Solomon’s Keep is a dungeon crawler where you play the role of a young apprentice. Darkness surrounds you, and hordes of monsters attack you. Thankfully you have a large pointy hat, and the magical abilities that go with it.
The game is a dual stick shooter with the usual touch controls setup. I found the aiming/shooting controls to be somewhat off, and often I have had to fire some extra magical bolts as tracers. This can be a problem since the magic used consumes mana, and it comes in limited supply. Sure it keeps regenerating, but tell that to the poor wizard being chased by 10 zombies.
Upgrading your character is important to any dungeon crawler walking the Diablo path. In Solomon’s Keep upgrades come frequently, and the focus is on health, mana, walking speed and offensive magic. I found this simplification quite refreshing, and whatever upgrade chosen really affects the game. You get an option of three different upgrades for each level. If none of them are what you look for simply restart the game, and you will get three new options.
The graphics in Solomon’s Keep are quite nice, that is what little you actually get to see. The screen is covered with darkness. Playing this game outside on a sunny day is near impossible, and even inside in good conditions it tires me. Sure it is meant to be a dungeon crawler, but with such a small screen to start with you really need all the estate for the game. The hero floats in a strange way, and is quite poorly animated in my opinion. The bestiary is more interesting, with quite a good variety. Bosses are large, but as I only see a small part of them due to the surrounding blackness they never feel threatening. At times the game slows down significantly even on an iPhone 3GS. This is most common when opening a portal.
The music and sound effects are quite good. There are some problems with the spoken audio that tends to crack up a bit. The music is your classical haunted dungeon string theme, and you can use your own music instead if you would like to.
Traveling back to the start lets you purchase items from one of your magical buddies. You can have one staff, and two magic rings equipped. The items found in the game are quite rare, and there is no customization at all.
Solomon’s Keep is a short game that can be beaten within an hour if you are good at dual stick shooters. There are no online scores, achievements or unlockables to warrant a second journey trough the keep. You get a cool list of what you accomplished when the game is over though including number of tweets, and Iraqis liberated.
At a buck Solomon’s Keep might be an interesting diversion for the dual stick shooter and dungeon crawler fan. Technical issues, short game life, and strange design choices makes it less appealing to the casual gamer. I would like to see a lite version for people to try out.
Solomon’s Keep $0.99 (get it from )