The move counter is a common sight in puzzle games, visually representing your efficient solutions as you complete levels in as few steps as possible. But in Warlock's Tower, the move counter isn't there merely as an additional challenge, but is integrated directly into gameplay.

In this puzzler, you die after three steps, and Warlock wrings a surprising amount of variety from that interesting concept.

A dangerous climb

As a brave mailman, your goal is to deliver a declaration of peace to the titular warlock. Unfortunately, between you and the tower's peak lies a hundred deadly stages. Terrors and traps await, but the greatest danger is the simplest. Within the life-draining walls of the tower, each step drains your limited lives. Three steps, and your mailman turns to dust.

Those early puzzles can be easy, teaching you how to analyze a level and figure out the most optimal route. Quickly, you're introduced to special gems that can refill your move counter or even grant you more steps, an addition that forces you to think ahead and consider in which order gems must be collected to reach the exit.

Walk with care

From that foundation of restricted movement and gems, Warlock's Tower expands into more involved levels. New aspects appear each chapter: conveyor belts that can shuttle you across a room, zombies that move after every third step, slimes that leave a space-restricting acidic trail, and more.

It's an impressive feat of simple complexity. Your moveset never evolves beyond those few steps, but the levels themselves grow increasingly tricky, layering on more and more elements to anticipate and predict.

Given how granular the gameplay can be, a step-by-step pace, it can be frustrating that Warlock's Tower doesn't have an undo feature. You can restart any level with a tap, but having to replay an entire level several times as you figure out the proper route can be frustrating in the later longer levels.

Warlock's Tower may seem simple on the surface due to its retro aesthetic and small moveset, but playing reveals a challenging puzzler that makes the most out of its minimalist design.