You may be familiar with falling-down roguelike games that have blocks or obstacles falling on your character and you have to survive as long as you can without getting hit. Well, Volcano Tower (Free) is one of those games in a platformer dressing. The game has a very Tiki type of theme with masks, angry-faced blocks and overall Pacific Islander-style aesthetics present. This makes the game stand out a bit from other offerings on mobile in terms of its looks. However, Volcano Tower doesn’t have much going on besides that. It is a game that does have that addictive quality the first half hour or so you play it, but gets very repetitive afterwards.
There are different quests you can take on in Volcano Tower and more become available as you overcome challenges, such as surviving for a certain amount of time or picking up three specific objects withing an outing. However, the overall level layout or aesthetics remain similar. That said, the trajectories change each play through, so you will be dealing with new obstacles and patterns every time you play. There are also different blocks falling down to deal with. Some are flaming, for instance, and this means even if you touch one in mid-jump and before it extinguishes, you die. This brings me to the next part.
After dying you have one chance to revive before having to start over. You do this by either watching an ad or paying for the revival with two hearts. You gain such hearts doing well during your playthroughs or you can buy them with real world currency via IAPs in the game’s shop. The shop is very robust in terms of what it offers and the type of content you can purchase. Besides hearts, you can also purchase bulks of gold, which are the other important currency in the game. Gold can be picked up during playthroughs and it is the main currency used for other purchase options in the shop. You can purchase various characters, perks such as longer jumps, and blessings like extra shield times, all from the shop with gold. There are a lot of tinkering or customization options if you are willing to monetize your experience with the game.
The controls are barely adequate as they really could be improved upon, particularly when compared to some other platformers available on the App Store. There is a left and right directional arrow present where both connect to one another with no space in-between. They are also quite small and it is easy to hit the wrong one, thus sending your masked character in the wrong direction. There is also a single jump button on the right side of the display, which works well enough. The left-right arrows are not in a very comfortable position and are not just small in terms of their icons, but horizontally placed on one plane.
The game’s challenge is basically surviving the falling blocks and boulders as long as possible with a timer tracking you. There are also quests available for those who want to add some variety to the formula. These quests feel like just added perks to go along with the main survival type of gameplay. The weird thing about the way quests function is that some quests are not available after completing preceding quests within playthroughs. Instead, they are available after a timer falls to zero. There is also a leaderboard you can access from the main menu (represented by a crown) that shows player rankings across the world in terms of how long they survived. It is a nice way to bring the community together without direct online multiplayer.
Overall, Volcano Tower is an interesting diversion from the standard platformer and many runner or roguelike games, mixing a few genres together. However, it is very repetitive and a bit obtrusive with the ads. You will be watching one after dying to continue unless you gain enough stars or want to make IAPs. You still can get a lot of gameplay without making purchases, but really only the hardcore fans will. The game gets quite dull and repetitive after a half dozen or so playthroughs. It still might be worth checking out if you need a quick platforming fix with a Tiki vibe thrown in.