BADGP Reviews: Pandora’s Tower
Pandora’s Tower (Xseed, Ganbarion)
Released: April 15, 2013
September 24, 2013
Review: Made From the Right Stuff
Pandora’s Tower takes inspiration from a lot of sources. The easiest description/comparison of the game I could come up with would be: it’s like a 3D Legend of Zelda game with each boss being a puzzle very reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus. Pandora’s Tower is broken into thirteen towers each being a puzzle of its own culminating in a boss fight at the top of every one. The towers are fairly short with the last two being the exception in a spectacular interdimensional puzzle/exploration fest similar to parts of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. The brevity of each tower/dungeon is critical to the design due to a countdown timer. The player takes the role of Aeron. Aeron’s girlfriend, Elena has been cursed and will turn into a monster if she does not consume “beast flesh,” and she must eat the master flesh of all of the masters of the towers in order to be cured. So Aeron’s goal and the structure of the game are clear.
Pandora’s Tower, like other Operation Rainfall candidates, maintains its British voice work and translation. This, of course, is a delight although there are only really three voice performances maybe five if you want to stretch it. Pandora’s Tower is a fairly malleable game that would appear to have many permutations and four different endings. It’s the little things that make Pandora’s Tower even more enjoyable. When returning to the observatory to check-up on Elena she may be sweeping, reading, or even perhaps singing. If the player is cutting it close however, she might be a monstrous purple blob. This is emotionally taxing on the player, seeing her is such pain inspires the player to not let this happen again while providing ample motivation for the player to complete the 14-16 hour journey through the towers.
Unfortunately, the Wiimote controls require a level of precision that may prove more difficult than they need be versus a more precise and consistent control method. This greatly pains me to say. I have long been an advocate for the Wii and its unique, interesting, and innovative control style. This is the first time I think the controls have had a negative consequence on my experience with a game on the system.
The game looks good enough, though a Wii game in 2013 is clearly going to show some serious aging, but the cutscenes look fantastic. And the voice acting, as previously mentioned, is top notch.
The structure and core gameplay are great, refreshing, and engaging. With a good blend of action and puzzle mechanics Pandora’s Tower is fun and it will be a serious contender for the “Best Boss Fights” come game of the year time. Each boss is its own puzzle and I was always excited to see what the game was going to throw at me next. The bosses are time-consuming and intricately designed.
Concluding on Pandora’s Tower
Pandora’s Tower has a satisfying conclusion (if the player pays enough attention to Elena, remember there are multiple endings). The exciting and diverse set of bosses made it a joy to explore the weird world the game creates with some strange lore. Though somewhat held back by the Wii’s system and control limitations Pandora’s Tower is definitely a game I can whole-heartedly recommend.
8.4 out of 10