Publisher Digerati, along with developer Event Horizon, present Tower of Time for review. Tower of Time adds a real-time spin to team-based RPG combat. This aims to put the player in a perpetually shifting field of combat, requiring crafty positioning and understanding of what each character can do to control the flow of battle.
Tower of Time, ported from the PC, begins on a simple story hook. There’s an unusual dungeon in the form of an inverted tower, and the player controls a team of adventurers as they explore the space. The adventurers take their orders from “You” – and, to avoid confusion, the leader is literally named “You” – and partake in real-time combat. The player can pause the combat at any time and issue orders, allowing the player to take easier advantage of natural cover or guide enemies into traps. Power scaling is tightly controlled as limited resources, collected after battles and through exploration, are used to craft equipment and upgrade buildings to train the warriors to new heights.
Tower of Time is in a rough position if you can only play it on the Nintendo Switch. Quickly after booting it up and then wandering around a bit shows how rough the transition from the PC to the Switch is. The polygons are sharp and blocky, walking around feels incredibly clunky as moving the stick only goes from “motionless” to “deep strides,” and there are many odd technical snafus. One that really bugged me as I was trying to get my orientation was how the map screen would open with almost all of the map in the corner and not centered on my warriors.
Adding to the general clunky port issues is the wave of numbers and stats hitting the player with little relief. There are so many tutorials, continuing well into the player’s journey through the tower, that give direction that’s at once too vague and far too detailed. Then add the numbers, so many numbers, with unclear relation to one another. I eventually just focused on a couple, such as DPS and Armor, which served me well enough to make progress through the crystal tower.
Even after the first battle I was about ready to put Tower of Time down and tap out. Playing this almost requires a mouse, something that the Nintendo Switch is not prepared to handle. All motion and targeting is done via a small reticle. With one stick controlling the map and another moving the reticle itself, this takes a lot of getting used to as different actions switch between which stick does what. When I was trying to use an ability that requires drawing a line it felt like an insurmountable task.
Despite my misgivings, I pushed through. Then I had a battle where I needed to funnel enemies around to keep my DPS safe. Even with the clunky controls, I drew walls, set up taunts, activated some rapid-fire damage skills, and carefully sped Tower of Time up as the warriors – for the most part – did exactly what my mind pictured. Despite all the clunky controls, rough visuals, and initially awkward battle presentation, Tower of Time absolutely hooked me when things went, not flawlessly, but roughly according to plan.
The power scaling added to the semi-controlled growth in my ability to control the battlefield. Rough descriptions of additional abilities, or modifiers to those abilities, encouraged a lot of experimentation between whether it is safer to slow down enemies, create better walls, or set better traps. Tower of Time‘s battle system is so good it almost overcomes my screaming internal need to play it with a mouse.
The story isn’t anything to scream home about. While I’m not keen on playing a vanilla white man called “You,” there’s enough interest in the environment to keep me going. Crystals spiral into caves, steps are haphazardly carved throughout stone, and the ramshackle equipment conjures up an experiment gone partially right with my warriors cleaning up the wrong. It engages, just enough along with the excellent combat, to keep me curious about what’s waiting around the corner.
Tower of Time was played and reviewed using a provided review code for the Nintendo Switch.
Tower of Time
If the only way you can play Tower of Time is on the Nintendo Switch, please consider yourself duly warned. This is a rough port, clunkily translated with the consoles controls, and is difficult to get into with its initially blocky and unclear graphics. However, after two or three battles Tower of Time will hook you, and if you keep chugging on through the imperfections the rough outlines of your battle plans will feel so satisfying when they succeed.
- Battles play out imperfectly to Tower of Time's benefit. Rough plans translate into skin-of-your-teeth success.
- Environments aren't just for fanciful drawings and play into how the player will need to move through each fight.
- Even after Tower of Time started to click, the controls remained an awful translation from the PC to the Switch.
- Unclear and blocky character models get lost in some of the dungeon design.
Prognosis is Good