Review: Tower of Guns (PS4)

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Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3

Extras:

  • Cross-Buy Yes
  • Cross-Save No
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Tower of Guns
Format: PlayStation Network Download (2.3 GB)
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Grip Digital S.R.O.
Developer: Joe Mirabello/Terrible Posture Games LLC
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Tower of Guns is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was acquired for free through PlayStation Plus at launch.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Roguelikes are games where levels are procedurally generated and deaths are permanent, meaning, when you die you have to start over from the beginning. This genre has risen in popularity in the last few years with such games as Spelunky and The Binding of Issac. It was only a matter of time before more and more games in the roguelike genre would arrive on the PlayStation 4 which brings us to Tower of Guns. The game is a first person shooter that is old-school in nature, keeping the story elements light and it pit players against countless types of robots and turrets in room after room.

Mechanically Tower of Guns is pretty straightforward. There are a handful of guns to choose from and you’ll pick one and a perk. The guns are all distinct from each other with their own strengths, weaknesses, or quirks. The guns range from a pea shooter to a buzzsaw shooter to a literal hand cannon and so on. With a total of eight guns to choose from I found the selection to be small, which is a shame, but it made it easier for me to find the gun I preferred and use that specific gun for most of my playthroughs.

… Enemy designs are pretty generic …
The perks are different abilities like not taking environmental damage, a triple jump, and stuff like that. The perks play very important roles when it comes to going through levels because based on a room you are in you might see some collectibles that can only be attained through the use of a specific perk. This aspect of the game can drive a completionist crazy due to the procedurally generated levels which make it impossible to know what room you will end up seeing in a specific playthrough. So you are forced to pick a perk and hope you will find it to be useful when you spot a collectible.

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As a procedurally generated game, the rooms you go through are spit out at random and the enemies that fill those rooms are as well. This aspect is the heart and soul of roguelikes which makes the game more about skill than it does about remembering patterns or truly learning from a previous mistake. Enemy designs are pretty generic outside of the crazy bosses that pop up at the end of each level. Enemies are just different combinations of robots and turrets that look like rejects from Aperture Science.

In addition to the standard mode there are two other modes. These are the Endless mode, which is self explanatory, and the Dice Roll Mode. In the Dice Roll mode the randomness is cranked up a bit because after each room the rules of the game will change. For example, one room might have you leveled to the max while another room will have the enemies maxed out. There seemed to be a good number of variables thrown at you in this mode and it was fairly entertaining, even more so than the standard mode, in part because the game needs its randomness to increase its replayability.

I was expecting more in terms of variety, but I did not find there was enough in the grand scheme of things. Without the randomness of the levels Tower of Guns would not work because of the story being thin and the weapons and enemies being pretty tame. In the end the gameplay serves what the game is trying to accomplish and that is a solid pick up and play shooter.

… a bunch of arenas filled with miscellaneous cannon fodder …
Visuals:
Tower of Guns has the cel-shaded look of Borderlands and some crazy enemy designs made up of robots and turrets that could be the dysfunctional cousins of Portal’s turrets and robots. Now I know comparisons to other games is a cheap description, but it is the best way I can describe things and paint a picture that is easy to understand. The game is just a bunch of arenas filled with miscellaneous cannon fodder for you to destroy and the visuals do not play a huge role. The arenas tend to bleed together in terms or style with little variety between them which definitely can make the game feel stale, but luckily the difficulty cranks up gradually so you die before you can get bored in a session. And the gameplay loop will outshine any lack of environment variance.

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Audio:
Guns and explosions sound alright but nothing really stands out. After the first ten run throughs I found myself putting the game on mute and listening to random podcasts. There does not appear to be a ton of songs in the soundtrack and because of the game’s addictive nature you’ll notice that soon enough and may want to rely on outside sources to accompany your playthroughs.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is a single player game with no online modes. There is however an Endless mode that is ranked by with leaderboard support.

Conclusion:
Now while I appear to be down on the game I did find plenty of enjoyment from it. Once I found my weapon of choice I was hooked in the game’s replay loop. Tower of Guns is difficult and the gameplay is addicting so I found myself continuing to play over and over. The shooting feels solid and it is an easy game to pick up and play.

It was the perfect companion when I was looking for a game to play while listening to my favorite podcasts. The old school shooter fans will feel comfortable playing Tower of Guns while people more used to modern shooters could find this game tougher to get into. There are no bells and whistles in this affair while the variety of weapons and enemy types are a let down the game accomplishes its goal of being a pure shooter and nothing else.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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