When it comes to Anime RPGs, the first titles that run across the surface of my mind are the beloved Persona 5 and the extremely popular Genshin Impact. Both of these titles have changed the genre in their own meaningful ways, and although you may not agree with that opinion, there is no denying that they each have several aspects that make them appealing to audiences. And so in that vein, Tower Of Fantasy is a brand new RPG developed by Hotta Studio, a small-time developer based in China. It has several similarities to Genshin Impact, so we have prepared this review to see if it is worth your time or not.
The game is fully Free-to-play and takes place in a lush Open World, chock-full of puzzles to solve, enemy encampments to overthrow, and much more than the eye can see. ToF uses a dedicated Stamina system with flashy combat consisting of three usable weapons and various different characters to earn via the gacha mechanics.
The progression system and deeper combat choices are somewhat questionable, but they are still polished enough to keep players hooked on the late-game activities, even if the rewards are entirely RNG and Luck-based.
Fans have looked forward to the game for quite a while now, considering it was launched prior to release in a few Alpha and Network Tests, which we had a chance to take part in too. The game’s live-service story will run for the immediate future, introducing new story arcs and much more, but thankfully we had the chance to play roughly 10-15 hours of Tower of Fantasy in its official release state to compile this decisive review.
- Developer: Hotta Studio
- Publisher: Perfect World, Tencent Games
- Release Date: December 16, 2021
- Platforms: Android, IOS, PC
- Predecessor: None
You can continue reading our review or watch the video here:
Story And Setting
Players take control of a custom character with the option to choose between either female or male right at the beginning moments of the game. It is here where many would call out the game for plagiarizing Genshin’s opening, but trust me, ToF does a complete 180 on that department and offers original storytelling elements filled with a narrative that focuses on mankind experimenting with mutation of species and its laws of evil, all topped off with Sci-fi themes.
Tower Of Fantasy takes place in the world of Aida, where Humans were forced to relocate to after a lack of energy and resources on Earth. It instantly throws players into the fray of things, as you begin to wake up after getting knocked out in the opening cutscene.
The main character has their memory wiped away amidst the vague opening. The survivors of the Astra Shelter will recruit you, a group of friendly NPCs who will aid the player throughout their adventures in the game, along with your little AI companion, “Mi-a,” alongside you as your trusty sidekick.
While many would summarize the story as being irrelevant or generic in terms of quality, it does have its intense moments when you reach the 2nd and 3rd arcs of the game. It is also here where I noticed in my review of Tower of Fantasy that the storytelling did a full nosedive in introducing players to the time-traveling plot, the various villainous twists, as well as sharing its importance on Omnium, a vital resource that you will require from time to time to access various features of the game.
For players who are really intrigued by world-building elements derived from the lore, it is safe to say this game does that job pretty well, considering it isn’t the most attractive or core selling point of these types of games. It is thought-provoking and does well to immerse you in the world. It isn’t anything too special to discuss, but hopefully, the story stays in its current state to be as unique as possible in comparison to other titles.
Now onto the meat of the game; its gameplay system. ToF allows the protagonist to transform into several heroes, which are obtainable via the gacha system. It also supports a wide variety of weapons for you to try with various rarities and stats.
They all have their unique abilities, combos, and playstyles. According to the stats so far, each of the weapons can seemingly be categorized into Assault, Tank, or Support/Healing. These are not official types for this arsenal, but more so, the game hints at their viability and usage in their descriptions.
The combat of the game is stylish and almost akin to the Devil May Cry games where each attack chain and combination is executed with pitch-perfect animations and grace. It generally feels different from other games in its genre like Honkai Impact 3rd in that regard. So for this review, I can wholeheartedly confirm it was my favorite element found in Tower of Fantasy, one that will surely entice players to jump into the game for themselves.
However, you only begin to notice the issues during the late game, there are quite some problems to be noted that might disappoint some users. The game does not seem to support any sort of manual aiming functionality. It instead relies on the auto-targeting system we have seen in plentiful other anime gacha games.
Most players won’t mind the feature, but during hectic battles and especially during climatic boss fights, your character carelessly attacking the wrong enemy can likely interrupt your combos.
On the brighter side, there is also the inclusion of a “Perfect Dodge” system implemented that manages to reward players for quick reflexes and situational awareness. There is a fair depth to the combat when it comes to the boss fights, as each one keeps you on your toes as they dish out merciless combos. They all have their weaknesses and gimmicks that will encourage you to change your loadout before attempting them.
Overall, the combat and over-arching gameplay can keep you hooked with relative ease. Each weapon has a different feel to them along with its aerial combos and the like. ToF has the potential to be one of the best free-to-play games solely due to the fighting mechanics being full of action and fun. It might feel floaty and non-impactful for some, but in the official release, I could feel the differences in the weight of the weapons hitting my enemies versus during the hours of the Closed Network Test where they felt lacking in physicality.
