Dozens of cannons and other firearms popping into existence and firing volleys of shells, spiked balls, saw blades and other projectiles directly at you, a quirky set of stories, menacing robotic monstrosities, neat power-ups, and procedurally generated levels. Welcome to Tower of Guns.
Tower of Guns revels in its stiff challenge and oodles of flying projectiles. After starting in a quiet room, and even getting a little target practice against adorable little robots that want nothing more than a hug, it’s off into the unknown you travel. You open the door in front of you by shooting it, step through and it closes behind you, as it does, the room fills with all manner of guns and robotic foes; they swivel towards you and fire an incredible volley of deadly projectiles. It’s your job to survive and fight back, destroying everything, collecting the goodies they drop, before venturing into the next randomly generated room and doing it all over again.
Eventually you’ll come across a boss, a hulking great robotic entity with immerse firepower. Destroy it and you’ll find a lift which takes you to the next floor of this insane tower, where once again you fight through multiple chambers to a boss. Die and it’s back to square one.
Indeed, Tower of Guns delivers wholeheartedly on its title. The monolith you need to ascend, full of oversized guns that mean to shred, explode and puncture your frail body , is a very difficult challenge to overcome. But there are rewards you can collect, even in death.
As you destroy the guns and robots that litter each chamber, they’ll drop red orbs for healing, blue orbs for levelling up your weapon, coins for purchasing additional equipment and abilities, and occasionally power-ups. Maintaining your health not only keeps you alive but also affects the power of your weapon. Meanwhile, collecting blue orbs is crucial to getting your weapon up to scratch against the tougher chambers and bosses. Abilities and power-ups offer an extra boost, such as the ability to clear the area of projectiles or a boost to your speed; however, the abilities are often on lengthy cool-downs, so you won’t be relying on them. Coins are rarer, and are often hidden in secret areas, easily overlooked corners, or at the top of difficult or dangerous platforming areas. Collect enough, and find a power-up or ability locked away somewhere, and you can purchase and equip it.
Finally, you can complete side objectives to give you access to different starting weapons and abilities. At the beginning of each new game you’ll have a choice of weapon and ability to bring into the tower with you. Initially you’ll be limited to a choice between two of each, but complete a level of the tower below a certain time, or destroy a certain amount of enemies, etc. and more will be unlocked for you to pick next time you die and are forced to restart. It’s an excellent way to mark progress beyond how far you make it inside the tower, especially with death sending you back to the beginning.
However, Tower of Guns isn’t just about the spectacle of oodles of projectiles and how far you can get against the robot hordes, there are stories unravelling underneath it all. Each time you try to climb the tower you take control of a randomly selected character, each with their own personality and reasoning behind wanting to conquer the tower’s challenge. Text boxes pop up during lulls, subtlety and cleverly hinting at your character’s plight and tale, often providing moments of comic relief after intense projectile dodging and robot destroying action. They’re intriguing and light-hearted.
This light-heartedness is also present in the visuals. Tower of Guns sports a Borderland-esque cartoon cell shading that’s easy on the eyes. The tower’s overall aesthetic is a little disappointing, though, with the majority of the chambers all draped in gears, pipes and mechanisms in the dull glow of blue, red, or yellow lights. However, it all runs at a steady pace, despite the insane amount of gun fire and explosions going on.
Tower of Guns is a very challenging FPS with a nostalgic old-school setup that makes it highly satisfying to play. The need to constantly move around and assess your environment for dangers and areas of safety is reminiscent of the Doom 2, meanwhile, the humorous multitude of character stories are compelling to follow through to their end. It can get frustrating, and aesthetically repetitive, but it’s hard to put down.
Thanks to Terrible Posture Games for supplying TiX with a download code
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