Published by Grip games, Tower of Guns was originally released on Steam and is the creation of Joe Mirabello, a game artist who worked on games like Kingdoms of Amalur before starting a solo project of his own.
The first thing that strikes me the minute I land in my first level is the art style. You feel like you’re in a Borderlands game but it’s definitely an art style that works. The game was designed, in Joe’s own words as “a lunchbreak game” a short game you could beat in your lunch break and it is definitely something I felt while playing, it’s literally just run through levels and shoot everything that pops up.
You start with the choice of two guns and a perk which allows you to triple jump. The story of the game is some random text and pictures that appear on the screen and can be a little hard to keep track of without stopping to read it all and even then feeling slightly confused. But I’m pretty sure that was the whole point of it, one minute “you” are a Burglar planning on robbing the tower, the next you’re cleaning the vermin out of it so it can be turned into a restaurant. You also range from a military guy to a genetic scientist and I didn’t quite get it until the text was from the developer himself laughing at how random his game was and comparing his stories to that of an eight year old.
I liked that he laughed at it because up until that point I was confused as to what was going on. Everything is random, the enemies, the levels that appear in each section and the bosses you encounter. You start in a room full of cute little hugbots, robots that throw their hands up in the air and cry if you go to shoot them but run up to you and clasp their hands together with hearts coming out their head when you stand still long enough. They actually hide a secret you don’t know about until a little into the game, if you are an evil person who likes to shoot innocent robots with hearts coming out of their head, it actually makes your game more difficult and prevents you from entering a secret level later in the game.
The game has around nine stages/levels that stay the same but each section of the level has randomised areas within it. It can actually be a lot of fun just mindlessly going through the levels and dodging bullets while firing back a barrage of your own. There aren’t many shooters where I can button mash to my hearts content. Jumping, gliding, dodging bombs. The game is pretty hectic, sometimes you’re literally surrounded by little flying mechanical bots with rotating saws, that make a noise I can only describe as a robotic groaning Zombie, you hear it and turn around to blast it out the air.
The enemies range from cannons, huge flying tanks, bigger cannons, things that shoot out sawblades and bombs that explode. That’s not even including the mammoth bosses you’ll face at the end of each stage. Huge Turrets, Spinning Balls of Doom, rotating walls of death and a spike room, the bosses can be pretty tough if you don’t have the Too Young To Die Perk which lowers difficulty and defeating these bosses can all depend on how lucky you’ve been with pickups up until that point. Destroyed foes can drop badges that help you or hurt you. Ones for upping the difficulty, lowering it, giving you more health/armour, putting your luck up among others can be found and they can be bought from little machines dotted around providing you have found enough coins.
The random element can make the game exciting and you get extra help after ten runs,fifty and then a hundred. You start in a “Cake room” with extra coins, a gun and a lot of cool perks to help you on your next go. To unlock more cool guns and perks including Nightmare mode which is pretty brutal, you’ll have to fulfil requirements like killing x amount of enemies, defeating a stage under par and without damage. You also find abilities within levels grenades, missiles and a jet-pack which allows you to fly all activated by pressing X and collecting yellow orbs off enemies to fill it up again.
If you get bored of playing again and again, there are also many secrets so deviously hidden in the game. Walls that aren’t really there, ledges up high and floors that disappear it will take you a while to scour every level looking for them and with so many randomised sections within each level you never know what you are going to get or find.
Once you are done with normal mode you can play Endless, where after defeating the end boss it’s back to the beginning to rack up score and this is where things, for me at least got interesting. I found amazingly powerful guns, got my critical hits right up and my speed. I was running around quicker than Roadrunner running away from Wile. E Coyote. Everything went at a quicker pace, enemies were dying from me blinking at them, I managed a few run throughs of the game when I got taken out standing at a machine from a flying saw above. My god mode had ended literally minutes after I thought I was invincible but endless mode for me is where all the fun is.
Overall Tower of Guns is a really fun, mindless game. If you take it for what it is, you’ll have a blast just unlocking guns and encountering hundreds of enemies while not knowing what to expect. The great thing being the ability to leave this game and come back to it without worrying where you are or forgetting what to do. It’s a great way to pass the time.