On Monday of this week, Steam had a daily deal for the game The Deadly Tower of Monsters which I quickly snatched up. I’d never heard of the game before but it’s B-movie theme was more than enough for me to give it a try. I didn’t grow up during the era of these films, but I did watch a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 when I was in high school and the retro sci-fi aesthetic alongside low budget creatures and aliens was really appealing to me. I’ve only played The Deadly Tower for about an hour but so far it is not only visualy engaging and clever but the actual gameplay and mechanics are novel as well.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters is developed by ACE Team and is a three quarters view game similar to Diablo but otherwise shares little resemblance to the ARPG genre. Movement uses the WASD keys and mouse combined with the keyboard determining the direction of your feet and your mouse the direction your character faces. This means you can run in one direction while shooting in another. It also means you look hilarious when you run. The left mouse buttons uses your melee weapon and your right mouse button uses the ranged weapon. Eventually you will have several to choose from but can only have two equipped at once of each kind, melee and ranged.
The camera angle shifts to top down when you are shooting enemies below your character.
The game is played as much in the vertical space as it is the horizontal which means characters may jump, dive off the edge the tower, uses rocket boosts to long jump or slow a fall, and air teleport back to the ledge they fell from if necessary. There is also a form of combat in which you are aiming down at enemies coming up to attack your character. Combat is somewhat challenging as is navigating the environment but not so much that it’s frustrating. The game provides checkpoints where you can save your progress, otherwise you will lose anything you’ve accomplished after that save.
You can free fall, but will have to use your rocket boost to slow your descent at the last minute.
The theme of The Deadly Tower of Monsters is where it really shines though. As noted before, the game is styled in the fashion of a B-movie, so much so that as you are playing, two narrators take on the role of director, talking you through this “DVD release” of the film. That’s right, the game is you playing through the movie while the director discusses costumes, set design, stunt doubles, and other insider anecdotes about the film. The developers even went so far as to give the game visual effects that mimic old films, including monsters that move like stop-motion creatures and transparent strings attached to flying space ships, bats, and even your character when they free fall.
Scarlet Nova is my favorite character to play as but you can switch freely between her, Dick Starspeed, and the Robot.
That’s all I really can say about the game at this point, but if you have any interest in B-movies it’s definitely worth the $15 regular price and if you can get it on sale, well that’s even better. I’ll post more as I get further along in the game but for now I’ll leave a few more screenshots. The dialogue and visuals alone are worth the price of admission.
Before playing you may want to go to the audio settings and turn off the subtitles for better screenshots. Or you may want to capture the narrators’ banter!
Dick Starspeed, intrepid explorer of outer space!
Here you can see the three quarters view, the HUD, and one of the stop motion dinosaurs.
Dick Starspeed in this “scene” is nothing more than a cheap mannequin. The giant gorilla was animated with choppy movements a la stop motion.
At one point during a cut scene this happened, the “film” wasn’t working correctly. It was actually used to explain (or more accurately explain away) one of the game mechanics.
Watch out for the squid men! Apparently played by the producer’s nephew or some such.
These lizard men as well as some of the ape men in the game look hilariously like B-movie creature costumes.
I think we need one more screenshot of Scarlet Nova.