Game Review – Tower of Heaven
March 20, 2013
Tower of Heaven is a short, but absolutely outstanding game by Askiisoft. The game takes place inside the titular tower, comprised of several floors of traps, falls and malicious gimmicks that put this game squarely in the “Super Meat Boy” and, in some instances, “I Want to Be the Guy” categories. You will die. A lot. If you’re like me though, you’ll devour this platforming gauntlet like there’s no tomorrow, the littered corpses of your previous lives failing to dissuade you from a challenging conquest.
I completely fell in love with Tower of Heaven from the start. The gameplay is extraordinarily clean and top-notch. The levels are clever and well designed, giving the game a consistent flow without leaving the player feeling like there’s any amount of impossibility. In fact, I’d like to highlight this again, at no point does the game feel unbeatable at all. The developers did an excellent job making sure that a resolution to each obstacle was clear and discernible, but still extremely challenging. This game depends on sharp thinking and quick reflexes, and absolutely no lack of precision timing.
The art style is one of Tower of Heaven’s strongest features. The graphics are almost entirely in a classic Gameboy format, giving it that retro-pixel art vibe in a way that shows immense dedication to the style. Appropriate, since parts of this game are very much “Nintendo hard” in the best sense. The music is a fantastic collection of chiptunes by Flashygoodness used to great effect to add ambiance to the levels. The aesthetic dynamic of the game is truly captivating and, quite frankly, made me all gooey inside.
And there’s narrative! For me, personally, I was shocked at how drawn in I was by the narrative of the game. Being goaded by a faceless, trickster god throughout the game brought back fond memories of Portal, and Tower of Heaven executes this method of narrative delivery skillfully. By the end of the game, the entity has a fully realized personality and motive, and the end itself has a level of satisfaction hard-sought by not only the indie development community, but games in general.
Drawbacks? Not many. Tower of Heaven is quite short, however, which is not entirely a bad thing, but there’s a definite degree of feeling that you could last for just a bit longer. There are a few surprises that require level-memorization to get past, but the levels are generally short. The “I Want to Be the Guy”-esque moments are quite mercifully few and far between.
I will disclose that I am a rabid fan of a good fast-paced platformer. I loved the challenge of Tower of Heaven, and if you are one so inclined as I, then so will you. It’s a solid game that I encourage you to download right now. It won’t take long but you will leave completely satiated.
Play Tower of Heaven on PC.
One Reply to “Game Review – Tower of Heaven”
Ah, a classic everyone should play. I almost dismissed it the first time I played it. It nagged at me and I tried it again an hour or two later. I was completely charmed by its subversive game play and its climax has so much impact. Wonderful game with a lot to teach about design and aesthetic.