Tomb of the Mask is a game where players are greeted with simple and easy to get into mechanics, but overly complicated levels and schemes as each level passes by. Players are dropped into dangerous dungeons which must be traversed through while avoiding the spikes and other forms of traps placed to deter the players from progressing. Sounds easy except that for the catch, which is that you’re only allowed to move in one direction until you hit a wall or the end of the platform, requiring some strategic thinking and movements instead of just bum-rushing through the gameplay like many other dungeon raiders out there.
As mentioned before, in Tomb of the Mask you can only move in one given direction at a time and the character keeps going until it no longer can either by hitting a wall or reaching the end of that pathway on that specific map. For example, moving in a horizontal or vertical direction, the playable character keeps going and there’s no way to stop it from hitting a spike trap on its way other than trying a different path approach completely, giving this game some added depth of strategy. Resembling a retro version of Pac-man with some twists, the gameplay plot is for you to collect as many coins as possible and the 3 stars scattered around the map before finishing the level. The stars are what determine the quality of how well the level was cleared and unlocks reward chests that might contain power-ups to help you in the future.
Power-ups can include many QoL features, one such being a protective shield which can aid the player in crashing into one trap and consuming its charge in the process, allowing the gameplay to continue scot-free. As with many other F2P games, having such a mechanic which includes power-ups has some downsides which we’ll look into a little later.
Graphics and Audio:
The graphics are themed off the 80s style arcade games, the most striking one being Pac-Man. With its simple polygonized yet execution with intent, it gets the job done of making you feel like you’re playing a retro game taking you back to the good ol’ days and basking in nostalgia. Combine the Pac-Man style graphics and polygonization with the Indiana Jones type adventure-seeking gameplay of avoiding traps and finding the ‘treasure’ and you have Tomb of the Mask.
In terms of the audio, it is usually harder to mimic the retro 8-bit audio tunes as back in the 80s it was usually due to technological limitations and not a complete artistic choice. Nevertheless, Tomb of the Mask does try to emulate and give its best effort in mimicking the 8-bit cues to complete the immersion of the retro gaming ambiance. It falls short, however, in the number of sounds reused throughout single gameplay sitting which can make it annoying, distracting, or just outright boring enough to just mute the game while playing it. Good effort but needs a lot more polish and variety on it.
The make-or-break question for a lot of the F2P player base is, how much is it affected by MTX? In the case of Tomb of the Mask, there is a sad answer and a glimmer of hope at the same time. The hopeful part being that the gameplay is so smooth and simple while being strategically dependent on brute force, a lot of players will try and play this game anyway. The sad side of the coin is that it is heavily infested with Ads and a profound amount of greed in layers of letting you complete a failed stage if you watch an Ad from where you died off, etc., or even allowing the procurement of shield powerups by watching Ads. It doesn’t end there, however, as the actual cost of a subscription to get rid of all these shenanigans is not a one-time cost, but comes as a game for service type package, at 7.99$ a week (yes you read that right, a week!).
In terms of gameplay influencers, other than the fact that there is no credibility as to what stage was reached by someone in a legit one-run or by watching multiple ads to facilitate a continued spliced run, the MTX doesn’t affect too much of the gameplay in other regards. But the level of greed is a little bit too much for me to digest especially after seeing the price tag on the per week subscription deal, which is on the higher side by quite a margin.
Pros and Cons
- Easy Mechanics Strategic Thinking Required
- Simple App to Run with no high requirements
- Good Nostalgic Experience
- Smooth Controls
- The audio could use some improvements
- Power-ups are not balanced for diversified use
- Infested with Ads if playing free
- Greedy MTX deals
Tomb of the Mask is a good game that hits the nostalgic scents almost perfectly to take you on a trip down memory lane with its ambitious graphics and retro-themed gameplay packaged into an interesting and adventurous execution. The part it does get wrong, however, is the over-monetization and greed-inducing MTX deals and offers which can overshadow the good gameplay or strategy for many people. When a game has a downside, and the downside is usually related to MTX, it is not a good sign as it opens a pandora’s box as to why that is the case. Tomb of the Mask is no different, a truly excellent game but with a lot of caveats when it comes to enjoyment due to the sheer number of Ads placed in one gameplay session and the over-turned subscription price of $ 7.99 a week. It’s an easily recommended game but with a fair word of warning regarding the catches, it revolves around.