When we tend to think of the games we love, we often don't think of the massive amounts of people behind developing them. After all, game studios will sometimes swell to hundreds of members to meet the demands of getting a game ready to ship for a busy holiday season. Joseph Mirabello, the founder and sole developer at Terrible Posture Games had some experience with working in such a large team as a former employee at the now-defunct 38 Studios. After experiencing that kind of large-scale development, he wanted to experience what it would be like to work as a team of one, and thus work on Tower of Guns
began. Within the game, players face a tower featuring randomized floors, and put their guns to good use.
It's you, your gun, and the tower. Good luck.
As Tower of Guns
is a roguelike, randomization is the name of the game (though this doesn't actually apply to the guns). Each run of the tower begins with one of several randomly generated stories. Then, you start out on the first level, the foyer, and you're off. Don't bother to look for a deep and meaningful story - Tower of Guns
doesn't attempt such a thing - but do give the various stories a read as they are generally pretty humorous. Each level contains rooms presented in a random order and varying enemies will appear. These enemies will drop items as they are destroyed, from health and weapon XP, to badges, which modify playing stats, and gun modifications such as explosives. Each item, badge, and modification is only applied to the current run, so once it ends, whether successful or not, all of those earnings go with it. Also, not every pick up is created equal, as some will have negative results, such as decreased armor, and some weapons mods trade off more damage to enemies with possible damage done to the player, as is the case with an explosives mod.
Watch out for those bullets...
Included with Tower of Guns
are three gameplay modes: Normal, Endless, and Diceroll. Normal is just that - your normal run through the tower. Start at the beginning, fight your way through the middle, celebrate your victory at the end. Initially, runs through the tower are short lived as the guns and perks are limited. With time though, more of the tower can be conquered, and, when all is said and done, runs through the entire tower will eventually take a half hour or less. Endless mode is harder, and will go on until the tower claims you. Diceroll is a fun take on the game, as every room entered now has a different hook, such as more loot drops or losing half your coins. While most gameplay time will probably be spent in normal, the longevity the game has is really more present in the other modes.
... and those bullets...
As the player starts, they'll be presented with two available guns, the Peas-N-Carrots Pistol and the Portable Pizza Oven, and then others can be unlocked by completing tasks such as surviving a certain number of floors in Endless Mode or defeating a certain number of a specific type of enemy. Weapons can be leveled up during each run by collecting blue orbs and can reach a max level of five, where the ammo is far more devastating than it was at the start. Taking damage, however, doesn't only harm physical health, but gun levels as well, and the level of a weapon can drop as damage is taken.
In addition to guns, there is also an assortment of Perks to choose from. As with guns, two are available from the start, Bluegrass, which allows triple jumping, and Lift Ticket, which prevents any damage taken from falling. Other perks, that affect stats such as speed or increase or lower difficulty, can be earned via completing tasks just as the weapons can. These perks also allow for different styles of gameplay. Finding the tower too easy? Try the Tunnel Rat mod that increases speed but lowers armor or, if you really need a challenge, the Nightmare mod that opens after the tower is completed for the first time. Need it a little easier or looking for a mod that might make speed running more plausible? Ok, give yourself more health with the lifeline mod or use the TooYoungtoDie mod that will lower difficulty and grant all manner of other positive perks.
... and... lasers? Now that's just unfair!
The achievements in Tower of Guns
were definitely written by someone who understands what achievements mean to those who choose to hunt them. After defeating the first boss in the game (bosses appear at the end of a level and will have a life bar so they can be easily noted), an achievement
unlocks that acknowledges you have more than one achievement to go. After dying after a boss fight was over due to stepping into the resulting explosion, there was a momentary sense of frustration, but it was quickly mitigated by the achievement celebrating both this success and failure
of the moment. There are achievements for completing runs
too, so there's plenty of encouragement to keep going back. Unfortunately, as of this writing, two of the achievements, one for unlocking all perks
and another for unlocking all guns
are both glitched. Grip Games is aware of the issue
and are working on a fix, but there's no word yet on when that will come.
Think you can make it to the top?
SummaryTower of Guns
comes across as a real labor of love from Joe Mirabello, who even went so far as to add a thank you to his special someone, Colleen, in the game. For me, it followed a pretty well defined bell curve - at the start of the game, I was pretty sure I didn't like it and wouldn't like it. Then, as I opened up more guns and began to actually understand the type of game I was playing - a roguelike FPS - I really began to enjoy it. Finally, as I eventually fully completed a run of the tower and got into my twentieth run or so, my interest began to wane. The Endless and Diceroll modes, as well as playing around with perks, will lengthen the game experience some, but by that point, you will have seen most of what it has to offer. The game looks good, plays completely fine, and is a solid package for what it is. More variety in terms of, well, everything, would have made it even more appealing. If you go into the game thinking of the typical roguelike, where you're bound to sink tons of hours into it in the hopes of getting that amazing loot drop, Tower of Guns
will fall flat. If you want a well tuned, mindless FPS with roguelike elements, however, this game is a good one and is a lot of fun in short bursts.
The reviewer spent approximately six hours traversing the randomized floors of the tower, only managing to complete a run once. Somehow, this didn't stop her from acquiring ten of the game's twelve achievements along the way. This Xbox One code for the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.