Taking on the challenge of creating an old school RPG, Indie developer Event Horizon are developing their first Steam release, Tower of Time, in Early Access. With a blend of well crafted story telling and tactical, real time combat this is a game that promises a beautiful experience with something for those players who love the older style of RPG as well as players who may be more used to newer methods of tackling combat and general gameplay. Despite it’s currently rough edges, Tower of Time feels quite different to more recent releases in it’s genre and offers something special.
The game revolves around a man who wishes to save a dying world and seek the salvation of his people. As a young boy he finds a strange and vast tower that has been revealed by tectonic upheaval. Upon exploring the initial area of the tower destiny is presented to him and he is told to return in the future when the time is right. As the player, upon returning to the tower, you initially control a party of two warriors who are acting as vessels for the main character as they descend through the levels of this huge upturned tower. Destiny dictates that your main character must stay at the surface and witness the tower through the eyes of his champions. Your overall aim is to reach the ‘top’ of the upturned tower where you hope to find the power that will save your fading world.
Any downsides to this intriguing title currently lie in aspects of the combat needing to be polished up and tweaked. Movement around each level is simple with this aspect of the game only requiring players to move around and interact with various objects. When you encounter groups of enemies you are given an indication of how difficult the combat encounter will be based on the type of enemy shown in the party and sometimes the number of enemies. Once you are in the combat scenario the number of enemies that you have to deal with is greater than the number that you see during your roaming of the level. Triggering combat pulls you into a separate battle screen in which enemies will come at you in waves until you have defeated all of them. You initial party is made up of an archer and a melee character so you must use their attacks and abilities effectively to complete each combat scenario. As you progress through the game new champions with different abilities are added to your party and at various points you are able to travel back to the derelict city at the surface to help rebuild it and develop your heroes.
The combat is not easy to pick up in the sense that there are multiple nuances and ways of tackling things that clearly take time to learn and practice. Because of this the first few levels of the tower seem to be designed as a prolonged tutorial to allow you to settle into how the game works. It can take a few combat encounters before you begin to get the hang of things and there is a ‘slow time’ function that allows you to have much more thinking space as you learn the mechanics.
Despite the game running poorly on it’s highest graphics settings, the lower graphics settings still look wonderful, run smoothly and absolutely add to the mysterious feel of the this magical tower you find yourself exploring. The in game visuals present the player with an old school RPG feel while also managing to not feel dated in any way. Successfully maintaining a classic yet fresh take on the genre Tower of Time also features beautifully drawn scenes for significant dialogue sequences and although they are not animated this does not detract from the feel of the game at all.
Along with it’s lovely story telling, in depth gameplay and wonderful visuals there is also an excellent soundtrack to accompany you into the depths. Subtle where necessary and building up more in the right moments, the music is an element that absolutely tops off the lovingly crafted feel of the game.
Tower of Time is an Early Access gem with it’s novel combat system and multiple enjoyable elements. Once you’ve taken a little time to figure things out, this game really shines.