Review: Tower of Time (PC)

Developer: Event Horizon

Publisher: Event Horizon

Genre: RPG, Strategy

Rating: N/A (Most Likely T)

Platforms: PC/Steam

Price: $24.99

 

 

 

You and your allies have been given a great task. A mysterious tower has appeared on the outskirts of town, calling to you. To figure out the purpose of this citadel, you must journey up (or down) it and face the evil within.

Content Guide

Spiritual Content

Magic is a big theme in this game. It’s similar to standard fantasy RPG use, with spells being cast by characters for attack and support. Some enemies in the game are undead skeletons brought back to life.

Violence

Most of the problems in this game are solved with the point of a sword or a wave of a wand. The game doesn’t show blood, and most of the violence is Lord of the Rings style fantasy violence.

Language/Crude Humor

Characters occasionally make a jab each other by saying something crude.

Positive Content

The game touches on issues of legacy and history. Part of the backstory is that the game takes place in a world fallen from a golden age, due in part to neglect.

Review

Time just gets flushed down the drain in this game.

The first thing I should point out about Tower of Time is that it takes about a tower of time to complete it. This is probably the second longest game I’ve reviewed so far (the first being Middle Earth: Shadow of War), and you need to consider that if you’re looking for a new game to play. Tower of Time is a time sink, but a lot of the pleasure and fun from the game comes from the fact that it takes a while to beat. It really feels like a high fantasy epic.

With that disclaimer out of the way, overall Tower of Time is a fun RPG that takes a simple element and adds enough bells and whistles to make it different. The game is detailed without going over the top (with a few exceptions). The gameplay is intuitive and tight and doesn’t get boring over time; it’s is filled with quests, character progression, and upgrades that are always working towards something.

The worldbuilding in Tower of Time is one of its strongest assets. The game doesn’t tell you everything up front about the setting, and part of the fun of the game is finding pieces of the world’s history; the world itself is a unique fantasy realm. This world called Atara combines magic with science, and it is currently in its golden age, as demonstrated by elements of steampunk. It’s a cool place, but It’s also too bad  that you can’t really explore it. Most of the game takes place in the eponymous tower, which is cool in its own right. The tower has several levels, each one unique, and dripping with atmosphere. It really feels like you’re exploring the ruins of a lost civilization.

This looks perfectly safe.

Along the way you will form a party. There are several characters to choose from. Some are martial and some are magical, but they resemble real, breathing, living characters with their own backstories and personalities. The way they talk to each other out of combat makes them seem alive and evolving. There are certain times in the game where the player must make a choice, and doing so will please some of the party and disturb others. There are mechanical advantages to having a happy party and disadvantages of having an upset one, but the surprise to me was how much I started investing in how my characters felt, regardless of the effect on my playthrough. gameplay.

As your party travels through the levels of the tower, they will encounter baddies to fight, and in typical RPG fashion, Tower of Time uses the encounter mechanic. If you approach a group of enemies, the game will change to battle mode and set you up on a field or arena. At this point, the game becomes more of a real time strategy game. Each character in your party has different powers and abilities (usually sorted into the fighter, archer, druid archetypes) that they can use in combat. Mastering the game requires using each characters abilities to compliment each other and taking advantage of elements of the battlefield, like narrow hallways or rocky outcroppings. In addition, the game lets you slow time to a crawl during combat in order to make tactical decisions on the fly.

The battle mode of the game is one of the most engaging aspects of Tower of Time, and simulates a puzzle. The problem is simple: defeat the enemies. The tools they give you to do so mean that there are a plethora of ways to do so. This in turn, makes combat feel new and inventive, and in a game this long, keeping combat fresh is important to prevent player burnout. One thing I will say about Tower of Time is that you won’t get bored easily.

Killing things has never been this fun!

Tower of Time is about you. The main character is referred to as “you” and is the one who instigates the adventure. This would be fine and dandy, but there are times in the game where “you” say or do things independently, and in turn, causes some cognitive dissonance. In a game as involved as this one, moments like these can take you out of the game, even for just a minute, and shatter the suspension of disbelief that Tower of Time is trying to establish, to its detriment.

Actually, a lot of the minor problems suffer from this kind of issue. There are several things in the game that I feel like were put in to address problems that aren’t really problems. A little later in the game, “you” sit upon a crystal throne, and inform your allies that you can see and hear everything they do. This seems to address the “issue” of why the game is a top-down isometric dungeon crawl, because “you” are watching from above. It’s inventive and clever, but addresses a problem that isn’t really a problem, while at the same time removing “you” from most combat operations, leaving it to your allies.

Similarly, the leveling system is strange. The game goes out of its way to point out that your allies are already as strong as possible, so they don’t level up through experience points. Instead, they need to use a teleporter to go into town to a building (like an armory or mage tower) where they can train. These buildings can be upgraded to allow for more leveling, and the upgrades are found in the tower. It’s an overly confusing system that addresses a problem that doesn’t even exist.

“Man, I can’t wait to explore…wait…I’m going to spend the entire game sitting where?”

Other than that, the game mechanics for things like upgrading items or loot drops are pretty standard. The only other thing that really stands out as a negative are the controls. On the battlefield, to move around the map, you use the arrow keys. As anyone who’s played a computer game in the last decade will tell you, the popular direction keys today are the W,S,A and D keys. I played this game for hours and it took me forever to get used to it.

Given the size and scope of Tower of Time, these are relatively minor problems. More to the point, this game solves the biggest problem a game of this size has: preventing boredom. Tower of Time, for its size, is engaging and rewarding, and doesn’t feel like it’s wasting your time. Everything you do in this game has a purpose and a point. A few mechanical choices aside, Tower of Time is a great game for RPG fans and RTS fans alike.

Review code generously provided by Event Horizon.

The Bottom Line

 

 

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Simon Jones

God, games and good times. When not playing videogames, you can find Simon at the D&D table, doing parkour or muay thai, or napping.

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