How high does this tower ascend?
TowerFall quickly became the go-to arena game in my household, especially after it hit the PlayStation 4. While there has been a resurgence of the genre lately with new classics like Samurai Gunn and heavy-hitters like the new Super Smash Bros., TowerFall has a certain feel to it that keeps me coming back time and time again.
The new Dark World expansion makes it even better.
TowerFall: Dark World (PC, PS4 [reviewed])
Developer: Matt Thorson
Release Date: May 12, 2015
The main draw for the this $10 add-on is the full four-player “Co-op” mode. It aims to improve upon the existing “Quest Mode,” which previously was limited to two people at a time. While the original Quest is still alive and well, co-op actually feels like a legitimate campaign (albeit without a story), with a clearer view of progression for each level set, culminating in a boss battle. Oh, and just like before, you can play it by yourself if you want.
Here, you can resurrect teammates by standing near their corpse for a few seconds, and the enemy waves feel more relentless and unique. It helps that there are more variations out there to deal with, from baddies that explode after their death, to doppelgangers, to these projectile-heavy…floating things that will annoy the hell out of you. On Normal mode all four sets of levels will probably take you an hour or so to clear.
There are only four bosses on offer, but they’re all fun to fight in their own way — especially the final encounter, which strips you of your ability to fire arrows for most of the fight. These big bads are particularly tantalizing with multiple team members fluttering about the map, resurrecting each other en masse. With three difficulty levels to choose from (Normal, Hardcore, or Legendary, with the latter two limiting your continues), I can see myself coming back for the challenge every so often, especially with friends.
Of course, the real draw here is the core deathmatch mode, which has been improved as a result of the expansion. Two new arrow types have been added, my favorite of which is the remote arrow — a Bomberman-like attack that can be detonated at will. It even has an alt-fire (Circle instead of Square) that lets you lay down more than one. This one mechanic would be enough to deal with on its own, but when you add in the fact that other players can dash into the arrow before it’s triggered to steal it, things get a bit more complicated.
The Prism Arrow is also pretty fun, as it traps someone in a box if they try to snatch it out of the air. There’s just so much more to learn, and the game is all the better for it. TowerFall‘s option toggles are also insanely detailed, allowing you to switch out every weapon a la Smash Bros., as well as change-up pretty much everything else, including the implementation of automatic handicaps, slow-mo, “there’s always lava,” and forcing the arena to always appear dark. My personal favorite is the “scrolling” option, which makes every level look like it’s a traditional platforming level — it works very well with the new DLC stages.
It doesn’t actually change the arena into a full-on adventure, as the level stays the same since players will simply warp to the other side if they “fall off,” but it constantly keeps you on your toes — particularly on vertically designed stages, where you can theoretically fall forever, fighting it out in the air. Other extras including 10 more characters and new time trials. While the actual archers themselves don’t have any unique powers and are more like skins, and the trials feel like par for the course, they’re nice additions all the same. For the record, the game still doesn’t have online play.
If you haven’t picked up TowerFall yet, go get it. If you like it, then buy Dark World. It’s that simple.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]