Tower of Guns has a pretty simple premise – choose your starting death dealer and go forth and shoot things until all the shooting is done.
There’s a story as well but its randomly generated and usually doesn’t make a lot of sense so why not just ignore it. I did, and I had a lot of fun shooting things at other things.
So you pick a weapon and perk at the start and saunter forth. Gameplay is thoroughly old school – running and jumping and shooting. But you’ll also fondly remember those old strategies, like circle strafing and frantically running backwards while plying enemies with bullets.
The levels are the same each time around but the enemy positions are randomly generated and the enemies themselves have a huge amount of variety. They’ll spin at you like sawblades, launch homing ballistics or fill the screen with massive rockets set for your destruction.
Most foes aren’t particularly challenging but they do arrive in bulk and the randomly generated nature of the game does mean that some rooms will just be overwhelming, and much easier the second time around.
Die in Tower of Guns and that’s it – game over. You’ll return back to the home screen with the chance to play again and your progress from the last run might have unlocked a new weapon or perk. Given that you know the game is going to be different this time is more than enough incentive to jump back in, and it’s made that much harder to resist when you’ve unlocked a rocket launcher.
There’s some extra strategy going on in the shooting as well. Your gun (which never runs out of ammo by the way) levels up when you collect certain material in the world, which is dropped by defeated enemies. But every time you take a hit this progression will be stalled and even reversed.
That makes for an enjoyable risk and reward scenario with each encounter potentially earning you a better gun (they’re pretty weedy to begin with) but putting you in danger of losing progress or even your life.
It’s a measure which forces the player to be always active and the general speed of the gameplay also encourages that approach. There are also plenty of well-hidden secrets to find, shops and power ups which make your weapons much more interesting, and sometimes very random indeed.
Random is a pretty good word to describe the entire Tower of Guns experience. It’s impossible to know what you’re going to get with each run, in terms of power ups, enemies and even the odd touches of story. But considering this is the work of a single developer – Joe Mirabello – it’s surprising the amount of bizarre content he’s managed to cram in.
Once you get your head around the rule set, it shouldn’t take much more than an hour to complete the game but that’s a good length for a lower priced title which doesn’t pretend to contain a triple A experience. The controls translate well to PS4 and overall it’s a fun if limited and exceedingly random experience.