Tower 57 by Pixwerk is a top-down shooter that takes a retro perspective with its 16-bit visuals. It takes the player to the nostalgic era of the 90’s with its simple cartoonish graphics, however, players can expect an intense shooting experience that is fun to play.
The story takes place in a dystopian world, where society exists in towers and controlled by an oppressive regime. The player’s goal is to infiltrate Tower 57 and unravel the mysteries occurring inside. The main quest will let you select three out of six characters including a scientist, beggar, diplomat, and spy. Each character has their own special skills and weapons. They act as lives and when one dies, you continue the game using the next character. The levels are long and is fun to explore. The world is vast with numerous shops, mini-games, and different buildings to wander around. The story is linear and interesting enough however, there are still choices to be made in the game.
The game provides the player a weak firearm with unlimited ammo in the beginning. Random and stronger weapons can be found all over the map and within enemies. Depending on the character, there are special abilities that can be used to assist the player in combat. As you progress through the game, there are multiple upgrades available for the armor and weapons. Extra fire power can be attained by upgrading the player’s legs, arms, and torso. Strategy when upgrading is very important in this game, as upgrades would cost you in-game currency, which can be found as loot on crates and fallen enemies. A slot machine is also available in the game where the player can win money, which will definitely help during the first hours of the game.
Although the gameplay is actually fun, controls can be a little tight. You control the player using the WASD buttons on your keyboard and your mouse will direct where your character is facing. Just like classic RPG shooters in the past, a fallen character won’t immediately re spawn back to the game. Instead, you need to find rare orange balls that you need to bring to a soothsayer who will then revive any fallen member of your team.
The game’s visuals are nice to look at in its own 16-bit way. They may not be realistic, and the game is not trying to, but it works well with the dystopian setting. The game reminded me of titles from the SNES but has improved the graphics with a wider variety of color and smooth gameplay. Due to the limited graphics, the game compensates with high color contrast that makes the art style of the game look more polished and well made. The environment of the game is also very detailed with flickering lights and shadows in the right areas, that shows the developer’s hard work with the retro-revival style.
The soundtrack of the game has a dark electronic and industrial vibe that fits the visuals pretty well. It definitely adds to the air of oppression brought about by the dystopian society the characters in the game live in.
All in all, Tower 57 is a fun game to play. It is a classic twin-stick shooter that delivers a pretty satisfactory gameplay. The duration of the game is pretty short though as you can finish the main campaign within 2-3 hours. The story of the game is linear however it still gives the player some choices on how they wish to proceed in game. The overall plot is not that exciting and there are times when I find myself trying to remember what the game is all about.
The variety of characters and weapons definitely adds more fun to the gameplay. The revival system may not be for everybody, but personally I like the semi perma death situation that makes the player strategize more rather than just mindlessly shooting down enemies.
Although Tower 57 is a good game, I don’t see any replay value in it given its short campaign. Of course, you can always switch up the characters you will be playing for your next play through but besides the different abilities, there is really not much difference. However for the price of $11.99, I can say that the pros outweigh the cons and that makes the game worth to buy. I can easily give Tower 57 a score of 7/10.