April this year saw the release of a new and intriguing indie RPG, Tower of Time. The game blends a lot of genre-based mechanics into one unique experience, delivering satisfying exploration, a deep story, entertaining puzzles, interesting characters, engaging combat, and significant customization via loot and crafting. Players are invited to dive into this world to conquer its challenges, and developer/publisher Event Horizon worked hard to make it game that many different types of players could enjoy.
Tower of Time Features
- Story-driven RPG with new and challenging combat system
- 40h game-play time
- Deep and engaging story, told via animated illustrations with voice-over
- Unique lore – as you progress, discover the history of the Ancients
- 7 diverse champion classes
- 8 upgrade-able skills per class with booster options (changing the nature of the skill)
Story and Setting: The Tower
The world of Artara is dying and you are its last hope…or are you? Lead a group of heroes, each distinct in combat and in character, across one huge tower where time works “differently”. In your quest to discover the deep secrets of Artara, you must explore its upside-down tower and face many challenges. Your mission is to find any information on why the world is decaying, and if you’re lucky, how to save it. Players can utilize magic and technology to accomplish their objective, or even something entirely different might be the solution…
Exploring the Tower of Time will reveal the secrets of the past: What happened to other races? Who were the inhabitants and where did they go? Why is tower upside down? All this information, and more, is learned through books and mystical creatures that guide the way to your enlightenment.
The story is very well written and will push you forward for answers and exploring the tower will raise even more questions. Everything you and your team encounter in the tower has a rather mysterious side to it, be it magic, technology, creatures or locations. All of it has a reason for being there and it is your job to find out why.
Audio, Visual and Design
The Tower is divided into 11 unique floors with their own designs and ecosystems, as well as threats. Floors can be giant libraries, elemental caverns or even technological marvels, with enemy variety linked directly to the floor you’re on. On some floors orcs will be waiting for you, while others host elemental blights. In addition there are undead, constructs, beasts, and almost every fantasy creature you could ever dream of.
However, monsters are not the only thing trying to stop you, and combat isn’t the only means of advancement. Puzzles are there to make you think and observe your surroundings in search for clues. They are carefully crafted and placed and are a fantastic addition to the game, which certainly helps to give Tower of Time its own unique blend.
Considering that this game has been made by a small indie studio, graphics and whatnot are really pretty good. Every floor has been made with the tinniest details in mind, creating a unique visual experience. Characters and monsters are very distinguishable and well crafted, and when you consider the amount of enemy types in the game, this is important to keep you engaged and make encounters on each floor feel fresh and unique.
To have a good atmosphere, music and sound effects are vital, and Event Horizon did a great job here. Ominous and sad music in the background is a reminder that you are on a mission with dire consequences should you fail. Music changes tone when in battle, becoming more vibrant and energetic to emphasize the dynamic nature of combat. Sound effects describe what is happening very well, such as rock spells sound like rocks, explosions have their distinctive boom, and healing sounds soothing. And last but not least, the narrator sounds and fits the theme perfectly.
Characters and Customization
As in every RPG, building characters is of the utmost importance and every character is unique with their own set of skills (with branching paths), giving you plenty of options to play around with. Leveling is done by finding blueprints in the tower and upgrading corresponding buildings where your heroes are trained.
Further customization is done through the vast quantity of loot you can find. Most of the gear can be customized even further through the game’s crafting system. Not happy with the item you’ve found? Enchant it with passive property that can change the build completely, or forge new items from scratch and make that perfect piece of equipment.
Crafting is enjoyable because of the simplicity and complexity at the same time. If you want to create something very specific, you can. Not bothered with crafting that much? Just keeping it simple will improve your survive ability a lot as well.
Dynamic Tactical real time combat with lots of stats, enemy diversity and difficulty will keep you on your toes, and provides a good amount of depth. Controlling status effects, buffing, debuffing, micromanaging heroes and their skills can sometimes feel too much for even experienced players, and that is why Event Horizon has made it possible to slow time during combat in order gain better control.
Battles can have there own unique scenarios as well. For example, two of your heroes might be trapped in the cage at the start of the encounter. Or there might be portals spawning infinite number of enemies you have to destroy. These elements help to add variety to this aspect of the game, and it helps to keep things fresh and interesting. And, if you’re still finding combat too easy, try increasing the difficulty which may change your mind all together. Losing battles will serve as a great learning experience, with eventual success feeling extremely satisfying in a way few games can elicit.
Tower of Time is an amazing experience well worth the price tag because of all the things that you get, which are usually in a fully priced game. It is also nearly unbelievable that Event Horizon, a first time developer, could create something so complex and well thought out on there first go of it. Especially considering the blending of so many mechanics into one very well polished product. That is why comparing Tower of Time to any other game is a tough task; there simply isn’t anything out there like it at the moment.
Things that stand out the most are combat and story, and making tactical encounters so dynamic and fun is a rarity. When not getting your hands dirty with combat, exploring and finding answers is always an interesting experience thanks to great design and writing. So, are you ready to take on the challenge of saving the world? Then jump in the world of Artara and prepare to have your mind blown!
If you’re interested, you can check out the game on Steam here. It’s on sale through July 6th!