When Rogue Legacy released, that really sparked my interest in roguelike games. That is, games where a death results in starting over from square one.
With Tower of Guns, my interest in roguelikes has been rekindled, just now with guns instead of swords and knights.
Tower of Guns starts off with a random story each time, but the goal is always the same: clear a floor of dozens of enemies, beat the boss and move to the next floor, trying to get to the top floor and beat the final boss.
The stories are comical, but are enjoyable to experience and add a lighthearted feel to this constant stream of bullets, drones and other enemies. Unfortunately, since they are randomized, you may get interested in a story but never see it appear again, or appear after a few dozen attempts.
Before each run, you choose a gun and a perk. The guns vary quite a bit, from a basic pistol or rocket launcher to more interesting choices, such as a spikeball launcher or Mini-LHC, the Large Hadron Collider. Perks also vary quite a bit, letting you start with a double jump, take no fall damage or more. Personally, I found the no fall damage a key one as you recall gaming abilities you may not have used in years.
Unlike current shooters, Tower of Guns harkens back to twitch controls, where circle-strafing and bunny hopping were key to survival. In fact, one of the best abilities you can find early on while jumping around and killing enemies are perks that give an extra jump or more speed, letting you slide across a room quicker to avoid danger.
Besides dropping new perks, enemies will also drop health, experience to power guns up and currency. Guns level up to five, but taking damage will lower both your health and gun experience. Currency, which doesn’t carry over between lives, is used to buy powerups in the level. However, it should be noted that not all powerups are good. Some will slow you down, increase enemy health and more negative effects.
In addition to powers that increase your ability, there are also mods that can change your gun style. So, a rocket launcher can becoming homing, or a shotgun-sawblade launcher, making guns that much more dangerous. There are also items you can use after killing so many enemies. These also range greatly, from healing you, to giving you extra money or an extra jump, to shooting a screen-filling rocket launcher out to even summing cat heads from the ground (just because). However, on both the gun mods and these items, you can only hold one at a time.
Some of these purchasable powers, as well as extra coins, additional health and more, are hidden in secret areas on each level. There are plenty of secrets to find in a level, and good luck finding them all. Some are hidden behind fake walls, some around a corner or a strategic place to jump and some I question if they even exist. The best I’ve gotten so far is missing just six secrets in a level out of 14, and that was by exploring every nook and cranny the level had to offer.
All this variety means that runs will never be the same. One run, I had 20 jumps I could use at a time and a homing pistol, while another I had a shotgun-rocket launcher with an item that launches an even bigger missile. However, the gun mods and items are also hit and miss, as some runs will give an abundance of items, and others will make you grateful you found any at all.
Rooms may look the same during runs, and that’s because there are only so many room types in the game. Even with this limited number of rooms, the rooms are randomly ordered on each floor, and enemy placement varies constantly as well, meaning you’ll never know what to expect, even if you know what the room layout may be.
While bad runs can end quick, good runs can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes resulting in new guns to unlock o start with or unlocking new perks to start the game with as well. Getting a great run is also enjoyable because of the difficulty the game likes to bring. While some rooms may be a cakewalk, most rooms will have you sweating as you dodge left and right, trying to avoid all sorts of pitfalls coming after you. Also, the last boss has an additional spike in difficulty as well, rewarding you even more for completion of the game.
If you get good at beating the game, there also is an Endless Mode, taking on floor after floor until you finally fall. While there is no endgame reward here, it’s an accomplishment in itself to see how far you can get.
Visually, the style of game is perfect for a rundown tower. Levels feel dirty, like the tower has been let go since being taken over by weapons, and the guns and enemies easily stand out in each level to make it easy to know what to shoot. After all, what’s better to scare you away than a giant rocket launcher firing a rocket that could swallow your body while.
The music in the game also fits the atmosphere given in each level, from the creepy Warehouse music to the hot, fast-paced foundry music. The sound effects are also great to hear, showing how much work was actually put into even the gun blasts you’ll continuously hear.
Overall, Tower of Guns can get addictive quick. While you may run into some items again and again, there’s enough variety and short gameplay bursts that can make you come back to the tower again and again. If you don’t mind some repetitive deaths, Tower of Guns is definitely worth a look.