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Tower of Fantasy Review

Tower of Fantasy

With the massive popularity of Genshin Impact bringing an open world game to mobile and PC, it was only a matter of time before other games attempted to get a piece of that pie. This is where developer Hotta Studio and publisher Level Infinite come in with their latest title, Tower of Fantasy.

The comparisons have been there from the beginning. A simple online search will net you millions of results of gamers and journalists comparing the two. We even made a few comparisons of our own during our preview of the game.

So the big question for Tower of Fantasy is that is it genuinely a good video game forced to live under the shadow of a much more popular game, or is this just a weak cash-in attempt on a major trend? Read our review to find out!

Tower of Fantasy
Developer: Hotta Studio
Publisher: Level Infinite
Platforms: iOS, Android, PC (Reviewed)
Release Date: August 11, 2022
Players: 1
Price: Free-to-play

Right as the game begins, you can already see the similarities. The art style, even though Genshin Impact didn’t invent the style, the presentation, even the part where you select your gender is done in a very similar manner. Chances are there are numerous other things those who have played the prior game could point out was done in Tower of Fantasy.

One distinct difference I can easily point out is the setting of the game. While Genshin Impact is a fantasy world, Tower of Fantasy is closer towards to that of sci-fi, despite its title. The first enemies thrown at you are robots and there are concepts such as teleporters and jetpacks shown to you in the first hour of gameplay.

So I’d like to begin with the part of the game that likely caught the eyes of many who got interested upon its first showing. This is naturally the cel shaded art style that many would call today as “anime-style.” I can’t disagree, especially given the 2D artwork is aligned with many of the Japanese gacha games that have existed over the years.

Unsurprisingly, this art style is the first point where pretty much everyone made their comparisons to Genshin Impact. To be fair, it’s not like that game came up with the concept, it’s been around for decades. However, as Tower of Fantasy also happens to be an open world online game that looks similar, people were going to notice.

Fortunately, this is where the style of the setting helps gives it a bit of an edge in terms of differences. As noted earlier, Genshin Impact is a more traditional fantasy world, while Tower of Fantasy instead takes a sci-fi, nearly post-apocalyptic world where things are more digitized. This also helps explain why you’re able to change into different characters, but more on that later.

Other notable features visually is that I quite enjoy the filters, which change the color palette so you can get whatever feel you wish in the game. However, I do wish the game was more optimized on PC as playing even on high settings led to low FPS despite me having the recommended system specs.

Now despite as solid as the game looks, it won’t matter without solid gameplay to back it up. After all, this is a live service game with gacha elements. So there needs to be a solid foundation for players to want to come back often to try out new events or roll for new stuff.

Combat is fairly simple in Tower of Fantasy. As someone on PC and using mouse and keyboard, fighting is as simple as just clicking the mouse. Each weapon does have its own unique special attack, where pressing 1 on the keyboard allows you to hit with something powerful. There’s also a neat mechanic where attacking charges up a meter where switching to your other weapon also unleashes another cool attack.

Things are pretty simple and of course there’s also an elemental function to the weapons as well, another point for those comparing this game to Genshin Impact. However weapons, and therefore their elements, are not tied to one of the many specific characters you can roll for. Because of the simulacrum, as they call it, characters in gameplay are more akin to skins.

This is a rather nice thing in my eyes. In this style, you can play as whoever you want, including the customized character that partakes in the story. There’s no reason to be forced to be a character you don’t like for whatever reason, whether you want to stick to just your waifus or husbandos, or whatever else might come along in the future.

Of course, characters are still tied to the gacha element in this game. It’s no secret that you roll to get characters and the weapons they come with.

Some of these drops are super rare with absurdly low chances of dropping, which means there’s still the standard old gacha element that most might get turned off from. And for those who aren’t, they still suffer from missing out on characters they really want.

The elemental aspects of weapons don’t just end at combat. Exploration of the world also takes a large part of Towers of Fantasy. You’ll run around, climb up mountains, and discover many items scattered across the land. Some of these areas require elements such as fire to burn through or electricity to break.

Though while the fear of not having certain weapons due to bad luck might worry players exploring every bit they find, some of the areas do have little “cores” which also solves the elemental issue. So there’s nothing keeping players out from being able to fully explore the world.

Tower of Fantasy sports a massive world by the way. Even with the hours I’ve put into the game so far, I know I’ve only managed a tidbit of what’s fully out there. Given this is a live service game, there’s likely more to explore in the future.

That said, as much fun as I’ve had going around picking up collectables and battling the enemies scattered about, it all feels a little empty. This kind of goes on in a lot of Ubisoft games where I have this issue where there’s a ton to do, but not much substance.

This is where the story should come along to help give things some guidance and structure, as well as more epic set pieces compared to the laid-back exploration.

The plotline does give some intrigue that makes you wonder what’s going on and some of the characters are likeable enough for me to care. However, I feel like the story is mostly there to drive you further into the world and give you major bosses to battle.

It’s hard to judge the story in Tower of Fantasy at this point given this is a live service game. There will definitely be updates in the future that add more story content and more characters to meet and hopefully fall in love with. Considering this, it makes saying outright whether the plot is one worth following difficult to say for now.

Ultimately, that’s what makes it difficult to come to a conclusion on the quality of Tower of Fantasy. It’s a game that’s not complete by design as one following the live-service model. There will most certainly be future updates that add onto the plot and give more gameplay mechanics.

What I can say now is that I believe the foundation for a good game is here within Tower of Fantasy. It mainly comes down to the support by Hotta Studio to make it a strong title that can contend with the now established Genshin Impact. I don’t believe Tower of Fantasy could ever topple that, but it could turn into a good alternative for those getting bored of the former.

Tower of Fantasy was reviewed on PC (via the game’s own launcher) as a free-to-play title. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Tower of Fantasy is now available for IOS, Android, and Windows PC via its own launcher. Versions are expected to come to Steam and Epic Games Store later in 2022.

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The Verdict: 7

The Good

  • Solid graphical design with attractive characters
  • Simple gameplay with good depth to make players think about their actions
  • A very large world with a ton of content to explore
  • Exploration includes puzzle elements during for variety

The Bad

  • Doesn't do enough to differentiate it from competitors
  • Exploring the world can be tedious for collecting

About

Got into gaming thanks to a nice old lady who lived across the street. Enjoy most genres of games.


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