Guns. Lots and Lots of Guns.
How many people remember the Dr. Seuss book “Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish”? It was a book that focused on a bunch of different fish in the sea. The start of this review could start off the same way, but with guns. What different types of guns are in Tower of Guns? Big guns, small guns, guns that shoot bombs, guns that shoot blades, guns on the ceiling, guns on the floor, guns on the walls, guns that move, guns that spin…. There are tons of guns in Tower of Guns. However, does this game tower over the competition, or is it simply shooting air?
A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action
The story, or rather, stories in Tower of Guns are both shallow and hilarious. Since Tower of Guns is roguelike, the game is designed to have the player die over and over. Because of this, the designer made several small mini-stories that are randomly selected for the player to go through. The player could control a secret agent trying to find his partner or even a confused man just trying to find his way out. The dialogue is humorous and at times fourth wall breaking. For example, one playthrough can feature a special agent dog getting to the top, a man trying to deliver groceries to an old lady that lives on top of the tower, an 80’s style text adventure or the developers of the game having a room-by-room discussion about the game itself.
Tower of Guns has an interesting graphical design. At first glance, the game seems to take inspiration from cel-shading like Borderlands. However, the graphics are simply low quality and don’t have the most interesting textures, although the lights and lava effects are great. This, I feel, is an interesting art style and doesn’t take away from the game. It has an odd feeling of something covered in rust and dusted off the shelf. I enjoy that aspect.
The music and sound design is great and serves its purpose. While I could not find myself listening to the soundtrack while walking along the street, I can say that it does get me pumped for the rooms ahead. The guns and grunts that my character makes are well done and help me get immersed in the game.
Spray and Pray Gunplay
However, the one thing that gets me into the game the most is the gameplay. If people know me, I am a huge fan of roguelikes (and misspelling the word “rogue”) and play through them often. Tower of Guns is no different. I may have died many times, but the gameplay is so easy to get back into that it doesn’t hinder the experience. At the beginning of every match, there is an option for unlockable guns and perks. These range from a shotgun to a machine gun to the 609mm gun. The perks have a wide range of effects, from providing a triple jump from the start, a lower difficulty or even the ability to level the gun more than the in-game limit. I traditionally found myself with the gun that shoots spiked balls shotgun-style along with a perk that keeps loot from disappearing.
The one complaint I have about the gunplay is the lack of an option to aim down the sights. When I had the starting pistol, it was hard to hit the enemies without proper aiming. However, the purpose of Tower of Guns is just to get to the top of the tower, and clearing out the enemies is not mandatory. Simply shoot the door and move on until the boss. The other reason this nitpick is minor is because I would classify the gunplay as “spray and pray”. The mechanics of the game focus less on aiming and taking out every enemies and more on constantly shooting at whatever is moving and moving and jumping to dodge bullets and collect the loot.
Loot can span from health pickups to level pickups, which can restore your health up to maximum or helps improve your weapon up to level five respectively. Since getting hit both takes away your health and weapon upgrades, getting these are paramount. Enemies also drop money and yellow dots that refill your item bar. Money is used to purchase items found around the tower. These can include buffs like higher damage and armor, items like a critical damage boost or even badges like an increase to the maximum amount of health or another available jump.
The level design really helps the gameplay. Much of the game takes place in large open areas with tons of things trying to kill you. Because the game relies so much on movement, the areas provide not only more area to move around in but also space for the guns to chase you.
One of the few hiccups I see is the framerate. Sometimes there are so many guns and bullets on screen that the game chugs to get everything on screen. Most of the time it remains consistent, but the times that the game falters is very noticeable and in a game where movement and reactions are key, this can be a very serious problem.
Another oversight is the lack of coop. The game has enough space for a magnificent adventure. However, there are separate modes like Dice Roll and Endless that provides enough variety that I am willing to overlook this for the most part. That still does not excuse the fact that this would have been amazing.
The Verdict: 8.1 out of 10
Tower of Guns has its flaws, but I keep going back to it. The fun of just one more round at the tower keeps me from putting it down. With a nice variety of weapons, perks and items to get, it provides an experience in one round that you may not see for the rest of the game. It has great humor, an impressive art style, movement that feels right at home and so many moments where I was trapped in a corner and forced to shoot my way out. If only it added more things like co-op and fixed things like framerate, then I could see myself playing it more than I already am.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.