The Deadly Tower of Monsters on PS4
When I saw the first trailers for The Deadly Tower of Monsters hit, I was certainly interested. A top-down adventure game cram-packed with all of the glory of 1960s sci-fi B movie camp sounded like a ton of fun. Presented in the form of a director’s commentary over the DVD release of his low-budget film, this over-the-top title is filled to the brim with humor, action, and more monsters than you can attach fishing line to in the hopes they’ll be able to hide it in post-production.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters begins with the voice of its director right out of the gate, jumping the gun on introducing his masterpiece as the pre-game splash screens roll. This voice, and that of another man named Patrick, are constant presences as players dive into the game. With stage-setting exposition, behind-the-scenes info, and more, it’s a nonstop look at the world in which the game is set, and all the budget-cutting tricks used to help get the film through to release.
Of course, playing the Deadly Tower of Monsters isn’t the same as watching a movie. Players are put directly in control of the film’s star characters, Dick Starspeed, Scarlet Nova, and Dick’s trusty companion, Robot. The story begins when Dick crash-lands onto the distant world of Gravoria, and players will have to progress a bit into the story to encounter the other heroes. Once unlocked, players can switch between any of the three at the game’s convenient and essentially unexplained sleeping pods, which are the first of several obvious and hamfisted plot holes.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters plays like most any top-down adventure. Swarms of bizarre enemies include costume-clad apes, stop motion dinosaurs, bizarre-looking aliens, and stiff-walking robots, to name a few. Early on, I was impressed with the variety of foes, and with the detail that went into creating them for the game. Visible strings holding up those that float or fly, jerky movements from the stop motion creatures, and more little details really help sell the game’s premise, and it’s done remarkably well.
As players make their way up the titular Deadly Tower of Monsters, they’ll face more than just fearsome enemies. Tricky puzzles, difficult obstacles, and more await as the heroes make their ascent up the seemingly-endless structure. A variety of melee and ranged weapons, as well as a healthy dose of character-specific special powers, give players the means to fight, solve, and otherwise keep their journey going. More than once, some backtracking is needed, but a handy teleportation device allows quick return to any checkpoint previously discovered.
Speaking of weapons, The Deadly Tower of Monsters pays homage to a ton of sci-fi tropes and series even here. Ray guns, Tesla blasters, laser-looking whips and swords, and plenty more are at your disposal as you make your way. Of course, it wouldn’t be half as fun if you couldn’t boost up your arsenal, so there’s plenty of upgrade opportunities to really lay the hurt by collecting blue, silver, and gold cogs on your journey. Players will need to strategize, though, as only two melee and two ranged weapons may be equipped at any time.
As far as story goes, The Deadly Tower of Monsters is, frankly, kind of a mess. Considering the framing, though, it’s pretty clearly an intentional one, filled with classic sci-fi tropes and plot holes. Stiffly voiced characters lend credence to the whole B-movie aspect, and ultimately most of the game plays into this existence very, very well. The game’s final chapter, in particular, directly addresses this and features some breaking of the fourth wall that culminates in a bizarre yet fitting ending that is nearly perfect for the game’s irreverent tone and flashy style, even if it feels like it comes up awkwardly quick.
As a whole, The Deadly Tower of Monsters does a phenomenal job of creating exactly the experience that was advertised. Crammed to the gills with campy humor and a series B-movie look and feel, this is nearly a must-play for anyone who’s a fan of the old, cheesy films of the past or who enjoys listening to C-list directors ramble near-incoherently about their creations. With the regular $14.99 price from both PlayStation and Steam enjoying a 33% reduction from release on January 19th through February 2nd, there’s no reason not to take the chance and immerse yourself in the wonderfully rendered low-budget world and enjoy all that it has to offer.