When I first heard about Tower of Guns by Terrible Posture Games and Grip Games, I have to admit that it didn’t look like much, especially considering the website says you can complete the game in about an hour… but goes on to say IF you complete the game, and “that is a BIG if.” Well, here we are, a week later and challenge accepted. Find out if we made it in our Tower of Guns review.
There really isn’t much of a story to the game, and the developers admit that straight out. In fact, they even go so far as introducing (dumb) random stories each time you re-enter the tower. The stories vary from a girl (Lucille) and her uncle making their way through the tower – supposedly having something to do with the death of her parents, to playing as Dr. Pepto Mutt (yes a dog) looking for signs of disease.
The stories don’t change the game play at all, and are relegated to a few lines of dialogue on the screen at the start of each level. There is some quirky, and at times funny, lines that do elicit a chuckle here and there. The developers haven’t taken themselves too seriously here, and it shows. But it fits well in adding at least a little bit of humour to an otherwise sometimes stressful game, especially when you just beat a crazy boss and can chuckle at quips like “hug has three letters, letter starts with L… HL3 confirmed!” (if only).
So just what is Tower of Guns about? Quite simple. In this first-person shooter, you start at the bottom of the tower in the foyer and see if you can make it through the random levels scattered with random rooms filled with random enemies and eventually a level boss fight. The enemies are crazy to put it mildly – there’s everything from wall cannons, laser beams, and flying saw blades to rotating grinders, flying cannons, and much more which can get overwhelming pretty quick in some cases.
Tower of Guns plays extremely fast. So fast that it’s easy to get a tad dizzy when playing on a large screen (I play on a 106” projector screen). That’s not to say that you can’t slow down and go at your own pace, but each level is timed and has a par time which – if you’re competitive like most gamers – you try your damnedest to beat. Room layouts consist of everything from ramps to spikes, elevators, secret areas and more.
Don’t expect to beat it on your first try. Or your second… or third… or… you get the idea. You probably will get through the first stage with almost no issues, killing enemies makes them drop health, weapon power, and item power ups. Collect coins along the way and if you can find locked power ups, you can purchase – if you have enough coins banked – speed, jump, damage, and other boosts to help you out. On the flip side, take damage and not only does your health meter go down but your weapon level can drop as well, so you’ll want to do your best and take as little damage as possible – especially once you reach maximum weapon level.
Once you hit the end of the level, you’ll find yourself face to face with a boss – or pair of bosses – and often numerous other enemies. Defeat the boss and you can proceed to the next level of the game. The bosses vary in style and name as the room layouts and enemy placement do so you’ll never know who you could get, whether it be Grandpa Napoleon, The Pipe Organ, Sir Chompsalot, Mama Spinbot, or one of the aptly named others.
Dying is always frustrating in any game, but with Tower of Guns killing enemies, completing achievements, and meeting other goals unlocks other weapons and perks which help you out the next time you enter the tower. And enter you will, because you won’t be able to stop until you complete the game at least once. The game even detects when you’re on a bad losing streak and drops you into Caketown where Joe (the developer of Tower of Guns) has scattered power ups and bonuses around to help you have a better next run.
The graphics are heavily stylized and definitely have an old school – if not a bit flat – feel to them. The style is a mix between the cel-shaded and cartoonish and it works quite well for the game, avoiding any slowdown that could be an issue if a more realistic graphic style was used.
The sound in the game is well done, you can hear bullets flying all around you, the location of enemies that you can’t see on screen, and it helps to immerse you in the level with the amount of sound effects present at any given time. The only complaint I have is the sound of the footsteps is a bit clunky and feels out of place but given the pace of the game and the other sound effects it does fade into the background and you don’t notice it as much the longer you play.
The music also fits well and is fast-paced, high energy, and almost pushes you on through the rooms and levels as you progress.
It’s fun to see more indie games coming to the Xbox One and PlayStation consoles, and Tower of Guns is one of the better PC ports. It’s easy to pick up, pretty mindless, and most definitely challenging. Even though it is relatively short once you complete it, you can still pick it up and tackle it 15 minutes at a time if you wish and continue later. Once you do complete it, there’s still other perks and weapons to unlock, not to mention the secrets hidden within each level. Given that each level resets and is randomly created each time you enter it, there’s definitely replay value as well.
If you’re looking for a frantic, challenging, first-person, old school shooter, I’d recommend giving Tower of Guns a look – it really can’t be beat for the price of $14.99 on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or PlayStation 3.
Oh, did I make it to the top? Sadly not yet… but I will if it kills me, wait it has already numerous times. And those cute little HugBots? Shoot ’em for loot, you need the help more than you need the hugs!
***We were sent a review copy of Tower of Guns by Grip Games for the purposes of this review.
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