Tower of Time is an RPG-Adventure indie game developed by Event Horizon for Steam. Tower of Time is set in a fictional fantasy world. It's currently in Early Access and will be released as a complete game on April 12th 2018.
Tower of Time is available on Steam for $17.99 (US) or €17,99 (EU).
Like most RPGs, Tower of Time relies heavily on its storytelling. I was quite impressed with the presentation of Tower of Time's story. Animated slides of colorful artwork and great voice acting managed to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the game. The beautiful pieces of artwork would be left to show off some intriguing, lush environments I would be able to explore on my own.
While exploring, small bits of text enlighten you about a certain situation. For example, if you'd see a skeleton lying on the ground, you can easily click it to see what its function is. The small amount of text tells you in what state it lies and what kind of smell it produces, or something similar to that.
While the story's presentation is phenomenal, it failed to leave an impression on me. The concept of a tower to represent society's progress and change was unique, but other elements such as the appearance of magical creatures that are already too common in RPG games just didn't do it for me. It wasn't convincing and I wasn't eager to find out what lay at the top (or the bottom) of the tower. Other components of Tower of Time had more strengths than it's story.
Civilization, on the brink of catastrophe, is all explained in and fixed from inside the tower. The protagonist discovers the tower and remembers it once he's a 'milord', sending his staff to scout it in his place, but this time, with monsters of all sorts that attack your squad without a solid explanation. As you sort out everything on your path, the tower and its inhabitants shape your thoughts of it and step by step, you'll learn more about history and myths.
Even though the story isn't convinving or appealing to me, I loved interacting with the tower's inhabitants. There were even times were I had to make moral choices which would affect my squad's synergy, and I loved this kind of possibility. Old artifacts, chests, plants et cetera all managed to create their own atmosphere with their mere descriptions.
Other interactions between your squad members were great too. Every member of your squad had their own (slightly too one-dimensional) character, and although much of the conversations looked ancient, they still had some humor or interesting thoughts in them.
Overall, Tower of Time's story might be somewhat generic and unappealing to some. But its presentation is phenomenal and it makes you feel like you're able to shape it partly yourself.
Event Horizon has made a gamble with Tower of Time's gameplay style. Particularly the combat, which is both unique and not without its speedbumps.
Exploration is the greatest gameplay component of Tower of Time. Most of the time you'll be looking for certain items, locations or following certain routes in hopes of reaching a new event. Since Tower of Time has lush environments with many things to do and find, there's no end to where you want to go. You'll want to check out every single corner, and it's worth it. What I especially liked about the exploration, next to its looks and scenery, was your freedom of movement. I never felt limited in where I wanted to go, if something had a lock, then somewhere on a different route, there would be a key or handle. I kept searching and wanting to search the entire floor. Discoveries weren't rare, but regular.
Despite exploration taking up most of your time in Tower of Time, it feels like Event Horizon wanted to blow our minds with its creative combat. While exploring, you'll occasionally encounter monsters blocking your path or engaging you. Then, the combat section commences.
The combat has no pause-and-play feature like RPGs of the past, but instead focuses on your quick decision making in a fight. Every character has their own movesets, kind of reminiscent of MOBA's like League of Legends and DOTA, and moves around the battlefield freely under your control. You can position your archers and casters a distance from the spawn of enemies, and your knights as tanks can dash to the front lines.
Every missclick or mistake in positioning or the use of skills (your characters have both HP and MP) might prove fatal on the harder difficulties, but if you're just in for the story and exploration, you'll be able to play on easier difficulties.
The combat is pretty user friendly, as the percentage of enemies defeated shows up at the top, so you're aware of how long you have to sustain the battle. The details of your squad's abilities are readable during battle by hovering over them. Clicking anywhere is easy and feels flexible and the user interface is pretty and clear.
Battling has special properties as well. Your damage is influenced by the gear equipped by your characters, there are several elements and resistances, some get affected by certain spells, pretty much what we're used to seeing in RPGs like these.
Also notable is the 'SLOW TIME' during combat, which helps players to think more calmly or to escape situations in which most players would panic. I only used the option when I was in danger and my stress levels would rise, but on harder difficulties, it might be a must-have during every single fight.
The issue I have with the combat is that it doesn't stand out. There's a lot of emphasis on the combat, but I believe only hardcore RPG-fans will enjoy focusing on tactics in battle. More casual players would rather explore the depths of the tower and enjoy its atmosphere, rather than figure out battles without impressive animations or outstanding effects like in Tower of Time. In that case, combat might become tedious and frustrating at times, as certain parts of the tower are blocked by monsters, or you'll get ambushed and have to fight on the spot.
Your progression through Tower of Time is marked by your progress in certain missions, as your progress in the story and your progress in quests are aligned. Your main point to overlook your progress is the city screen, in which you can also do a bunch of nifty stuff like enhancing your weapons and armor.
Visuals And Audio
It's hard to beat Tower of Time at creating atmosphere. The artstyle, the sound effects and background sounds, its polished graphics and movement and inspiring setting make for an unforgettable experience. Despite not liking the story, the presentation of it made up for it in many ways. The production could easily be mistaken for a big project, judging by the visuals and audio. They've inspired me and are to be cherished.
Whether water is flowing, fog is endangering my path through the tower or plants are overgrowing man-made structures, Tower of Time simply feels both alive and dead, like a past glory that has rotten away, with its essentials still in place. The charming drawn illustrations, the fluid animation of scenes and the lively props of the tower are all to be applauded. Tower of Time might be an RPG game with a heavy focus on story and gameplay, its visuals have impressed me most of all.
The user interface is also great. I never had to search for something I needed to find in a menu or tab, which is an impressive feat on its own, since RPG games usually have too much detail for my taste. Tower of Time is user friendly and appeals to more niche RPG audiences, as well.
The audio design of Tower of Time isn't as straightforward as its visuals are, but they're still to be appreciated, since they illustrate the setting even better than with the visuals alone. The background music reveals the presence of mysteries and sensation, the footsteps your squad makes are soft but noticeable, and more common sound effects add to the realism of your experience.
Tower of Time is more than just a good RPG game. It invents some new game mechanics in the RPG-Adventure genre, displays immersive visuals and audio and has a cast of enjoyable characters and identities. While its story is too generic for my taste, most RPG-fans will love it all the more.
Most of all, Tower of Time is engaging, it begs to be played, to be experienced, first-hand. You won't regret picking Tower of Time up April 12th, as by then this game will be finished and have loads of well-crafted, polished and inspiring gameplay components waiting to be played.
|+ Beautiful aesthetics||– Generic story for RPG games|
|+ Polished gameplay, visuals and audio||– Combat can be tedious and unavoidable|
|+ Many options of choice in gameplay|
|+ Exploring is both enjoyable and rewarding|
|+ Feels unique and memorable|
|+ Great price|