There have been a number of tower building games on the App Store, allowing you to build structures with everything from standard brick and mortar sections to sheep! I think this is the first one I’ve seen that uses dice, however. Plus, instead of being a game of reaction and timing, it’s more about planning and strategy (with a little bit of luck thrown in). If you’ve got a craving to keep rising higher and higher, Dice Tower might be the breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for.
Dice Tower is a game about building towers. As you might have guessed, these towers will be built from dice. The key here is that the number on the dice makes all the difference in the world. For the first layer you can use any dice you want except wild card dice. For any layer after that, the die placed at a given location must either be the sum or the difference of the two dice below it.
There are two exceptions to this rule. The first is if the two dice below the position are the same, in which case the die can have the same number as those two dice. The second is if there is only one die below the position. Then the die you are placing must have the same value, twice the value or half the value of the die below it. It’s a bit odd to describe on paper, but it works quite well in practice. Also, don’t worry if your math skills aren’t the best. As long as you can add and subtract between the numbers 1 through 6 you’ll do just fine.
To help you along the way you might roll a wild card die, which can be used for any number. In addition you might get an extra roll, more time (on the timed mode), or a treasure that gives you a random value of up to 1000 points. On the flip side, you could get a die for less time, one that randomly removes dice from the top layer, and one that destroys everything in your hand. If you get the bomb and lose the contents of your hand, that could be game over if that was your last roll.
Everything is executed via drag ‘n drop. The control is quite responsive, but sometimes it’s hard to tell where you’re placing a die. This is especially true if you’re trying to store one in the chest, which is an area that lets you keep a couple dice from your hand as spares before you re-roll. Rolling is a simple matter of tapping the cup in the bottom right corner of the screen. Everything else is handled automatically, and power ups (or downs) are used as soon as you get them, with the exception of the wild card die and the free roll.
There are three game play modes in Dice Tower: Casual, Time Attack and Endless. In Casual and Time Attack you must build each tower to a certain number of floors starting with 6 rolls per tower. The main difference between the two modes is that on Time Attack each tower is timed. In Endless mode you start with 10 rolls and keep on building until you run out of rolls and dice to place. Endless mode requires the most strategy early on, because if you’re not careful about placing your dice you might use up your rolls a lot sooner than you’d like. I’m not normally a fan of endless scenarios, but I like the heightened strategic element in this one.
The game isn’t overly flashy, but it looks really nice. The playing field has a clean layout, everything is easy to read and it’s perfectly clear what’s what. I like how a little platform slides out for you to roll the dice on. It’s also pretty sharp when a special die zooms in off the rolling area and then the symbol stays for a second while the actual die fades away. The little effects like that which are scattered throughout the game give it a nice touch.
The sound effects are decent enough. A die roll sounds like a die roll and so forth. The audio is actually a bit more subdued than the graphics even. The music is nice except for the fact that every song sounds like it’s just a few bars constantly being repeated. As a result it kind of gets monotonous after a while.
If you’re looking for the splash of games like Digital Chocolate’s Bloxx series, you won’t find it here. Instead what you get is a stylish yet humble presentation over a unique take on the tower building genre. If you need some twitch reflex action, you probably want to look elsewhere. If you’d like to exercise your brain a bit (while still relying on the occasional bit of luck) then Dice Tower is a good choice for you.