The game: David K. Newton’s “Treasure Tower” (a Windows game downloadable for free from wired.st-and.ac.uk/%7Ewong/treasuretower/) is a celebration of mankind’s never-ending pursuit of meaningless, shiny objects in as little time as possible.
The premise of the game is fairly simple. As some sort of robot-like chum (the kind found predominantly in fairly wacky video games), it’s your job to climb to the top of a series of towers while under a strict time limit. Each tower is comprised of a set number of single-screen rooms, each possessing an entrance, exit, obstacles and treasures within.
How to play: In terms of controls, “Treasure Tower” is fairly simple to play – the left and right arrows on the keyboard move the player character left and right, and pressing either shift key allows you to jump. Tapping the up arrow key when standing over the exit will take you to the next area. Pretty straightforward stuff!
Time is the major enemy in the game. A relentlessly ticking, omnipresent clock sits in the top left corner of the screen. And if it hits midnight? Game over, man, game over. As the clock ticks down, weirdly frenetic Scott Joplin ragtime music plays in the background. There are obstacles on each screen that comprise everything from speedily rolling barrels to ghosts, and touching any will cost you precious seconds from the game clock. Luckily, it’s possible to pick up food every few floors, which resets the timer. Phew!
The titular treasures also abound within almost every room, and grabbing them will add one point each to your score. They’re kind of pointless, since your score never lowers and there’s treasure in every room, but it’s a pretty minor issue considering how solid the game is, otherwise.
Why it’s fun: Variety is the game’s greatest strength. There are 11 different towers to complete, each with its own theme. The blitz tower, for example, gives you 30 seconds to rush through 12 rooms without any way to recover lost time, while the collector tower requires you to collect every piece of treasure in all 20 rooms in order to finish successfully.
“Treasure Tower,” despite being a tiny freeware game made by one guy, is top notch. With a large variety of towers to complete, online scoreboards and even a time trial mode, there’s a lot to recommend, and very little to complain about. It has low system requirements (although it’s Windows-only, unfortunately), and can be played easily with just a keyboard. Check it out!
Staff writer Jason Moses can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Break-out box: “Treasure Tower” can be downloaded for free from the author’s website at wired.st-and.ac.uk/%7Ewong/treasuretower/