I love games that don’t take themselves too seriously. There’s just something amazing about a game that knows it’s a game and isn’t afraid to point and laugh at itself. This is something The Deadly Tower of Monsters does brilliantly.
Sci-Fi B-Movies are well known for their cheesy approach and of course, their low budgets. Deadly Tower embraces these “flaws” and presents them in a way that’s not only comical but also enjoyable. Even when loading the game up for the first time we’re treated to the voice of Dan Smith, the in-universe Director welcoming to the “DVD commentary” for his movie, and setting the tone for the entire game.
The Deadly Tower Of Monsters: PlayStation 4 [Reviewed], STEAM
Developer: ACE Team
Release Date: 9 January 2016
Price: £11.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
The Director is probably the best part of this game – his sarcastic comments, his explanations of the set, stunts, the monsters and even the characters, not only brings life to the game and the world, but also pokes fun at them both as well. When I first started playing, I ended up occasionally running around smashing pots and plates only to hear the Director comment saying that this action was down to the actors “ad-libbing” from his advice – to make sure every moment was exciting.
The idea of playing through a movie isn’t new to video games by any means but I have never experienced one quite like this. The gameplay itself is solid. A linear action shooter, it is easy for anyone to jump in and play at any skill level. The shooting has an auto-aim feature that definitely helps, and there’s also a red circle targeting system that automatically appears when you engage an enemy that also shows their health. It’s a simple action system that is well made, well delivered and benefits the fast pace of the game.
As for the characters of the game, there are three playable ones. Their differences are more aesthetic than anything, each only different by having unique special. When we first start we take control of Dick Starspeed, played by in-universe actor Jonathan Digby, who is quickly joined by Scarlett Nova, who is portrayed by Stacy Sharp and later Robot, a cliché android sidekick. Nova’s introduction had me laughing probably more than it should have. Director Dan Smith makes a big deal about how she, Nova, is rescuing Dick the giant Gorilla that holds him hostage. Smith comments that the scene was “ahead of its time” and “progressive”. The dialogue is delivered brilliantly, it makes you laugh and you can actually believe that there were directors in the past that really thought like this – that their cheesy sci-fi movie was a work of art and a masterpiece.
It’s this kind of humour that really got me into this game. As I led my character further into the Tower, there were times that I actually had to take a second to step back and appreciate the setting the developers had created. This is a really strong graphical piece, and thanks to camera’s fluidity, we get a great look at the world we’re playing in. Another fantastic feature is the fact you can change from the DVD quality picture settings to the worse off VHS settings. There are even forced black and white “scenes” due to the movie’s budget that just add to the comedy of this game. The monsters, however, are the icing on the cake. From the cliché monkey race and the stop motion dinosaurs (fantastic idea!) to the Energy Imps and the Squid, there’s just so much diversity that changes the game up and brings a freshness to a fast pace environment.
The whole movie seems vibrant with the graphical effects, but the musical score is another fantastic piece of this game. It perfectly captures the movie feel perfectly but isn’t as over bearing as some soundtracks can be. It certainly helps bring you into this game’s world with classic movie orchestration.
This is certainly a fun and entertaining game that many types of people could really enjoy, however, there are a few downsides present. It’s a short game – it wouldn’t take most people more than a couple of hours to complete, maybe a bit more for those who want every upgrade or to complete every mission, and surprisingly there is no way to carry over loot or advancements over to a new game after initial completion. Honestly, this really hurts the game. The Ratchet and Clank series has long been a favourite of mine, and the Challenge Mode aspect is something I adore and I think all games of this type require this type of option – Deadly Tower is no exception. I certainly enjoyed playing the game but realistically there is not much point in playing through it more than once except maybe in a year when I’m bored or fancy a laugh but otherwise, I’m set.
Don’t let the lack of carry over save put you off The Deadly Tower of Monsters is a fantastically crafted game that anyone can enjoy. It’s a brilliant play and I would certainly recommend anyone to try it once! For fans of indie games, this is would be a terrific addition to your collection and casual gamers will see this as a great example of why gaming can be so fun. While the lack of replay value might sting for the hardcore gamers, there are still challenges and fun trophies to unlock.