A few weeks ago, I reviewed the new Ouya game system. Now there may be a good reason to pick up the console with “TowerFall.”
“TowerFall” was created by a one-man studio (Matt Thorson) for release on the Ouya, and it has become an overnight sensation. At its core, “TowerFall” is an archery combat game supporting one to four players. A four-player match feels very similar to “Super Smash Bros.,” the combat in the game is very fast and furious, and the gameplay is very simple and accessible. Players have three abilities: shoot, move, and jump, but with the small game boards and quick deaths, you have to really think quickly to stay alive and win matches.
Each game board is a static screen, and the characters can jump around avoiding obstacles and trying to shoot the other competitors with arrows. Each arrow can be a very precious commodity because not only do they kill your enemy with one hit, but you only get four arrows to start with. It is possible to ration them, however, because you can pull them out of the walls and out of corpses that litter the battlefield.
Along with the regular arrows, there are treasure chests that appear periodically with all sorts of different kinds of arrows to try out. All of the powers and arrow types you can find really add a lot of depth and strategy to the game. Some of the powers include shields, wings, exploding arrows, and many others. There are also several tricks that can be found on the game boards themselves, such as warping tunnels and hiding spots you can use to your advantage. Each trick and power-up make the game more interesting and frantic; because of the one-hit kills, you really have to make good use of each power-up you find and decide whether it is worth it. Making a run to get the power-up might get you killed.
The single player mode in “TowerFall” is very similar to a puzzle game; you have to smash targets within a certain amount of time. This can be very tough in some of the levels. One thing this accomplishes is it gives you a lot of practice at moving around the game board quickly and hitting targets while moving; this can be very handy when playing multiplayer. Right now, there are about 21 single player puzzle missions, but there are reports that there are more to come.
The way this game really shines is in the multiplayer. Not only can you play the standard matches with up to four players, but there are about 20 ways you can change the rules of each of the game maps, such as exploding corpses, starting with one arrow instead of three, etc. There are also 70 games maps to choose from, with many different types of themes and obstacles. You and your friends can play for a very long time and never see the same game board twice. Another really interesting feature is the instant replay system; you can really rub a victory in your friend’s face by showing them the instant replay, if you are into that sort of thing.
Just like the rest of the Ouya games, you can try a demo of the game for free or buy the full version for $14.99. If you have some friends to play with, I definitely suggest downloading the full version of the game because it is one of most fun multiplayer games I have played in a while. “TowerFall” has no story, and the graphics look like a NES game straight out of 1984, but if you can get past those limitations, you will find a true hidden gem of a game. Just playing the demo single player, I enjoyed this game a great deal, but I was really sold when I played the multiplayer.
If you are looking for a good reason to buy an Ouya, this may be it. If not, there will be a PC release of this game later on this year. If you are looking for a fun, old school action platforming game, then you should at least try the demo. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]