I’ve found that the Editor’s Picks on the Apple App Store are somewhat hit or miss. Sometimes it feels like they pick apps that are in kahoots with Apple somehow, others feel like honest “this is a good game” type of selections. Tomb of the Mask is one of those honest picks.
Tomb of the Mask
If you played Downwell from last year, then Tomb of the Mask will look somewhat familiar. Both are super retro pixel games that remind you more of old CGA computer games rather than 8-bit Nintendo classics. Both are pretty fast, furious and challenging. However, Tomb of the Mask shares more with Pac-Man than it anything.
In Tomb you’re trying to collect dots and coins to then unlock special powers and masks. The masks you unlock also give you some extra power boosts. Pretty simple and straight forward, so that’s the easy part. The hard part is keeping your little masked guy alive.
Tomb of the Mask plays like a mini puzzle game because your movements are always straight. You can move up, down, left and right but you can’t stop early or anything. You go until you hit a wall…or spike…or whatever. From there you have to quickly jump again, all in an effort to work your way up through the level. Along the way you have to avoid spikes, shooters and other baddies…oh, and you have to keep moving, otherwise the dreaded “flood” will rise up and catch you.
Tomb of the Mask isn’t a deep game. You’ll often and you’ll die fast, but you can play again very easily and you’ll keep wanting too. As is normal these days, every time you play the levels change so there’s no patterns to remember or shortcuts to always look for. Just go as long as you can and collect coins.
But the coins are kind of where Tomb of the Mask stumbles a bit. Yes, you collect coins as you move through a level but the game also gives you coins for watching a video ad. Nothing abnormal here either except that you get 500 coins for every video you watch, and in this game, 500 coins goes a long way. Thing is, you can watch an ad as often as you like, meaning you can let ads run for a minute or two and come out with a ton of coins, which pretty much negates any reason to work hard to collect coins in the game.
But I understand the developer dilemma here. I’m sure the maker gets more money per video ad that plays than he does in-app purchases, so naturally you would want to find some way for people to watch ads. Lots of games do this but most don’t have such a large payout. It’s a balancing act…you need to give enough coins to reward the player for their trouble but not give them so much that it takes motivation out of the game. Ad rewards should augment the in-game rewards, not render them pointless.
Sure, you can just tell yourself not to watch a video ad but that’s always harder than it looks. Seeing it right there on the home screen is very tempting. If giving over such a hefty sum of coins was necessary, then I would have liked to see there be some sort of cooldown time for watching the ads…like you can only watch one ad per 15 minutes or something. Enough to keep you coming back to watch ads but not so much that you’ll use them as a crutch.
But in the end I guess this doesn’t take much away fromTomb of the Mask. It’s still fun and challenging. I enjoy the test of my swiping ability and while it’s not a game that will get a lengthy time investment, it’ll be an easy “go to” game when you need a quick gaming fix.
And bonus…Tomb of the Mask is free in the App Store.