During our tour of Atlus’ E3 booth last year, I had the pleasure of playing The Deadly Tower of Monsters. It was a relatively short demo of the beginning of the game, only enough to explain the game’s basic premise and part of the combat. What little I did see left me hungry for more, and I was happy to start playing when the opportunity arose.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters is a 3D beat-em-up/platformer. As far as the gameplay goes, it’s fairly simple. You have one button for melee attacks, another for your ranged weapon, a “skill” button, and then your standard jump button. The D-pad is used for swapping between your two equipped melee and ranged weapons (which can be equipped at various points in the game world) as well as switching between whichever skill you would like the skill button to activate. Eventually, you’ll gain access to both a hovering feature (by way of jetpack) and the ability to aim down from any ledge to shoot at enemies below. Additionally, holding down either of the attack buttons will allow your attack to charge, which gives your attack a meaty boost to damage when released.
Gameplay is fairly standard, with a few small quirks along the way. The biggest draw to the title is instead its outlandish “B-Movie” aesthetic. The Deadly Tower of Monsters‘ story is that of a special director’s commentary of the low-budget movie of the same name’s DVD rerelease. Throughout the entirety of the game you’ll hear the director and the assistant’s commentary regarding the scenes before your eyes. There is backstory as to why a certain part of the “film” is a certain way, as well as banter regarding some of the fictional actors that helped make the movie a reality. One early example involves a group of very poorly made bat props where the director remarks that if you squint hard enough you can make out the fishline holding them up!
The rest of the game continues with this train of thought. The game comes with a “VHS” video filter by default, and cutscenes are filled with all sorts of allusions to the low budget of the film portrayed. Enemies that are supposed to be costumed actors may readjust their masks when you’re just out of view, and stop-motion animated pterodactyls shoot fireballs at you from the sky. It’s all ridiculously good fun, and everything manages to strike a balance of looking like a cheesy low budget movie while also looking aesthetically pleasing in its own way. In some regards the art style reminds me of the original LittleBigPlanet, with the lighting and the “makeshift” visuals of it all.
As far as content goes, the game is a decent size. The overall story isn’t the longest, but for the launch price of $20 (with a 33% launch window discount dropping it to under $15) there’s plenty of fun to be had here. There’s plenty of opportunity for back-tracking down the tower due to the way that the game is set up. In fact, the game outright encourages you to practice your sky-diving thanks to various collectible rings and targets. Going out of your way to collect these trinkets is practically painless thanks to the quick travel that is available between the game’s frequent checkpoints.
If there’s one thing that I wished the game would’ve included, it would be multiplayer. With how cheesy the game is, and the fact that the story centers around three separate characters that play in practically the same way, it feels almost like a sin that the game ships without an option to enjoy all the delicious cheese alongside some friends. That being said, the developers explained at E3 that managing a connection between two or more people in separate sections of the tower proved to be difficult due to the ability to quickly skydive off of the tower to lower levels of the game. A similar issue popped up for local co-op as well.
In the end, The Deadly Tower of Monsters manages to accomplish exactly what it set out to do. It’s a fun romp through the uncut commentary of an imaginary B-Movie. If nothing else, if you want a game to kick back and enjoy just for the sheer authentic cheese of it, you could definitely do worse than to give this one a shot.
In the end, The Deadly Tower of Monsters manages to accomplish exactly what it set out to do. It's a fun romp through the uncut commentary of an imaginary B-Movie. If nothing else, if you want a game to kick back and enjoy just for the sheer authentic cheese of it, you could definitely do worse than to give this one a shot.