Tower of Fantasy Review

When Genshin Impact launched in 2020, it became one of the most successful free-to-play games of its kind. Tower of Fantasy by Hotta Studio aims to challenge Genshin Impact for the Gacha throne; however, this sci-fi MMO is a bit too derivative, introducing some new ideas that fail to make a convincing case for why fans should spend their time and money On such an unpolished game.

Tower of Fantasy isn’t a new game; in fact, the game first launched in China late last year and only gained a foothold in the West a few weeks ago. With games like Genshin Impact approaching the two-year mark, players might be looking for a new shared-world gacha game to delve into, and Tower of Fantasy comes at just the right time. On paper, Hotta Studio’s debut game looks like it should be everything miHoYo’s hit F2P game is – adding mounts and paying special attention to MMO elements like PvP. In practice, however, none of its core components lead to anything exciting or worthwhile.

From the beginning of the story, players take on the role of The Wanderer: an adventurer who finds himself separated from his twins at the beginning of the game and ends up in a small colony on the planet Aida. The Genshin parallels are already starting to creep in. Aida is in a post-apocalyptic phase where humanity is all but wiped out after using Omnium resources to nearly destroy the Earth. The surviving humans and factions on Aida vie for the use of the Omnium, which some consider evil while others consider it necessary for survival. The protagonist finds himself forming friendships with siblings Zeke and Shirili before disaster strikes, while the player dives first-hand into the politics of Aida’s warring factions.

Tower  of  Fantasy  Bike Tower of Fantasy’s premise is interesting and unique enough to keep some people coming back, but it starts falling apart at the seams almost immediately. From the moment the player meets Zeke and Shirili, the game throws instructions and new characters at the player at breakneck speed. Players will often encounter new characters who try really hard to be eccentric and memorable, but pass by so quickly that players may not have reason to invest in them at all. Key story moments tend to fall flat due to poor writing, and only end up with more exposition dumps. Also, the introduction to Tower of Fantasy does little to help the story.

Spotty voice acting and clumsy animations are a staple of Tower of Fantasia’s cutscenes. Half of the game’s characters sound like the voice actors are really giving it their all, while the other half are half-hearted and mix it up pretty badly. Also, Tower of Fantasy sometimes likes to voice one character throughout cutscenes while the other doesn’t. It was uncomfortable to experience, and it felt worse as the characters moved their arms very stiffly and nodded at each other. Players will have to wade through these sequences to get to the next story mission, which often involves doing some resource gathering or MacGuffin hunting typical of MMOs, but there’s no driving force behind why players should keep doing these chores.

Combat is where Tower of Fantasy picks up some ground and proves the game has some teeth, but it just feels slightly shallower than its story and quest counterparts. Tower of Fantasy allows players to use three weapon types at any time, each containing one of the four elements, effective against enemies weak to the corresponding element. When weapons have accumulated enough charges during combat, players can swap weapons to activate special moves. When paired with the game’s slow motion mechanic (which occurs during a perfect dodge), Tower of Fantasy’s motion looks very fluid. However, the game’s main combat loop feels pretty brainless in practice.

Tower  of  Fantasy  Battle Combat-wise, the main downside of Tower of Fantasy is that the enemies are weak and the attack patterns are very tedious. Almost all low-level enemies in the world remain staggered when hit, and can be quickly knocked down with a simple press of the attack button. Occasionally, enemies will break out of that stagger and fight back, but then players can take advantage of the game’s generous dodge window to keep spamming the mob until it dies. Tower of Fantasy does provide some excitement for boss fights, but those fights play out like extended versions of the same dodge and poke routines, but with softer enemies. Overall, the combat system made by Hotta fails to create dynamic combat situations where the player has to think about anything but attacking and occasionally dodging. Any player who stays up-to-date with upgrades – when the game isn’t trying to slow down their progress – can easily and easily complete a ton of PvE content.

Perhaps the most egregious problem with Tower of Fantasy is its insistence on time limits for a lot of content. This is not the type of game a player can finish in a week. From time-limited story missions to time-limited treasure chests to time-limited level caps, the game constantly places obstacles in the player’s path to stop them from progressing. Finding a chest in the wild, only to be told to come back in 2 days is one of the most frustrating parts of Tower of Fantasy, and takes away all the fun of exploring the game’s rather lovely post-apocalyptic world. As of press time, the main storyline has not yet been completed, and it will take weeks to months to complete. What’s more, Tower of Fantasy’s mount system, one of the game’s main differences from Genshin Impact, is never fun to use and often gets stuck on the tiniest geometry. It also detracts from the fun of exploring the world.

The biggest problem with Tower of Fantasy is its gacha monetization scheme. Some of these gacha games do a great job of letting free-to-play players enjoy themselves without paying a dime, while others use a pay-as-you-go approach. Tower of Fantasy falls somewhere in the middle. Playing the main line will not bring players any incredible weapons, and the drop rate of high-quality items is also very low, but as long as players upgrade accordingly, almost any weapon can complete all PvE content. However, it is in PvP content that gacha comes into play. Some fans can easily spend a ton of money trying to pull off duplicate weapons and enhance their gear to unquestionably gain an edge on the battlefield. Overall, Tower of Fantasy’s PvP seems to favor those paying players over the free-to-play crowd, which takes some of the fun out of the MMO portion of the game, which is also mostly when dungeon crawling with a group and not engaging in PvP.

Tower  of  Fantasy  Simulcrums Ultimately, Tower of Fantasy feels like a haphazard Genshin Impact parody that finds no foothold in either gameplay or story. The best part of the game is its extensive character creator and lovely open world, which evokes the same art style as Breath of the Wild, which surprisingly few games can do. But then it punishes players with time-gated chests and quests for wanting to see every corner of it. The stiffness also permeates many aspects of the game, making it difficult to play for extended periods of time on top of the game system, which often discourages players who want to do more. Tower of Fantasy will be a challenging game in the long run, and there’s little reason why players should jump ship to planet Aida instead of the broader, more elaborate free-to-play gachas currently on the market.

Tower of Fantasy is available now for PC, Android and iOS. Game Rant obtained the PC code for this review.

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