Towers of Everland out on Apple Arcade: first-person dungeon crawler offers a premium alternative to The Elder Scrolls: Blades
The latest Apple Arcade exclusive just dropped and it's perfect if you're looking for something a bit more substantial to while away all those COVID-19 lockdown hours. Towers of Everland is a full-fledged 3D first-person dungeon crawler in the vein of Legend of Grimrock, and drawing heavily on the likes of Ultima Underworld. Comparisons will likely be made to the Elder Scrolls: Blades, Bethesda's often maligned Skyrim take on iOS and Android. If you're not a fan of the free-to-play, bite-sized nature of the latter, Towers of Everland offers a refreshing change of pace.
For starters, as a grid-based dungeon crawler, movement is more constrained and considered. Dungeon rooms (including exteriors) aren't exactly massive, but the considered pace and quality visuals encourage you to take things a bit slower. The art design here is a lot brighter, veering more towards Fable than the Elder Scrolls. If Legends of Grimrock's unrepentant bleakness put you off, Towers of Everland has you covered.
Controls are a definite step up from Legends of Grimrock, where virtual buttons stood in for PC-specific input. In Towers of Everland, movement is gesture-based, with contextual buttons for actions like attacking. The game works both in landscape and portrait mode. We had no trouble playing it one-handed.
Graphics and performance are issues, though. On an iPhone 11 Pro Max, the game defaults to a sub-native render scale and a 30 FPS cap. Even though it's possible to unlock the framerate and up the resolution, performance chugs, which is a real disappointment on a phone with a GPU that rivals the Xbox One. This raises questions about just how well the title will run on older hardware without severely compromising image quality.
We are happy to report that there is no horrible in-app store pushing you to buy gold and/or potions. If you can put up with lower performance or if you're on a newer iPhone or iPad Pro, Towers of Everland should give you hours of dungeon-crawling action.