Honestly speaking, tactical RPGs were never my cup of tea. Despite that, I have the rule to occasionally get out of my comfort zone and try a different game every once in a while. It served me well so far and made me discover some amazing games in the process. Even though Tower of Time seemed like something I’d usually skip, I decided to go against that impression and ended up being pleasantly surprised.
In my previous article, I mentioned how the devs put some extra effort in graphics as well as level design, amongst other things. After playing Tower of Time during the weekend, I have to say that there are many other segments of the game showcasing the impressive quality being poured into it.
After a short tutorial, we find ourselves in the mystical world of Artara. Taking control of Kane and Maeve, we stumble upon a tower full of ancient knowledge (as well as enemies). Kane is your typical brawler type while Maeve is good with picking enemies off a distance, bow & arrow style. As we explore the depth of the tower, we will find new party members, skills and loads of various treasure. Seriously, despite having only 4 levels in the current stage, the game is filled with so much stuff to discover. Secret passages, optional quests and journals giving us more insight into the history of Artara. What’s interesting about the real-time combat in Tower of Time is that you will only gain some gold, upgrade crystals and equipment after every battle. When it comes to accessing skills and upgrade points, you will have to explore every nook and cranny for blueprints and weapon/armor forges. It is a pretty clever way to entice you more into exploring and eliminate the exp grinding, which is usually the mandatory part in other RPG games.
So far, Event Horizon team has put their money where their mouths are. The graphics are indeed good, so much that one character will stop and comment how beautiful certain waterfall is. Considering the game is still in early access, I can only expect even more improvements on that front. However, what I found particularly impressive is the voice acting during the opening sequence. Shame we only experience it on rare occasions, since whoever was in charge of it did a damn fine job.
We have a couple of difficulty levels available to us when starting the game, ranging from easy to epic. Think of that last one as ultra hard mode, since one wrong step during combat will usually end up in a complete party wipe. There is also a special story mode, that is a bit lighter on difficulty and enemies health/damage. Some combat challenge is still involved there, but the focus is more on following and enjoying the story without the combat giving us too much trouble.
One thing I would like to specifically compliment is outstanding controls. Usually in these games, I tend to encounter broken waypoints from time to time. You know how sometimes you click on a specific spot to send a character there and (for reasons only known to them) they tend to get all confused, take the longer road or just get stuck in a loop. It is something I encountered in most of the top down action RPGs. Well, Tower of Time seems to completely devoid of that. Even though it is something I expected, I haven’t encountered a single bug related to character movements and waypoints. It might not seem like a big thing, but considering how common it is in already finished games, I find it impressive how one that is currently in early access seems to be completely devoid of those.
If the current stage of Tower of Time serves as a glimpse of what the finished game will look like, it definitely needs to be on more people radars. You have a unique combat system and masterfully crafted environments with a mesmerizing atmosphere. Remember that given the current status of the game, all of that is subject to change – for the better.
Tower of Time is already a special game to me. You see, I have this silly rule when it comes to early access games. Even if I enjoy them in the current stage, I tend to jump into them from time to time, check on the current improvements and still wait for the full release. But then you have Tower of Time who has a crazy amount of content for only 4 levels in the game at the moment, vast areas to explore and interesting combat system that never makes two battles in the game play the same. For the first time ever, I might actually break that rule and play it full time now. I can already say that the game deserves it.