

      This game looks a lot like Forget-Me-Not by nyarlu. Spot on call with the Last Rocket mechanic. Tomb of the Mask is p great!!!

      • Retrodigio

        Ah Forget-Me-Not. Best iOS game ever period!

      • xxAcesHighxx

        Was thinking the exact same thing!

  • XperimentalZ Games

    Very cool

  • hauer

    wow, such zx-spektrum, deep retro feelings - I like it just from looking at the screenshots. Instadownload.

  • hauer

    Played the game a bit more, it could be a masterpiece, but unfortunately the experience is partially ruined by this Crossy Road-esque free to play model, the main issue is that starting from the beginning every time feels very tedious very soon, although levels are procedurally generated, the difficulty curve and content starts from the beginning - this fact totally ruins the feel of progression, which is one of the biggest drivers in games. I would rather buy a premium game with this feature or you guys can add a reasonably priced IAP which allows you to continue, where you left off. Some games just don't work well with f2p design patterns.

    • Shkrbby

      Yup the fast difficulty ruins it for me. Would rather it be a premium paid product with save points.

      • hauer

        yeah, the game should have been a level based progression game, where you have this gotcha experience - yesss, I finally beat this level

    • Stormourner of the Nature

      you can simply ask the developers for a premium version

  • Deckard74

    Well I can't stop playing this so that's a great sign! I have to respectfully disagree with some of the above comments, there is a sense of progression as the FTP model is very fair with achieving upgrades and masks. Also doesn't Downwell start you at the beginning every time, what's the difference? I love the gameplay in this, fast and frantic and you can get some great runs in with the intuitive control, it's fun and free, give the devs a break!

    • hauer

      I don't have anything against F2P, on the contrary I think that F2P is the only way to go for mobile games, if you want to achieve a financial success. And I really enjoy this game - it should be F2P, but not with this shallow Crossy Road f2p model. If this game would be with the level based progression, it would perform way better and would be way more fun and interesting, nothing can compare wit the hand crafted level mixed with some randomness, I would say randomness to design ratio should be 50/50. It's basically what King did to bejeweled, creating Candy Crush saga, they just added level based progression and some small twists.

      I would also make this game turn based and more puzzly, currently it's all about fast thinking, which is fun, but with turn based approach the game will get more accessible.

  • hauer

    Double tap to activate shield is not a good idea, usually while playing you don't have time to think about double taps, which makes shield pretty much useless. It should be pre-equipped and activated automatically.