Shooters, the genre you really can’t do a lot with. Sure, you can get creative with what they shoot, but shooters are rarely the best games of the year in which they are released. Some show that you can do more than shoot people in the face, like Spec Ops: The Line and Wolfenstein: The New Order, where they focus on story more than filling a person’s face with lead. Another great example would be Nintendo’s Splatoon that does away with a lot of annoyances, and is honest-to-goodness one of the most fun games of 2015. Today’s game decides to change up the shooter genre by adding in randomized levels and old-school design. Yes, today’s review is of Tower of Guns. I mean, you saw the title of the review, right? Developed by Terrible Posture Games, Tower of Guns was released on Steam back in 2014, and was brought to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PlayStation 3 on April 7th, 2015. So, does this roguelike succeed in breathing life into a rather uncreative genre?
The game has no real story, since every time you enter this mighty tower of guns, the story changes. The stories can be humorous, but I will get to the complaints about it later. Before you enter the tower of firearms, you choose one gun from a variety of guns, and a perk. Once you go in, you will need to shoot your way through multiple rooms of guns, blades, and other things that would make the NRA squeal like a schoolgirl. While you go through these rooms, you will need to make sure to collect money, health upgrades, gun upgrades, and special perks like increased damage, double-jumping, and the ability to lay mines on the ground. The big gimmick of this first-person shooter, besides the randomized levels, is that it plays like a bullet hell game. For the one or two that may not know what a bullet hell is, it’s where you are shot at with what seems like a million bullets at once. Even though you are getting shot at a lot, the bullets actually come at you slowly so dodging them can be easy. This game definitely and obviously takes its inspiration from the shooters from the late 90s-early 2000s, like Quake, Doom, and Unreal Tournament. This means no ironsights or anyway to make sure your shot is accurate. Just move, shoot, and don’t die. Each time you die, you lose everything, but hopefully, if you have completed one of the requirements, you unlock new perks and guns. Outside of the main game, you also have an endless mode where you go as long as you can. The final mode is called Dice Roll, where each level will set up some random effects, like with what kind of loot you will gain in the game. Overall, the game is short, but it’s designed in the way to be played in short bursts.
Tower of Guns’ graphics are nice on the eyes. If you love games from the now-tainted developers at Gearbox Studio’s Borderlands franchise, then you will like the look of Tower of Guns. It is brightly colored, and looks like something out of a comic book. The music is unfortunately forgettable. Then again, you probably don’t want music to distract you from all the bullets trying to turn you into Swiss cheese.
Anyway, what is wrong with this game? Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have a whole lot of replay value. I say this because, a lot of the time, the game makes you feel like you aren’t making much progress, since you die and don’t carry anything over to your newest character in each play-through. I think a lot of roguelike games suffer from this since they want to be more enjoyable to play, but stay true to the core design of a game of this genre. While playing this on my PlayStation 4, I saw some major slowdown in one specific level where you can’t see anything and due to how much stuff is on the screen, it causes a huge amount of slowdown, which is very jarring. It never made me want to explore that level for the secrets that it might hide. I wanted to get to the next part of the level so I didn’t have to deal with slowdown. I also found the secrets to be not that helpful. Sure, if you find a certain amount in one level, you unlock a new gun, but the levels seem to be set up for one type of perk to find certain secrets, so if you end up on that level with the wrong perk, well, that’s too bad for you. I also find the lack of any actual story disappointing. You have this fun interesting setting, a tower of guns, but no real story. Why is it there? Who made it? Why do people go into its depths? What’s at the top of the tower? It would be nice to see a roguelike game be story-focused, since I like having a good story, or at least a story to follow in any game I play.
Overall, I like Tower of Guns, but I don’t think I would have bought it at the price it is right now if I didn’t have PlayStation Plus. I also find myself not playing for long periods, and enjoying other games in the genre like Ziggurat even more. If you see this game on Steam or PlayStation 4 at a lower price point, and love these types of games, then I would recommend getting it. It’s a good game, but it’s unfortunately caught in the flood of other games that seem to populate the indie scene. Still, it’s worth checking out!
This game gets a 7 out of 10