Beast flesh is finger lickin good!
Pandora’s Tower seeks to be one of the defining experiences of the Nintendo Wii’s life cycle as it begins to wind down in anticipation of the upcoming Wii U. The title is just that -- console-defining -- and it seems to prove every positive and negative impression that critics and gamers cared to share about the platform.
That’s not to say it’s your average run of the mill Wii game. Rather, it highlights all the positive elements the Wii had to offer, in particular the variety of ways in which motion controls can be utilised, but is brought down by the visual limitations seen due to the low-power nature of Nintendo’s last console-effort.
Regardless, it is a title which is well worth playing. If not to experience one of the Wii’s better titles, then to bid farewell to this wonderful machine on a positive note.
What Pandora’s Tower Got Right
Engaging Combat - While at first combat appears to be a case of button mashing, it comes into a league of its own as you progress through the game. In particular, the ability to use the Oraclos Chain in order to hurt, move and manipulate enemies becomes vital to success. Additionally, it is a whole lot of fun to use!
Enjoyable plot - The plot is hardly deep, but it’s quite enjoyable. It almost seems Zelda-esque -- you must traverse the terrors of twelve towers in order to slay beasts, whose flesh can bring your crush Elena back to good health. While the story is relatively shallow throughout the game, convincing characters and a few major twists and turns help to ensure the adventure is enthralling from start to finish.
Great connection between players and characters - Pandora’s Tower is one of the few western Wii games which manages to establish a solid connection between the player and the characters. This is mostly achieved through cutscenes, which are used to great effect. In particular, scenes where the player watches Elena (a vegetarian) fight to consume the disgusting beast flesh is heart-tearing, and really helps to establish a sense of sympathy for Elena’s situation.
What Pandora’s Tower Got Wrong
Sub-par visuals - Even given the power limitations of the Wii, it’s hard to ignore how flat and dull the visuals are at times. While the graphics in this title aren’t terrible, they are not up to scratch with some recent Wii releases, such as Xenoblade and The Last Story.
Annoying tower timers - There is a system in place which allows players to only stay in a tower for so long in one run. While it does add an element of puzzle and difficulty to the game, quite frankly, it feels cheap and annoying. The environments would be much more satisfying if players could explore them in their own time and not feel rushed.
The Final Verdict
Pandora’s Tower is far from perfect, but ranks highly among other core titles which have seen release as the Wii’s life cycle comes to an end. Sub-par visuals and a few restrictions on exploration make progressing through the game hard to stomach at times, however a few compelling plot twists along with a meaningful connection between the player and characters make it completely worth playing from beginning to end.
By Harry Hughes - Bio