Roguelike games are an oddity to me. If I am to invest hours and hours into a game, I intend to see the character I control develop both in power, and in personality. I want to see a story unravel like a good novel. Roguelike is a genre of video games that generally throw these concepts out the window in favor of a more arcade-like experience. Your character doesn’t grow and progress, and once you die, the next game you play starts over again from the beginning. Tower of Guns, an homage to the first-person shooters of old, is a roguelike, but gives players a rather great return in their investment.
With randomly generated levels each time you start a game, Tower of Guns keeps you on your toes. In addition, with each new game, your character starts out as a blank slate – with no inherent abilities. However, prior to beginning a game, you can choose one gun and one perk, from a list of weapons and abilities that continuously progresses from game to game. As you play each game and accomplish various feats (i.e., kill a certain number of a type of enemy, or kill a certain boss), you unlock weapons and abilities from that ever-growing list.
You’ll find that while initially, your arsenal isn’t very powerful, the weapons and abilities that you will eventually unlock pack an increasing amount of punch. The weapons vary as well, from a gatling gun, to a gun that fires explosive projectiles. The perks range in the ability to triple-jump, to having a fully-upgraded weapon from the start of the game (guns are upgradeable during each game).
Enemies in Tower of Guns are essentially giant weapons. There are cannons, turrets, and even non-stationary enemies. Many of the enemies fire giant, slow-moving projectiles, which at first seem to be easy to navigate around, but what makes Tower of Guns a blast to play are the vast number of enemies that spawn in any given level. There might be hundreds of bullets firing at you at any given time, from every angle. Choosing the right perk and weapon is absolutely essential to being able to dodge and withstand the bullets and projectiles, and of course, to destroy the enemies.
And then there are the bosses. Imagine a giant gun that is several stories tall, and is completely surrounded by cannons. It is an awesome and terrifying experience at first, and what is beautiful about this game is that taking on the bosses can be an impossible feat initially, but as you unlock more powerful weapons and perks, the next time you encounter them, you’ll find yourself breezing through them. That is, until you encounter an even tougher boss!
Tower of Guns can be punishing at first. It took me about eight attempts before I was able to unlock powerful weapons to get through several bosses. The feeling I had when I was able to finally defeat the first boss was exciting, and it is quite rewarding to progressively unlock my arsenal of weapons and perks. I’ll follow-up with this story and post a complete review once I unlock everything, but from what I’ve played so far, this game is a fantastic game that offers great action for a quick game or two, and great pay-off for longer gaming sessions.
Tower of Guns is available now on Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One for $15.