Tower of Guns – Rogue FPS done right
I remember saying during my review of One More Dungeon that rogue games may not work for first person shooters, then I reminded myself of the fantastic Heavy Bullets which made me backtrack on this statement a bit. I also forgot about the game which I am going to talk about today and that is Tower Of Guns. The game is available for OSX, Windows and Linux from a number of different online retailers, which can all be found on the developers’ website.
Tower of Guns has no real back story to speak of. The whole game is actually designed to fit into a lunchtime play, so it’s not meant to have much longevity per game, but enough replayability to keep you coming back, and it does that very well indeed. It’s a heady cocktail of first person shooter, with a large shot of rogue elements and a healthy dose of bullet hell, so it ticks quite a lot of boxes for me. Released back in March 2014 the game was developed by just two people and has a very specific and rather delightful art style like a bit of a washed out cartoon. Each game sees you have the chance of unlocking some more advanced weapons or power-ups make your next play through utterly different. Some upgrades are available during play, you pick up coins, health and weapon powers with every enemy you kill in a similar way to the Binding Of Isaac then spend those at the shops scattered throughout the levels.
You start your quest at the bottom of the tower. When you have killed all the enemies, the door to the next level will be able to be unlocked. At the beginning of each play-through, you can give yourself any of the guns that you may have unlocked during play and a perk from the list of upgrades available to you. The perks range from being able to jump three times, take no fall damage and so on. After four or so levels have been taken on, you are thrown into a room with one of the bosses to fight. Unlike most first person shooters you only get one gun for that specific play-through that you choose before entering. This gun gets upgraded along the way, as you pick up the blue weapon power-ups and believe me you need to do this. Tower of Guns is by no means easy, its rogue-like nature means that you have no idea what you are going to face in any given room; so there really is no way that you can prepare. It’s much more an adapt and survive kind of game, but boy is it addictive.
The entrance sees you encounter the dreaded Hugbot. Don’t let their name lull you into a false sense of security; these bots are vicious and should be treated with the utmost hostility. Okay, I might be lying a little here, they are super cute little robots that have a happy smile on their face and just want to hug you and spread love. I’m not sure if there is any benefit or deficit in destroying these robots but it can certainly be fun (and useful because they drop loot) to do so. Upon entering a level there may already be enemies spawned but every level has the potential to spawn more enemies. This induces a sometimes manic style of gameplay which makes your heart beat faster and puts you genuinely on edge. I found more than once myself thanking the game gods once all the enemies were all gone and I could breathe again. Again one of the many reasons why I like this game.
I already mentioned a little about the style of this game but I have never seen another first person shooter like it which makes me want to play it more. I generally die due to recklessness which means that it’s rogue-like nature is not punishing me for no reason which a lot of games that have random generation seem to do. The different guns have a very distinctive feel and force you to adapt a strategy to suit the gun, you must be willing to change on the basis that the environment may not allow you to use your current strategy. The game also has a fun little sense of humour, if the cuteness of the hugbots were not enough there is more to be fond in the form of secrets and even entire secret levels. Yes, Tower of Guns is a good example of how a first person shooter with rogue elements should be done. But that’s what I feel about it – What do you think? Is this a good rogue-like FPS, or is there a better one out there? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.