Game Reviews

Tomb of the Mask - Pac-Man and Downwell walk in to a bar, right?

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| Tomb of the Mask
Tomb of the Mask - Pac-Man and Downwell walk in to a bar, right?
| Tomb of the Mask

What happens when you imbue a razor-edged old-skool looking roguelike with the twitchy arcade score chasing of a Crossy Road classic?

I'll tell you what happens. Tomb of the Mask is what happens. It's essentially Pac-Man by way of Downwell. But inverted. And with a bit of Nitrome thrown in for good measure.

And it's a lot of fun. Albeit the sort of fun that's over pretty quickly and often ends with you curling up in a ball and cursing anyone or anything that's listening.

There are a few niggles here and there, and as you might imagine there's not as much depth as you'd find in a normal roguelike, but Tomb of the Mask spoons the challenge by the bucketful to make up for it.

How is it like Pac-Man then?

Well you're running around a maze gobbling up pills to score points. And there are boosts that give you extra powers when you pick them up. Plus it looks decidedly old fashioned too.

There are no ghosts here, but there are plenty of other things that are trying to kill you. For starters there's the glowing wall of light that's steadily creeping up from the bottom of the screen. Touch that and it's game over.

You also have to deal with obstacles within the maze itself. There are spikes, bats, cannons, blowfish, and all manner of other beasties and sharp things just waiting for you to stick your stupid face on them.

And you will. The game rushes by at a fearsome pace, and you're swiping left, right, up, and down to navigate through the world. But you're in constant danger from below, so standing still is going to get you killed.

So you'll try and move as fast as you can, but the game is only too happy to throw dead-ends and spike-filled corridors at you. And then you'll die.

So you'll take some time to think. And then you'll die. And then you'll die some more. There is a lot of dying going on in Tomb of the Mask.

That does sound like an inordinate amount of death

Yup. But there's a compulsion loop here, as well as easy restarts and a high-score chasing centre that mean you'll happily jump back into the action when things inevitably go pear-shaped.

But that slight shallowness means that after a few goes, there's a chance you'll lay your iOS device down and not come back to Tomb of the Mask.

That's not the end of the world, obviously, and since the game is free you won't be too upset about the lack of meat on its bones.

But it does mean that it doesn't quite reach the great heights it could have done if it had just a little more to it.

Tomb of the Mask - Pac-Man and Downwell walk in to a bar, right?

A sharp and angry roguelike that mixes arcade sensibilities into its DNA but doesn't quite pull off the right quantities