Tower Crush is a mobile title which features intense, dueling combat gameplay. The player builds a tower with several floors and equips it with turrets, then they take their tower into battle against an enemy tower and tries to destroy their tower before losing all of their floors. The concept is simple enough and I was impressed at the speed with which the player is able to install the game and get directly into gameplay. In today’s article I will be discussing the pros and cons of a quick-to-play game’s design.
Quick tutorial: Since the game has very straightforward mechanics and systems, the entire game is explained in 4 tutorial slides. This allows any player to pickup the game and play it within an abbreviated amount of time, compared to most other mobile titles which may feature tutorials that run several minutes of guided gameplay, if not longer.
Quick matches: Matches are played out less as battles and more as duels in the sense that outcomes are decided incredibly quickly; if the player doesn’t choose the correct targets they are sure to lose the match. This is a boon to the game in that players can quickly move through dozens of matches in a matter of minutes.
Interstitial ads: Tower Crush features ads which display upon a set number of menu returns, meaning that after 3-4 matches an ad will display. While this would work for games which feature long matches, in Tower Crush it just becomes a bother. Especially when the ads are longer than the matches they interrupt. Where a timer based design would have worked much better, it appears Tower Crush may have been focused so much on creating opportunities for ad revenue, that they did not realize the impact these ads would have on the gameplay experience.
Lacking depth: Since its gameplay is so simple, a player can enter gameplay and know the entirety of the game in a few matches, making Tower Crush’s greatest strength also its greatest weakness. The core loop is; duel, purchase more floors or advanced weapons, upgrade them, and then duel again. The only difference from match to match is the challenge of the enemies the player faces, there is no progression other than the next duel.
While Tower Crush has done a lot to streamline their tutorial systems; which should be applauded in a game development space which currently favors excessive hand-holding for its tutorial segments, it fails to deliver a gameplay system deep enough to maintain the player’s attention after a few matches. The core loop which initially makes the game fun, building the best tower and destroying the enemy’s, feels like a concept that was never developed further, thus the player is left with a repetitive cycle with little to no room for meaningful choice.
Have you ever enjoyed a game only to find that the initial mechanical systems that you had hoped would grow in complexity stayed the same? Do you feel that a game can be simple and still enjoyable, even if not for the long term? I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please do so in the comments below, or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Mantilla is a ludologist and video game journalist for Play Professor. You can check out more of his content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.