Tower Worlds tries to tower over the competition, but topples a little
There are a plethora of applications on social network sites that are classified as games. So many, in fact, that it makes one wonder just how many Ville’s a person needs. These casual titles appeal to those who are looking to kill time between their stalking…er, browsing sessions, but struggle to hold the attention of most people that identify as gamers. Game-Masters.com has decided to try to hone in on those connected gamers by giving them a title that appeals more to their sensibilities. Enter Tower Worlds. Promising an immersive universe with gameplay that will appeal to the more hardcore crowd, this game tries to stick its neck out and get noticed above the rest of titles that litter the news feeds.
It would be hard to not assume Tower Worlds is simply a tower defense game. It’s basically in the title. Luckily, there is a little more depth than that. That said, this game will have you stranded. Not because it’s hard to follow–it literally strands you on an island after a shipwreck. It’s up to you to make the most of a bad situation. No, that doesn’t mean reenacting “Lost”. Instead, you’ll have to gather resources to create a more livable environment. Much of the game feels more like a real-time strategy title than anything. You’ll be gathering food, building equipment, and other necessities from the land which in turn will be used to create, build and restore.
At the start of the game, everything is taken care of by your character. Climbing trees to snag food, hammering away at the ship to repair damages, building up residences for other island goers to use as shelter–it’s all on you. It’s also expected that you do all this on what has to be the smallest island in the world, because there is almost zero room for navigation. You’ll be cramped in for much of your play through.
This is especially annoying once you’ve created an apartment and other housing facilities. These buildings allow for the placement of residents who are specialists in various skills. You’ll have to micromanage them to finish every task at hand, though they disappear once they are finished, clearing the area of a bit of distraction. Still, the specialized units can become a handful to keep track of.
In standard Facebook game fashion, everything takes time to build. To cut that time down, you can make real world purchases for in-game currency. This currency can then be used to improve the speed of builds and repairs. It’s not unreasonable to wait for some of the upgrades as many will just be minutes at a time, but it still can be aggravating if you’re looking to just sit down and play.
While the city building part of the game takes advantage of RTS elements, protecting the community is done through building turrets to stop invading forces. Combat is given an extra layer of depth by involving your character, who can deliver blows to the unwelcome intruders. The combat works alright, but it’s a little clunky if a creature gets out of your direct line of sight. You’ll have to hope that one of your towers locks in on it, because you’ll lose them pretty easily.
All of this activity in one package on a social network title seems like a lot. To pack in all that depth, it seems like the sound department asked to make a sacrifice. And sacrifice they did. You’re going to want to keep this game on mute to prevent any unwanted bleeding. The visuals are half the reason things get so confusing, as everything is very bright and the modeling is fairly detailed, which makes the buildings fun to watch as the pop up. But that darn song that plays on loop is almost enough to drive a person insane.
All in all, Tower Worlds is a very ambitious project. It hits its mark with the RTS-style gameplay on the Facebook platform. It probably should have stopped there, but it kept shooting and tried to bring in more aspects that were meant to hit with the more serious gaming audience. There’s a bit too much micromanagement even for RTS fans, the tower defense combat falls short more often than not, and the music is downright painful. This is a title that should stay in beta and get a few more things in place before an official release. There’s a lot of potential here, but there’s definitely changes to be made.