Screenshot via Destructoid

News Tower (now in early access) boasts the intriguing but brief experience of saving a sinking 1930s newspaper

Extra, extra, read all about it!

News Tower, from four-person developer Sparrow Night, tasks you with saving a sinking 1930s newspaper. The game’s early access release feels more like an extended demo, but it’s one that definitely has me intrigued about the future. 

Recommended Videos

The game begins with you inheriting a small newspaper business from your uncle. The paper publishes each Sunday, so you need to start sending out your small team of reporters to find stories immediately. Every story is marked by tags – like crime, politics, or sports – that correspond to the interests of various readers. The tags you choose to print each week, particularly the ones that make it to your front page, affect how much money you earn. 

That money can be spent on anything from workplace necessities like bathrooms for your employees to printing presses that let you publish more stories each week. The basic system is easy to grasp, and finding the right way to prioritize the needs of my individual employees and the requirements of running a business made for a fun balancing act. 

Screenshot via Destructoid

Welcome to New York 

My first big surprise in News Tower came when I got the chance to plan out my paper’s expansion. There’s an in-game map of New York that’s covered with small neighborhoods you can target each week. Different neighborhoods prefer different types of stories, so as soon as you start expanding, you get to make more purposeful decisions with what your reporters research and what your paper actually publishes. 

Along with neighborhoods providing you with alternate goals, there are also various factions in the city who reach out with their own special requests. The mafia offered me good money to halt all crime reporting for a week, and the mayor’s office paid me handsomely to print a few flattering stories about the mayor’s latest initiatives. These “Hidden Agendas” encourage you to expand into neighborhoods that want to read about what your secret patron has requested, which provides you with another fun set of priorities to balance. 

Screenshot via Destructoid

Sometimes individual stories you uncover also come with their own challenges. The public might show up outside your building to protest a controversial story, or the mafia might send a couple of its members to rough up one of your crime reporters. These challenges force you to hire new employees like security guards or lawyers. Whether your paper is facing conflicts or reaping rewards, everything that happens to it is based on the stories you choose to publish, and that feels great. 

What’s less great is that, at least in the early access portion of the game, there’s no real way to search for specific kinds of stories. You can ask your employees to prioritize finding certain tags each week, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll succeed. Plus, some tags appear randomly and can’t be prioritized. More than once I failed a Hidden Agenda because I was never given the opportunity to publish the story my secret patron asked for. 

Screenshot via Destructoid

Should you buy News Tower? It’s a quick ride 

News Tower has just gotten into its early access period, but even knowing that going in, I was surprised by how short the experience is. The game begins in 1930, and the full experience will apparently stretch into 1939. The early access wraps up at the end of 19932, and I hit that point in about four hours. Between the core gameplay loops, all the additions you can get for your tower, and the various factions you encounter throughout the city, I’d say four hours is just enough time to familiarize yourself with the game’s many mechanics. 

I’d just begun getting into a publishing groove when I reached the end of my time with News Tower. It’s definitely a good thing that the game left me wanting more, but as it stands right now, I don’t have much of a reason to boot it up again until the full release, which currently doesn’t have a date attached to it. News Tower shows some definite promise, but with the way its early access suddenly cuts off, I really can’t tell if the game is on track to stick the landing. At the very least I’m hopeful, and News Tower is something I’ll keep my eye on in the months ahead. 


Destructoid is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Helldivers 2 patch 01.000.203 has fixed that incorrect armor passive
Helldivers 2 solider in Ground Breaker armor
Read Article Kevin Durant’s dream Warzone Operator would have been game’s best skin ever
Kevin Durant's Operator Skin in Warzone
Read Article Warzone’s most popular sniper is so powerful, it’s shooting through literally everything
MORS
Related Content
Read Article Helldivers 2 patch 01.000.203 has fixed that incorrect armor passive
Helldivers 2 solider in Ground Breaker armor
Read Article Kevin Durant’s dream Warzone Operator would have been game’s best skin ever
Kevin Durant's Operator Skin in Warzone
Read Article Warzone’s most popular sniper is so powerful, it’s shooting through literally everything
MORS
Author
Gabran Gray
Contributing Writer - Gabran has been an avid gamer since he was old enough to manipulate a keyboard and mouse. He's been writing professionally and covering all things video games since 2021.