The Deadly Tower of Monsters PS4 Review - Now, That Was Art!

The video game industry is in a weird space. For the past couple of years, we've been getting countless good games from both the AAA and Indie scene. Nobody can deny that. However, most of these games are just that. 'Good.' Regardless of the genre, these 'good' games often succumb to typical clich├ęs in storytelling, design and character development. The result? A bunch of solid games that people will likely forget in a couple of years. Nowadays, it's rare for a game to actually take a risk and do something out of the ordinary. And the ones that do, aren't usually good. Well, I'm happy to tell you that The Deadly Tower of Monsters is the exception to the rule. It does something I've never seen before, and the end result is a fantastic game that you must try!

So what is The Deadly Tower of Monsters all about? Do you know those ultra low-budget 1970-1980's action sci-fi B-movies with bad actors, laughable dialogue, and horrendous special effects? The type of movie that is so bad, it somehow manages to be a fun time? Well, this game is one of those movies! Literally. Originally out on VHS, 'The Deadly Tower Of Monsters' is a movie that has recently been released on DVD. You control the three main actors of the film, going through the plot of the movie while listening to the director record meta-commentary for the re-release. Gameplay wise, it's an isometric hack and slash adventure game.

The first thing I noticed when playing the game is how impeccable the presentation is. The Deadly Tower of Monsters genuinely looks, sounds and feels like a 1970's low-budget sci-fi movie. The costumes, environments, and enemies. Even the small things like the flickering the VHS produces on the screen. It's all terrible. In the best way possible. They perfectly fit in the world the game is trying to create. The objective here is to climb this enormous tower to defeat this mysterious (and ridiculous) force. How tall is this tower? Well, it begins on ground level and it ends on space (you read that right). During the entirety of the game (4-5 hours), you're just climbing the tower while killing enemies. And believe me, it's pretty damn high. I timed my free-fall time from space all the way to the island (which you're able to do thanks to an amazing checkpoint system) and it took me TWO MINUTES to smash my head into the ground. I have no clue how the developer (ACE Team) was able to render the entire tower without loading screens, but it's a remarkable achievement.

Another thing the presentation landed is the game's music. It's fantastic! Every song in the game is catchy and well thought out. More importantly, they're appropriate. They all have the sci-fi touch thanks to an amazing use of synthesizers. However, they're more melodic than your typical adventure game soundtrack. Flutes, trombones, horns, percussion, violins. This one has it all.

Now, without a doubt, The Deadly Tower of Monster's biggest asset is its self-awareness. Seriously, this game understands it's supposed to be a cheesy, lame sci-fi movie and it fully embraces it. The acting is atrocious, spaceships and enemies have 'not so invisible' hanging wires holding them to the roof, it constantly takes elements from successful movies like Jurassic Park, King Kong and Godzilla. And then, there's the director's commentary. As you play the game, he constantly tells entertaining stories about how people died on set and how green screen was used pretty much everywhere. Of course, he's constantly breaking the fourth wall (in rather creative ways). It's so refreshing for a game to accept what it is, and just go all the way with it.

While the game is extremely innovative in a lot of aspects, gameplay is not what of them. In reality, it's pretty much your typical hack and slash game. Don't get it wrong, the developer definitely makes the best out of it, adding weapons like laser guns, lightsabers, rocket launchers, spears and many more. And the gameplay loop is also quite ordinary. Kill enemies (and bosses), collect gold and cogs made out of different materials, and upgrade your weapons and powers. It takes elements from other genres like platformers and RPG's, but I would still classify it under hack and slash. Combat is solid enough, even if it never gets challenging. In short, the game won't win any awards because of how it plays, but it's far from bad. See, I usually have problems with Hack and Slash games. I just find them dull and boring. However, the world this game put me in had me invested all the way through. So if the game had a typical setting or universe, I would have had a problem with the gameplay. In this game, it was fun. I was just taking it all in, and I didn't want a super challenging experience. Plus, the game is not too long, so it never overstayed its welcome.

The only real issue I had while playing is the camera. It's not as bad as some of the other top-down shooters out there, but it's not as solid as I wish it was. The problem is, it gets too close to the character at times. So every now and then, you get lost and don't know where to go because the camera is almost hiding the right path. This only happened a handful of times, so it's far from a game breaking issue. But for those five minutes I was going around in circles, it was pretty frustrating.

Verdict: The Deadly Tower of Monsters is one of the most creative, fun and wild experiences I've had in a long time. Even if it's gameplay is not out of this world, the world it presents most definitely is. This is a surprisingly fantastic (and cheap) game every gamer out there should consider trying.

The Good
- Unique Presentation
- Open, Linear World
- Self-Awareness
- Fun Gameplay

The Bad
- Minor Camera Issues

Developer: ACE Team
Publisher: Atlus
Format: PS4, PC
Released: January 19, 2016

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