Part slot machine, part RPG-lite, Tower of Fortune 2 builds intelligently upon the original's amusing conceit.

It's a sequel that's rich in ideas, humour, and character, but as with its predecessor, the very element that makes it unique ends up is ultimately its downfall.

Down, down, deeper and down

It turns out 'tower' is something of a misnomer, as your nameless dungeoneer is asked to explore what looks more like a colossal stalactite, steadily descending towards the mystical power source at its core.

Each of his actions is governed by three spinning reels. You tap once to set them off, and again to stop them, the result determining whether you'll face an enemy, take damage from a trap, gather resources, or make a camp to restore HP.

Once you've completed a given number of actions and faced off against the final foe of that particular stratum, you can move onto the next.

Reel 'em in

What makes Tower of Fortune 2 so engaging in the early stages is how the reels adjust to a given situation. In battle, for example, you can stun an enemy with magic, whack them with your sword, increase your rage meter, or take damage.

If the first reel shows a skull, that means you're about to be hit, so you can either take the blow or spend 50 coins to spin again for a potentially more favourable outcome.

Alternatively, you can spend a whopping 100 coins to double the effect of your next roll – a gamble that can easily backfire if you land a skull.

Then again, if you've got enough life to survive an attack, it's often worthwhile, as each hit will boost your rage meter. When that's full you'll turn into a hulking brute, with roars, punches and grapple attacks that deal substantial damage.

Golden capricious

Yet the whims of Lady Luck seem to work against you more often than the reverse. Even though you'll pick up money from a treasure chest after each successful battle, you'll run out of cash all too soon.

Spend all your money and you can still spin, but there's no way to avoid an incoming attack. It's a sickener when you reach the last part of an area only to spin three skulls and get taken down by an almighty swipe from an enemy you had down to 1HP.

In theory, the equipment and buffs you earn from levelling up should be enough to keep you alive a little longer, but many of those are beholden to chance, too.

You can sell unequipped items to raise more cash, but otherwise you might find you'll need to head to the in-game shop to spend real money on a fatter wallet – but the shop is out of commission at the time of writing.

Comeback story

Death resets your progress, discouraging you from return visits, which is a shame because when the fates are smiling on you Tower of Fortune 2 can be royally entertaining.

You might encounter two familiar-looking time travellers asking for directions (the correct answer giving you an XP boost) or enter a tavern for some liquid refreshment.

Spin the reels while enjoying a pint of mead and you might get involved in a brawl, receive an energising kiss from two buxom maidens, or get drunk enough to start dancing on the table.

This prompts a brief mini-game, in which you're asked you to pull off three successful spins in a row to avoid falling off.

It's in these inventive moments when Tower of Fortune 2 is at its best. If you can stomach the arbitrary nature of progress then there's certainly fun to be had. But I can't help but feel that a little more player influence would go a long way.