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Early Access: Tower Of Time Hands On Impressions

Tower of Time is hoping to continue the legacy of games like Baldur’s Gate and so far my time with the early access version has proven it a worthy successor. It strikes me as exactly the kind of title that hardcore RPG enthusiasts would be happy to get their hands on, the combination of strategic gameplay, stat building, and a so far compelling story that’ll have you up until two in the morning trying to figure out the best builds for your characters.

In short, this game is pretty fun, and it’s also tough as hell.

Rather than trying to go over every aspect of the game in this preview, I want to discuss the meat and potatoes of Tower of Time, that being its combat encounters. I find myself rather impressed by the fact that a game where you’re not directly controlling your characters requires as much attention to be paid as this game does. While you don’t control your character’s standard attacks, you do direct them around the field of combat and activate their special abilities when necessary.

Combat in Tower of Time is very heavily reliant on line of sight mechanics, with battles easily won and lost based on how you position your characters and keep them working with each other. Kane is the party tank, able to raise walls and absorb damage while your other party members pepper the enemy with attacks. Maeve is a marksman, high on damage but low on defense abilities. Aeric is a druid, able to summon an ent and more adept at party healing than Kane.

There are also plenty of ways to customize your characters, and you’ll need to be paying attention to the deficits in your team in order to properly build in response to them. For instance, I upgraded Maeve’s arrows with the ability to inflict blindness, making Tower of Time one of the few games in which casting blindness on NPCs is useful. Blind is great in this game because combat encounters at least early on have a habit of throwing wraiths at you which cast an ongoing life drain as long as they have line of sight. Now Kane’s wall can break this line of sight, but it can easily just push some enemies into attacking the more vulnerable characters. By giving Maeve the ability to blind them, I could very quickly put a stop to multiple life drains.

In a sense, you can think of each match like its own tower defense mini-game, like a puzzle of sorts where you need to carefully move your pieces around the board to handle each threat as it appears. For me this has basically come down to getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter in some matches a couple of times before I figure out the best way to maneuver my characters around. Arrow Time, Tower of Time’s branded bullet time effect, is both helpful and necessary to keep the action from getting overwhelming, not to mention handy in keeping track of who is targeting who (seen above).

You’ll have the opportunity to bring on more companions, up to seven from the looks of the roster, but the few hours I’ve spent in the game so far have only given me access to three. Presumably if I play the game as intended and put more time into crafting/enchanting gear using the available facilities in town.

I look forward to diving further into Tower of Time.

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