Capsule Review: The Deadly Tower of Monsters

An isometric run-and-gun shooter set in a sci-fi B-movie. The combat and platforming are adequate if a bit unpolished, and while the upgrades and the collectibles that pay for them feel a bit superfluous the exploration to find the collectibles is actually fantastic. The game mostly consists of climbing an incredibly high tower and at any time you can look down over the edge, which gives a great feeling of progress as you look down from higher and higher up. If you see something you want when looking down, you can jump right off which feels surprisingly good due to animation that makes you feel like you’re zooming through the air even though you aren’t actually going that fast (terminal velocity being surprisingly low on this planet) and music that sounds exhilarating and free. The game also has some very exploration-friendly features so you don’t regret jumping off the tower - you can freely teleport to any checkpoint you’ve visited or instantly return to any ledge you’ve just jumped off of.

The other main selling point is the B-movie presentation, featuring everything you’d expect to see in this kind of sci-fi schlock film. Monsters are clearly rubber suits, stop-motion animated, or help up by visible wires. The scenery, props, and costumes are charmingly retro-futurist, there’s optional VHS-style visual post-processing, and the music fits perfectly. Perhaps best of all, the film’s director provides amusing DVD-style audio commentary throughout. The game is only a handful of hours long and the mechanics aren’t as polished as they could be, but if you have a soft spot for movies like Forbidden Planet or you want to jump off a mile-high tower and land on a ghost ship with an ape captain, it’s an enjoyable experience. I liked being in the game’s world and am left wanting more.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game and got all the hidden collectibles and trophies.

Docprof's Rating:

Four Stars: Great. Not only did I finish the game, I probably played through the whole thing again and/or completed any optional objectives. It's an easy recommendation for any genre fan.

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