Tower of Fantasy Review – Explore, but not at your own pace

Prepare to wait.

Image via Hotta Studios

At first glance, Tower of Fantasy may look identical to Genshin Impact. While the game may offer a similar tone, it has far more than what you would think. This open-world MMO has many interactions, fast-paced combat, and an interesting story — the latter of which admittedly could still use a little work. The icing on the cake is a character creator that is noticeably more extensive than anything in MMO history. 

The game takes place on the planet of Aida in the distant future. Humanity discovered a comet containing a type of energy called Omnium, a massive power source that humanity naturally attempted to use for itself. This led to disastrous consequences in which anyone who is exposed to the radiation of the Omnium can become aberrant. Your adventure starts when your character awakens from a deep sleep. From there, the game is a mixed bag that might leave a sour taste in your mouth.

Plenty of hits and misses

Image via Hotta Studios

The gameplay of Tower of Fantasy is by far the game’s strongest component. While combat is pretty standard hack n’ slash, it has a surprising complexity to it. Different elements affect enemies depending on what type of shield they have (or don’t have), and you can perform special moves based on what weapon you are using and the timing of your dodges. Combat is more engaging as a result, though it can get a little dry when facing off against larger enemies with massive health pools. 

Outside of slashing enemies and hacking away at the local wildlife, you can take a crack at solving puzzles, interacting with NPCs, and playing with your friends. The vast world is filled with various objects, plants, and animals that you can interact with. Exploring your environment will get you different currencies that you can then spend to hopefully get a new character. The gacha system in Tower of Fantasy revolves around so many different currencies that are hard to keep track of sometimes, but the main ones you need to focus on are called Black and Gold Nuclei. Each character unlocked with these currencies feels unique, and while some may be worse than others, most of them are fun to mess around with thanks to their distinct abilities. 

While MMO games typically don’t have extremely in-depth character creators, that is not the case for Tower of Fantasy. Within hours of the game’s release, players already had copies of their favorite characters from shows like Naruto, One Piece, and Inuyasha created for others to use in the game. Even though there are other default character models in the game that you can use, there is nothing like experiencing everything as your favorite character or a creation that you spent hours crafting.

Blocked from access

Image via Hotta Studios

The world itself is large and filled with hidden items and locations for you to discover. None of these extras are needed to enjoy the game, but it helps for those who like to explore. You may come to find that the different regions of the world blend together and most of the terrains look similar, if not identical, to one another until you reach the snow biome. The regions feature a lot of mountains, and to help you get through them, you are provided with a motorcycle and jetpack pretty early on. I often found myself traversing the ground on foot because the motorcycle got stuck, or it was easier to move about without a large, clunky bike getting in my way. The jetpack, while nice for gliding, isn’t the best choice for scaling mountains since it is accompanied by a massive cooldown timer after two uses. 

One of the biggest issues I had while playing Tower of Fantasy was the constant time-gated Supply Pods that I came across. Thanks to my tendency to explore outside of the normal areas, I came across a chest fairly early that I couldn’t open. When I looked at it, it told me that I needed to wait almost 60 hours for it to unlock. It’s understandable that some players might progress too quickly, thus ruining the game for themselves, but the timers could be shortened or released after you reach a specific point in the game. The time gates got even worse when I needed to wait 11 hours to continue the story that I was enjoying.

Missing details

Image via Hotta Studios

The story of Tower of Fantasy has its ups and downs as most stories do. The beginning of the game will have you excited to explore a vast open world. Progress too quickly, however, and you will be time-gated into waiting for the next portion of it. By the time you are allowed to continue, it is easy to forget about what you previously experienced. I sometimes found myself needing to recall what happened previously in the story so that I could continue onward. For a game that wants to be story-driven, it does a good job of preventing you from experiencing the story.

The verdict

Despite all of the good aspects this game has, there is no denying that it has some massive faults that need to be worked on. Though, I can excuse the time-gated parts, since players who start later might not have to deal with that. The environments could use a bit of an overhaul to make the regions feel more unique and lifelike, rather than the same as where you just were. But looking at the story, aspects of it could be trimmed up to help it feel less dry and long-winded. Finally, a rework of the vehicles and traversal relics like the jetpack would be ideal to give players a reason to want to use the flying car they spent six hours obtaining. 

Tower of Fantasy has a vast world that you are free to explore when you aren’t being prevented from doing so. There are plenty of little things that help bring the game to life, from puzzles, dungeons, and fast-paced combat, to NPCs, crafting, and an amazing character creator. While all of these separate elements are great, you shouldn’t be taking refuge in smaller game mechanics to avoid the larger parts of the game like the story and world exploration. Despite all of its great features, other parts of Tower of Fantasy need some work to make this a truly fulfilling experience.

Final Score:

5.5 / 10

+The world is filled with many activities to enjoy
+Combat is fast-paced and surprisingly intricate
The story can feel a bit dry and forgettable
Traversal items like vehicles and the jetpack feel pointless to use
Environments all feel too similar
Disclosure: Gamepur was provided a game code for review purposes.