People say video games are so realistic these days with their cinematic camera angles, quality voice acting, and engrossing ambient soundtracks that the line between cinema and games has been blurring since arguably last generation. Examples that come to mind are Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, Uncharted 3, and Until Dawn. All these titles excel in every characteristic mentioned above and all titles are fantastic. The Deadly Tower of Monsters isn\’t realistic, but it achieves these same same results in a different way.
The main premise has you playing through a movie that is being re-released from VHS to the fancy pants DVD format along with director commentary. Our main hero goes by the name Dick Starspeed along with heroine Scarlet and a robot named, well, Robot. The story takes place on the planet of Gravoria where Scarlet\’s father is an evil emperor who has enslaved the apes that inhabit the world for their gold. It turns out that when the apes die they turn into gold, so the emperor works them until they die. As you may have guessed Scarlet is against this and wants to teleport to the top of the tower where her father resides so that she can confront him in the error of his ways. The emperor, angry that his daughter betrayed him, disables her teleporter and as a result our heroes have no choice but to battle their way to the top of The Deadly Tower of Monsters. Hence the name.
The gameplay falls in line with your typical isometric hack-n-slash game like Diablo and each weapon can be upgraded further with the gold you\’ve inherited. While the base gameplay of beating you enemies down with a melee weapon and taking them out with a ranged weapon may seem like it would grow tiresome, thankfully a cast of quirky enemies and weapons prevents this from happening. You’ll battle men in money suits, stop-motion dinosaurs, poorly flying bats, UFO’s housing an alien brain, stiff walking robots, and a lot of other intentionally cliché sci-fi characters. The soundtrack is also really really good. So much so, in fact, that it almost seems out of place in such a low budget “movie”. I found the director’s commentary funny throughout and the visuals kept me smiling in their authenticity to campy cinema. Each environment is as inspired and fun as the next and had me excited to see what I’d stumble upon next.
My only real complaint is with difficulty spikes. They seemingly come out of nowhere. I found myself breezing through rooms and floors of enemies without any issue only to get trapped in a room with a slew of overpowered enemies. I’d die and have to grind through and make it by the skin of my teeth. Then afterword I’d breeze through again only to have the brakes slammed on me with another room. It’s like riding New Jersey transit sometimes. Checkpoints are usually placed conveniently but again there are times where I’d go for what felt like forever until I hit one. Boss battles were generally memorizing rather easy patterns one moment and having to dodge almost every attack or die the next.
With that said overall I still had a fun romp through the story—which has a twist by the way. For the asking price of $14.99 The Deadly Tower of Monsters is priced like a budget movie and just like a budget movie it’s worth your time. If you’re into that kind of thing. Check out the trailer here and some gameplay we recorded here.