I love a good RPG, as I’ve mentioned several times in the past, from JRPGs to action RPGs, as long as the story and characters are nice and the game is not soul-crushingly boring or frustrating, I’m all for it. So, I jumped at the chance to play The Tower of Time, the name alone being more than intriguing enough. So, what did I think about this title? Read on.
Release Date: April 2018
- Superstar Shakeup: Usually when playing the hero’s journey in an RPG, your protagonist is one of the characters you control, but not so in Tower of Time, where he’s a passive participant, a lord sitting on a powerful magical throne controlling and guiding his agents through the tower. It’s interesting how the dynamic shifts when the her is not under your direct control, how your attention shifts to the secondary characters as main ones.
- Nice DJ: I quite like the music, both the environmental, cutscene and battle themes. They’re catchy and nice to listen to, with some suitably dark and epic tone extremes depending on the circumstances and enhancing the experience.
- Adventuring Joy: While I have my issues with the way the fights work, I do enjoy the exploration and questing elements of Tower of Time. There are puzzles strewn throughout the environment and hidden challenges to complete and they’re a ton of fun. It’s a shame that I spent most of my time fighting endless clone armies.
- Instant Monster Replicator: Every single fight in Tower of Time happens in waves of increasing difficulty and annoyance. Where on the map you’ll see a pack of four Orcs, when shifting to the “battle stage,” they’ll turn into four dozen. Every fight is a battle of attrition where only you have limited resources. I’m all for using strategy to overcome challenges, but a floodgate of enemies is not exactly a fair fight. The combat itself and the tactical options are great, they really are, but the endless damage sponge clone armies make it profoundly boring.
- Just Shut Up, Please: I may like the plot but I hate the characters. Their dialogues are painfully bad and the characters themselves while having different origins, motivations and desires, somehow share the same personality, responding in the same way to every circumstance. It feels lazy.
- It’s Story Time: There are way too many overlong exposition cutscenes. From backstory to plot explanations they just go on and on. The worst offender is the ending which instead of showing the consequences of the journey spend about five minutes explaining the entire plot of the game. If you have to wait until then to explain why things happened the way they did, you’re storytelling sucks.
- Follow the Schematics: Everything and I mean everything in Tower of Time needs blueprints, from enchanting to blacksmithing to levelling up your characters, meaning that crafting and character power is all gated, as advanced blueprints are quite far apart. This keeps the game at a constant and increasingly unfair challenge level that you can do absolutely nothing about, as the weapons, even the super rare and legendary feel like inflatable rubber bats.
- Evil Lair: I had hopes that Tower of Time would show me a nice story about power corrupting a noble individual, his purposes twisted as they mishandle the power they’re given…but no. It’s a story of a guy seeking power in a strange Tower that houses a dark entity at the bottom. It’s been done to death and not even the “twists” break new ground.
- Premature Palette Swap: It’s normal for RPGs palette swap enemies, to add harder version of old foes along the way. But usually, you will see some variety of monsters before encountering the first true swap. Not in Tower of Time where you get the first one as early as the third floor of the tower, which is fairly early into the game. Worse still having completed a quest that removed the “risen,” aka the undead monsters from the tower, it felt extremely cheap and unsatisfying to suddenly find the same skeletons prowling the next floor, only re-labelled as “arcane constructs.” It felts as if my actions in the tower were completely meaningless.