Storm Casters is described as a dungeon crawler adventure, but it don’t think the crawler part of that quite fits the remit. The basic principle of the game is to make your way through various dungeons populated with lots of nasty bits and bobs, mainly skeletons, in an attempt to make you way up an ominous tower. But why isn’t this a crawler, well the answer is simple, you have a set amount of time in which to complete each floor and crawling would just slow you down… right?
I went into Storm Casters thinking it was going to be an RPG, and I’ve been trying to find a decent entry to the genre on the iPad for a while now (please comment with your favourites). Instead Storm Casters is based around quick runs, trying to get past obstacles and bad guys as quickly and as efficiently as you can. To stop you in this quest you can expect to encounter skeletons, large bosses, traps and lava that will all take a life away from you if you are killed. Unfortunately you only start off with one life meaning you will more than likely die within the first few steps on more than one occasion.
You will get a choice of character when you first fire up the game, but hold your horses those of you who get a big thrill out of character customisation, you will only get a choice of a boy or girl. But at least it does tick the gender equality box. Moving through the game you will collect experience which levels up your character, but this in itself won’t improve your stats and indeed there is only two stats to upgrade. You can upgrade both your strength, which will improve the power of your attack, and also the time you are allowed to spend in the dungeons. Both of these can be upgraded by collecting money from your runs and spending it accordingly. Levelling up does have its benefits, however, as at some point you will hit a cap on both time and power. At this point the only way to increase them is to reach a certain level that will allow you to increase your ‘ECO’. This will raise the level cap for your time and strength and also make your character look that little bit cooler. You can increase your ECO 3 times in all and will cost more and more to upgrade each time.
One thing that definitely makes or breaks a mobile gaming experience is how you can control your character. Luckily, the controls here couldn’t be more simple. An analog stick on the left side of the screen controls the player while you have the choice of holding down the fire button on the right for an auto aim or also switching that to an analog stick to chose where to fire. The auto aiming has been my option of choice through my play through, and while you may think it’s an easy option, it becomes needed towards the later levels when it is just a challenge navigating levels and enemies, let alone trying to aim as well. With randomly generated levels you will never play the same dungeon twice, and while you may see familiar sections, they are few and far between.
Battlecards are the other large part of Storm Casters which also mixes up each run and provides a little bit of tactical decision making. Battlecards are effectively boosters that can boost your stats or most of the time make items have a greater chance of appearing. New weapons, shields, hearts and chests are some of the items that will appear to help you along and Battlecards will help generate these. At the start of each run you will be given 3 random cards but you can pay to shuffle these at a cost. Locking in the ones you want while shuffling for new ones can make the difference in a successful run, but it wont stop the frustration when you get a perfect set only to be killed in the first 5 seconds.
Storm Casters is only £1.49 to play and you won’t need to pay any more after that. You can pay for extra gems that will help to buy Battlecards, but you can obtain these naturally as well, which is great. I have never once found myself thinking to buy any extra which for me must mean you don’t need it at all!