"A Bloody Love Story"
An action RPG. A dungeon crawler. A dating sim. The last Wii game that fan campaign "Operation Rainfall" petitioned to have localized. The (most likely) last worthwhile game to come out for the console. All these apply to Pandora's Tower, but they alone are not fitting in describing its true essence. At its core, Pandora's Tower is a love story… and yes, corny as that was, I did write that in all seriousness.
It's true. Before exploring the thirteen towers that make up the game's setting and taking on the swarms of beasts, your objective is to save your girlfriend. After a mysterious curse begins to slowly turn Elena into a monster, you, her lover Aeron, journey with her to the towers, spurred on by a strange old lady named Mavda who says that by eating flesh from the twelve "Masters" that lurk within, Elena will be freed from the curse. Armed with a sword and a chain-launching weapon, you make your way into the towers, slaying monsters, collecting loot, and solving puzzles as you hurry towards the Master waiting at the top of each one and fight it for a chunk of its flesh.
Time, however, is constantly against you, as evidenced by a gauge that keeps track of how much time remains before Elena becomes a monster. Let the gauge deplete mostly, and the transformation begins. Let it go completely… I won't spoil it, but I'll say this much: it's one of the most depressing "Game Overs" I've ever seen. With not enough time to get the Master flesh from each tower in one go, you must return to the safe haven where Elena waits with the flesh of weaker beasts to keep the gauge from running out.
Luckily, with relatively straightforward combat and puzzles, and levels with plenty of ways to backtrack fast, Pandora's Tower makes it easy to avoid dilly-dallying, allowing you to focus on your objective without being forced to stop or repeat a certain section. That isn't to say that the gameplay is standard and boring. On the contrary, within the confines of having to be as quick as possible, the game offers plenty of enjoyable experiences.
The reason for this is the way Pandora's Tower incorporates the use of Aeron's chain weapon, whose potential is taken full advantage of as far as combat is concerned. Not only does it work well with the standard sword, the chain can be used to tangle up foes, strike them from a distance, swing them around (into other enemies), launch them like a missile, and, most importantly, tear flesh or other items from their bodies once they drop dead (not graphically, mind, but still gross). The chain's usefulness applies just as much out of combat as it does in, and many an opportunity will arise when you'll need it, such using it as a rope to pull objects or swing across chasms, a grappling hook for scaling walls, or as a means to unlock special doors.
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A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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