Tower of Saviors is an interesting game that mixes match-3 gameplay with some RPG element. The game is very well designed to give both types of gameplay a balanced weight and make them equally as important. The match-3 gameplay offers an interesting twist and the RPG gameplay utilizes elemental attacks and summoning cards. Tower of Saviors has polished visual and full audio content. For a free game it has incredible depth and the level of accomplishment that you rarely see.
Tower of Saviors has two major gameplay portions. The match-3 portion is actually the battles through different worlds. The gameplay changes slightly from the traditional match-3, you can slide a tile to any position on the board to make a 3 or more chain, not just with neighboring tiles. The tiles in match-3 aren't random either. Each of them can earn attack points in certain elements once you make the chains, and provide the attack points to the summon cards above them to fight the monsters you encounter in the dungeon. The first 20-30 battles you fight in the dungeon are quite easy, as long as you upgrade your summon cards and level up your characters. But once you've reached later dungeons, you might encounter a monster who is too strong for you to take down no matter how well you play your match-3 games, then you'll need to head back to previous levels and replay the game to level up your characters.
For the RPG portion of the gameplay, Tower of Saviors utilizes summon card gameplay heavily. You won't do any dungeon crawling in the traditional RPG sense, but your knowledge of elements and building a character with certain elements and using those characters in battles against elemental enemies will come in handy. Each summon card (representing a character) has an element assigned to it, and the cards include humans, elves or just elements for leveling up and evolving other characters. Each character also has the usual RPG character points for health, attack, defense, etc., and as you level them up their stats will increase. As you travel through the towers, you'll earn higher level characters and you can use previous characters as elements to upgrade your new and stronger characters. Tower of Saviors also hosts special tournament an hour each day where you can earn special summon cards that have much stronger characters than the ones you usually discover in the game.
The touch screen control works very well. The unique match-3 gameplay means that as soon as you touch a tile to slide it to its destination the timer starts, so you don't want to move things too slowly. One nice thing though is that you have all the time in the world to plot your move with the current board, and if you get lucky, the new tiles falling in might create chain reaction and earn you more attack points. Be sure to pick your team members to represent as wide variety of elements as possible so that you don't waste any moves because you lack a character that supports the element of the tiles you match. This adds more to the traditional match-3 gameplay, and since the game teams you up with an online friend, choosing a partner that fills a hole that your team leaves out becomes essential and therefore the game ties the multiplayer element tightly with your game play. Very nice design on the gameplay!
Graphics & Sound
Tower of Saviors has colorful visuals and smooth animation. The summon cards and characters show creativity and they look sharp on the iPad with Retina Display. The game plays in portrait mode which suits the game design very well. The battle animation is on par with top match-3 games and the monster battle animation is cool to watch. The RPG portion of the gameplay shows more characters and the interface is reasonably well designed that you can navigate without getting lost. It also helps that the game comes with a guide that tells you about the battle system, the characters and more.
Tower of Saviors has in-game background music that reminds you the BGM from some popular RPGs like Dark Cloud with orchestra pieces in flute, piano and string. It's relaxing and stays in the background when you're going through your cards, building your teams and upgrading your characters. The battle music is different and it has more energy and urgency. The game has sound effects for match-3 battles and all activities outside the battles like drawing a new summon cards, etc. and they keep the audio presence. The audio package offers enough content that has good amount of polish.
Tower of Saviors offers an interesting gameplay that satisfies both match-3 player and summon card battle player's craving. The game has lots of depth in building characters and teams, and the sheer number of characters is incredible for a free game. The game includes a seamless integration of online multiplayer mode where it helps you find a partner for each game and helps you grow your friendlist quickly. Both the visual and audio add to the gameplay experience and the forced replay doesn't seem so bad because the game is very enjoyable to play.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4- Nothing graphically revolutionary but it looks sharp on the iPad and has a huge collection of cards. Sound: -4- Traditional RPG background music and battle music. Controls: -5- Touch control works smoothly, menu and other user interface are easy to understand. Gameplay: -4.5- Blending two game genres isn't easy but this game has the magic. Two types of gameplay work well together to add to the experience not subtract.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Be sure to level up and evolve your characters as soon as you earn enough points and enough cards.
-Make sure you build a team that's diverse, covering all elements or you'll waste the attack points the match-3 chains earn you.
-Pick your online partner wisely, get the ones that make up for your weakness and have higher attack points.