Grindy-looty goodness awaits in Finder's Keep, a sleek new dungeon crawler with turn-based RPG elements for iOS from Big Blue Bubble (makers of Muse). Choose your avatar and start your looting adventure through a never-ending tower full of goodies and baddies. An excellent tutorial will walk you through the first few levels, showing you the ropes and explaining how to manage all the booty. You tap your way through mist-covered floors of the tower picking up lots of armor, weapons and materials, as well as meeting gruesome enemies in dark corners. The design of this game shines in the balance between the items you collect and the enemies you meet. A tarnished shield is just a shield until you reinforce it with the dust of unneeded items you've dismantled, or fuse it to a shard you've collected. Now you have a 4-star Aegis of the Dragon that can block just about anything those monsters throw at you. And that's just in the first 15 levels!
This game is free to play, but it does have in-app purchases (IAP). Fortunately, they aren't pushed on you at every turn, but easily available if you need them. You can only buy diamonds, the main currency in the game. There are certainly times when you need them... to open more space in your armory, or bring you back to life in an especially difficult level. The good news: the game gives you diamonds as you go. They are a rare drop in certain floors of the tower, and occasionally the devs drop one in your inbox as a gift, so it's not necessary to buy them. It just means some areas will take longer to master. It's worth the wait, though, when an ornate chest yields a Mythical Helm.
The game drips with details, and they are beautifully organized in the small space of the iPhone screen. You not only manage your spoils, but you also manage the action points and equipment points you win as you level up. The first limits how many towers you can enter and the second limits the quality of the equipment you can carry with you. Over time, you'll win up to six spaces for different configurations of armor and battle abilities. Each of your plundered items impacts your strength, constitution and dexterity, which have a direct affect on your health and attack. Strategizing between the kind of equipment you use and the battle abilities you choose can make the difference between beating a floor or falling in battle. This is one of those games that will suck you in and keep you coming back for the new daily content and the promise of even better, shinier loot.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPhone. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.