Make your way through hours of towers and strategy that can end in tragedy in the Mystic Towers. Although this isn't an instantly appealing video game, you can easily become addicted to its pseudo simplistic nature.
It's not very easy to accomplish all the goals in each tower. Specific rooms will have a sign on them (looks like a fish) that indicates a mystery needs to be solved. The mystery usually involves walking through a wall in the room to get to a new area. These signs also apply to rooms with a poison square (skull and crossbones) and various other warnings.
Mystic Towers is much like trying to make your way through the rooms in a dollhouse. You can not only travel from room to room horizontally but also climb ladders and use transporters to travel to new floors. Each tower is practically the spitting image of the last but the creatures, puzzles and room orientation are very different.
The interface is very user friendly and easy to understand. The number of enemies left to defeat appears next to your remaining life count at the top of the screen, thus, making the time remaining to complete your objective quite clear. Also, there is a handy tower image that shows all the floors, including the one you are currently on. If the floor is red, it means there are still monsters you must dispose of; if white, your work is done.
The monster generator is always on the third floor, so you always know where to go for the primary objective. Although the mouse offers easier control in some games, the keyboard is the controller of choice in Mystic Towers. Pressing the spacebar cycles through your spells and it's very intuitive to use the control and tab keys for firing or jumping.
The game is very slow paced so it's not difficult to move your hand to the backspace key to pull an object or lever. The mouse can also be used for these commands but you always have to look at the icons to figure out which ones to push. By using the keyboard, you can play without thinking about the controls.
The monsters in the game are very interesting. Enemies within a specific tower tend to be similar but as soon as you enter a new one, they change drastically. For example, the first tower includes normal beetles and an umbrella hat creature. When you get to the fourth tower, you'll encounter a mean little leprechaun and other enemies that simply defy explanation (e.g., a dog with legs that attach to a board that rotates). A depiction of the monster nearest to your character can be seen at the top of the screen along with its health bar.
Each room always has items in it like spells, health, money (can be used in slots to buy spells), treasure (only counts for points), food and water. You always have to keep your food and water levels high or else your health diminishes. Water is found in fountains that appear sporadically and food comes in many forms such as chicken or turkey drumsticks and apples. Some rooms have invisible stairs, doors in high areas, levers that serve different purposes, poison squares and mushrooms. The items may be similar throughout the game but there are a plethora of them.
It requires quite a bit of patience to complete a single tower since each one has many different rooms. In addition, the overall look and feel of the game gets monotonous. Even though each tower is different than the last, they all share the same graphical characteristics (colors, floors, tiles, items and so forth). Some rooms require certain items in order to get past them such as keys that fit a specific lock.
You have to travel to every room in the tower several times in order to finish off all the monsters and open the exit. Spells such as fireballs, lightning bolts and poison clouds are more effective at destroying enemies then spells available at the beginning of the game. You have to aim carefully because of a limited number of good spells.
Each tower takes 20-40 minutes to complete (if you're quick) and there are twelve in total (six each for apprentice and wizard). The apprentice towers explain different aspects of the game as you step on a question mark by the object in question. This is basically a good feature but it's included in every apprentice tower, thus you'll be reading the same help information every time. An option to turn the feature off would have been appreciated.
Overall, Mystic Towers is more complex than it appears. The game gives you a lot of bang for your buck as it takes several hours just to complete the apprentice towers alone. The scenery and objectives get stale after a while but since the enemies and puzzles are different, it's not a big deal.
Mystic Towers is a moderately difficult game with many intricacies. Puzzle lovers certainly won't regret the purchase.
Graphics: The color scheme of each tower only slightly varies but the game has some great ideas for monsters. Strange beetles, bugs and other oddities hinder your path.
Sound: The sound is simply made up of some blips and bleeps. Nothing notable is found in this department.
Enjoyment: When you begin, it seems as if Mystic Towers is a simple puzzle game. However, as you advance through the rooms, you feel compelled to find all the items. Since the monsters are varied, it's always fun to see what the next tower brings.
Replay Value: At the end of each completed tower, you receive a performance rating. This is based on a number of factors (time, treasures found, mysteries solved and points gathered). So, even if you beat the game, some mysteries and items are left for you to uncover the next time. Other than this, there aren't any other modes or interesting aspects that will hold your attention a second time around.
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