Tower of Madness
Created by Games Workshop in 1983, Warhammer Fantasy Battle remains one of the most consistently popular tabletop miniatures games of all time. Warhammer has received dozens of adaptations over the years. Perchang’s Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower is the latest in a long line of games using the Warhammer label. But does this mobile strategy game live up to that impressive legacy?
Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower is something of a double adaptation, a turn-based strategy game inspired by the board game of the same name. The titular Silver Tower is a gigantic magical structure ruled over by the reality-warping Gaunt Summoner. And, yes, Warhammer fans, I know there’s more than one Gaunt Summoner, but the game calls him “The Gaunt Summoner,” not “A Gaunt Summoner.” Articles aside, this Gaunt Summoner can only be permanently killed by collecting eight Chaos Amulet fragments.
So, yes, it’s a pretty generic fantasy plot with a coat of Warhammer paint. I wouldn’t complain too much but, considering how big the Warhammer universe is, it’s a little disappointing. The game also didn’t do a fantastic job of establishing the world or stakes. Fans might know what a Gaunt Summoner is or why Tzeentch is a big deal, but the game certainly isn’t going to tell you. We’ll get to the things I liked about Silver Tower, but I don’t think Perchang used the license to its full potential. You could change the names and tell me it was Fire Emblem: Grimdark Edition, and I wouldn’t be able to prove you wrong.
My mention of Fire Emblem wasn’t random, as combat feels like a mix between that series and Firaxis’ XCOM games. Combat is turn-based and makes use of a grid-based movement system. Each character has two actions per turn and can use them to move, attack or activate an ability. Champions and enemies are divided into melee, ranged and magic fighters. They’re all pretty much damage focused but with different skills. Melee champions have a chance to perform a free “deathblow” attack whenever they make a standard attack. Ranged champions can take automatic reaction shots if they end their turn with unused points, and mages gain attack strength and range over time. Each champion also has a unique ability of their own, such as causing AOE damage or summoning minions. Overall, the combat isn’t as deep as in some turn-based games, but I enjoyed it for the most part. My only real criticism is the lack of defensive abilities for the warriors.
The level design is more of a mixed bag. Silver Tower is a very good-looking game, and the different campaign regions are all visually distinct. My main complaint was that there are too many chokepoints you have to force your way through. Enemies spawn infinitely on most levels, so they can afford to throw bodies at you all day. This isn’t a problem on the more open maps, but too many are just one long corridor of mindless fighting.
Again, and Again
My biggest problem with the game is the leveling, which is painfully slow after the first 10 levels or so. The enemy does not have the same handicap, and it becomes a struggle to keep up. And that means it’s time to talk about the daily quests. Usually, they just involve fighting enemies in repurposed campaign maps, although there are exceptions. My favorite type of quest was “Puzzling,” where you have to lure powerful enemies into environmental hazards. Most of the quests are very repetitive, however, and the rewards are nothing to write home about. It is pretty demoralizing to slog through an overlong quest for a “rare” weapon that’s worse than the one you’ve been using. I’d tell you not to bother with quests, but you have to do them since campaign stages payout XP in the single digits.
I should also mention that Silver Tower can be very hard on some hardware. It soaks battery life like a sponge, and my phone was hot to the touch after a few hours. Grinding in Silver Tower had me genuinely worried about long-term damage to my device.
Overall, I think Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower is a decent but unimpressive game. It was fun at times but not something to get passionate about. Check it out if you are interested, but don’t consider it a must-play.
Is It Hardcore?
You might enjoy Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower for a time, but the grind and repetition will wear away at your enthusiasm.