Tower Of Time offers far more depth than one might suspect and if you have interest in it already, I’d recommend just giving it a go. It’s low price point and high playtime might make you suspect it falls in areas. Whilst there are criticisms to be made, it is clear that this is not the case. Tower of Time is made with love and, most importantly, respect for the classics that came before it.
One of the hidden strengths of Tower of Time is its story, and way of telling that story. “The story needs to be told and if there is no one left to tell it, its meaning will be lost” This opening statement sets you up for Tower of Time very well. You are told a story before its too late. The storyteller calls himself “hero”, one who sacrificed everything to save his people and, and the destroyer, who betrayed the trust of all races and brought the end of times. So far, so dark fantasy. You are there to judge him and his story. After this, you are brought 25 years prior where you follow a young boy and his exploration into a dark cave. For now, this is pretty much all you need from the story. It adapts on this base foundation very well, with new characters and ideas, but to talk anymore about it will spoil it so let’s move onto the subtle storytelling.
Tower of Time uses its characters in great ways. Rather than just having base classes that are swapped interchangeably, each character you find has a unique personality that bleeds into their skills and even the equipment they can use. If a character is ranged with a focus on speed, that effects the way they look and even their personality. Tower Of Time has a big focus on its narrative that is easy to miss. It cleverly uses dialogue between characters as a subtle way of giving more insight into the world. It also uses optional scrolls and books to tell the majority of the story. This is great as you gives you a genuine reason to search each level and find each secret. This isn’t only emphasised with its use of story, it is practically sewn into every feature Tower of Time has.
One particular feature is that of Gold. Your characters are already as experienced as they possibly can be which cleverly removes EXP systems. Instead, Tower of Time opts to gear up and upgrade your characters through the use of Gold. You must first upgrade the system they train at, then use Gold to upgrade their stats and give them skill points to allocate. These can be used to focus on your strength, speed, magic, and HP allowing you to customize your build somewhat. Gold can be found on the floor around each area, further promoting the exploration aspects.
Another way to find Gold is combat. This has a distinct flair, mixing classic CRPGs with an RTS element. Combat brings you to a new area like that of JRPGs and shows you the layout you now find yourself in. You may adjust your characters and look around before confirming the start of the battle. After confirming, enemies come pouring out of areas almost like in a tower defence title; you must defend an area, attack an area, or simply kill all enemies. Each character can be manually selected and their abilities used.
One particularly potent combo is the mix of a wall trapping enemies in and an ice shower, slowly bringing down their health – a great way to deal damage and give yourself a needed breather. This can be done by quickly swapping between characters or slowing everything down Dragon Age-style. You can pause the game and give individual orders to each combatant. This works very well by smartly cutting off certain areas or buffing certain characters. It gives a level of tactic-ality that doesn’t exist in most action RPGs. Unfortunately, all is not great within combat. On three separate occasions, bosses were brought to zero percent health but would not die, resulting in a start over. This isn’t too bad in a small fight, but very frustrating in a fight you’ve barely won. As well as this, the same arena-style combat areas and enemies are repeated a little too often resulting in the combat feeling rather repetitive. The same can be said of the exploration. Whilst collecting Gold and items is great, the puzzles are inconsistent and exploration starts to feel far too similar. The overall experience might have benefited from a little less playtime in return for more dynamic systems and changes.
This all being said, Tower of Time is dark, rewarding and interesting. It relies on some dark fantasy cliches but offers enough originality to stand out in an over-saturated market. If you like old school CRPGs, this is absolutely worth your time
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.