Open World Progression
The map of ToF is massive, spanning a few regions which have their own sets of distractions and activities that players will likely stumble into throughout the game. I managed to explore about 80 percent of the nearest regions in the beginning, which were Astra and Banges. So in terms of exploration incentives for Open World RPGs, it is safe to say that Tower of Fantasy does not hold anything back in that regard.
The lush landscapes in each part of the world also have their own selection of puzzles and activities to keep you engaged in the grind. There are a wide variety of enemies from cultists, robotic androids, mutated creatures, and even cybernetic Samurais whom you will constantly encounter and fight out in the world. It is also worth noting that the game provides you with awesome traversal options such as a motorbike and a jetpack.
The puzzles that are littered across the world reward you with various materials that you can then use to craft and strengthen your equipment. Not to mention that these puzzles make fair use of your abilities and logical thinking since almost all of them differ from each other in mechanics.
Speaking of which, one of the more special mechanics that I found myself addicted to was the equipment system of this game through which you are essentially able to enhance gear and upgrade their stats. These stats play on an RNG factor which might turn off some players, but thankfully it wasn’t anything I found too annoying to deal with in my few hours of reviewing the loot economy and progression in Tower of Fantasy.
The game is slightly built on the aspect of a shared world akin to an MMORPG, so you will have to compete with other players for resources. So aside from the Gacha system, you will have to play around with RNG quite a bit when it will come time to upgrade your arsenal and getting the Best Weapons and Armor in the game. It is one of the aspects that can be improved upon in future patches or major fixes to the game in order to allow more creative choice of freedom.
While on the topic of weapons, you will also be able to slot them with matrices, which are essentially mods that can further boost their abilities by adding new stats and bonuses. They are mainly dropped from world bosses and joint operations, which are missions that reward players with beneficial loot and valuable items. But again, the luck factor makes all the difference in getting what you want or something that will be useless until you can infuse it with an item to upgrade its rating and level score.
Visuals And Performance
The art style and visuals in Tower Of Fantasy are definitely a treat to look at. Players who absolutely love pitch-perfect and vibrant visuals in other Open-World games like The Witcher 3 or Elden Ring will especially enjoy roaming the world to their heart’s content. There is a fascinating list of lore markers and interactions to discover as you are unearthing the secrets and treasures buried on this incredible and mystical planet.
From ancient technological ruins, massive architectural towers, and even settlements spanning across other regions and overlooking the lush green fields and forests. There is something so profound and enthralling about the art style, that it kept me pushing onwards into investing just a few more hours of exploring every nook and cranny on Aida, even if it did have some dull moments where it felt barren or empty.
The game runs perfectly smooth at a locked 60FPS on most high-end smartphones, but the only aspect that might be worth looking at is your overall RAM. Because the game uses that a lot so it is worth keeping in mind, especially if you’re planning to jump into the game with the graphical settings cranked up to the highest. Thankfully PC users should not worry too much about performance issues either, if you have about 4GB of VRAM as well as a decent CPU and about 8 gigabytes of RAM, then it should run smooth as silk on your system.
During my time playing the game, I encountered a few issues while exploring the open world. ToF has been released for quite some time now in the Eastern regions, so it was quite surprising that they still hadn’t ironed out some minor bugs and issues here and there. The ones that I personally experienced included the game crashing in between the Joint Operation activities, as well as occasional bugs where you couldn’t interact with anything in your inventory or equipment menu and required me to restart the game a few times.
Tower Of Fantasy Verdict
Overall, ToF is shaping up to be a great brand new Open World anime RPG. The gacha elements in this game are much more forgiving and unrestrictive as opposed to other infamous competitor titles in its genre. It could rework some mechanics and design choices down the line, but that is a discussion for another day.
The world design is vibrant, and a visual treat for anyone with sore eyes. There are puzzles, enemy patrols, and outposts as well as challenging bosses to be discovered at every step of your destination. The gameplay and combat are super satisfying, as all three weapon types have simple yet awesome combos along with the well-implemented addition of the Perfect Dodge system.
Tower of Fantasy tops it all off with a relaxing original soundtrack that seems monotonous at certain times but the end result is quite comforting for almost everyone, especially for me who enjoys richly soothing and rhythmic tracks while exploring an ominous yet mystique post-apocalyptic world.
As time goes on, we can expect more polish by the developers as time goes on with the game as well as receiving more content such as characters, weapons, and other features released periodically. If you are feeling burnt out by its rivaling games, then Tower of Fantasy is a title that is well worth checking out for anyone!
- Intriguing Story Elements.
- Gorgeous World Design.
- Lots Of Puzzles And Other Activities.
- Robust And Engaging Combat.
- The Progression System Requires Work.
- Gameplay Could Use More Polish.
- Exploration Can Get Dull After A While.
Tower Of Fantasy – 3/5
We hope our review on Tower of Fantasy has helped you in deciding whether or not you should invest your time in playing this game. It is out now on PC via Steam as well as for handheld devices on Android and IOS.
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