Comedy is often difficult to pull off, especially in gaming. However, there are developers who take the opportunity to bring across their weird brand of humor through an interactive medium. Enter Tower Princess by the AwekteaM. A take on the classic trope of going on a quest to rescue a princess, it also brings along an interesting mix of mechanics that all work to create an unexpected experience. Whether you’re jumping right in or trying to grind all the way through, you’ll likely be spending a fair amount of time wandering around this tower full of princesses… and maybe a dragon too.
Building Tower Princess
With rogue games, the story typically needs to present an overall goal with lots of little tidbits here and there to add flavor. Tower Princess has a goal and sprinkles some weirdness here and there. As the legend goes, there is a tower controlled by a powerful dragon. Over the years, said dragon has terrorized many kingdoms, kidnapping their princesses and princes only to lock them in cages. As a nameless warrior seeking to become a hero, you decide to venture into the tower in order to save as many as you can and defeat the dragon. With so much royalty in distress, how could you possibly refuse the call?
A Solid Tower Princess
When building any sort of structure, you need to make sure it has a solid foundation. Tower Princess certainly has things holding it up. The main pillar is its cartoon nature. The overall game feels like a quirky cartoon show that aired in a time slot where kids were never around to see it. All the characters and enemies feel goofy and clunky, which works in its favor. The tower itself is more akin to a fun house than a dungeon, and that’s just fine. It only means more novelty and weirdness to take in as you explore.
Then there’s the whole princess and prince mechanic. Each time you enter the tower, you’re likely to encounter a royal heir in a cage that you free with little effort. From then on, each subsequent run will give you a choice of a princess or princess you’d like to take along. Each one is invulnerable and provides banter to keep you company. Their biggest contribution is being able to use a special ability that can have varying effects. Some focus on damage, others on status effects, and some affect the hero. Pick and choose your perfect match to get further up the tower.
Lastly, there’s a surprising number of items to find. They can be as simple as health potions or as niche as traps. You have four slots to work with, so mix and match items as you see fit. When things get hairy, you’ll be happy to have a full backpack.
Could Use Some Maintenance
Even the strongest buildings begin to crack over time, but the goal is to put that off as long as possible. In Tower Princess, some of the damage is already beginning to show. The biggest is the severe limitation of the princesses and princes. Although they’re amusing with interesting abilities, there are just too many for how little they do. It’d be cool if you could mix and match their abilities or if they provided some sort of passive effect as well. Also, depending on the boss, some of them will be completely ineffectual.
Unfortunately, things only get more messy from there. While the wacky and haphazard layout adds to the funhouse atmosphere, it also affects the game in a technical way. The hero can clip around and get stuck, while enemies can have trouble just getting to you. Some chambers are just a mess with no rhyme or reason for their setup, which can be off-putting. The UI is also a bit sloppy, particularly in the hub area when you’re trying to buy upgrades but can’t even navigate through the menu.
You also only get two heroes to pick between, one ranged and one melee. They’re different enough, but the game expects you to grind just to make them more distinct. You need to grind for new weapons, grind for enough level-ups to earn enough points for upgrades, grind to get useful abilities… it’s all a grind. The beauty of rogue games is that it’s about growth during the run, not in between them.
Visiting The Tower Princess
Tower Princess is a 3D roguelite about saving multiple princesses and princes from an ever-changing tower and trying to fight a dragon. It’s full of light-hearted wacky humor and an interesting take on companions with a wide range of items to try out. Unfortunately, your companions are severely limited, and the messiness of the game becomes more apparent the more you grind. However, there’s rescuing to be done, and the Tower Princess is the place to do it.
Will Quick is a freelance media wizard living in Spain. When he's not gaming or writing, he's doodling comics or whatever else pops in his head.