Oh Snap! Pandora's Tower!

I’ve heard Pandora’s Tower referred to as “the last great title” for the Wii, before everything shifts over to the Wii U. As such, it seems like a perfect candidate for our latest edition of “Oh Snap!”.

Pandora’s Tower is an action RPG that relies on its combat and puzzle solving, rather than its narrative, to win the hearts of players, and it does a damned fine job of it. The narrative, what little there is, doesn’t make a ton of sense. Girl (Elena) is going to become a monster, unless she eats the hearts of monsters, and you’re her man-servant who has the unfortunate job of getting all those hearts for her.

Chains are kind of a big deal in this world.
Chains are kind of a big deal in this world.

There is a basic affection system, where you can get closer to Elena. Emotionally. I’ve been told this influences the ending, and my personally ending was only about ~55% of the bar filled, so I’m sure it was worse than it could have been. Makes you wonder though. You’re selflessly killing gigantic beasts, beasts that did nothing to anyone, just so she can shove their flesh down her gullet. Putting yourself in harms way, day after day, and buying her a shiny bracelet is what turns her head? Talk about misappropriation of priorities….

Just go risk your life against vicious beasts for me, k? I'm gonna hang out and read books. Try not to make me wait too long?
Just go risk your life against vicious beasts for me, k? I’m gonna hang out and read books. Try not to make me wait too long?

The game itself, however, actually shines. The game takes places in 13 different towers, each being represented with its own theme (Fire, Water, Eath, etc.). The puzzles in each tower differ depending on theme, and actually do a fair job of representing the theme itself (especially the dichotomy between the Light tower and Dark tower).

Each boss is a puzzle in and of themselves, but the focus on the Chain mechanic for every boss gets a bit bland as the game progresses. It would have been nice to either be able to modify the chain’s behavior in some way, or for all the upgrading you can do to your regular weapons to mean something once you got to the culmination of each dungeon. It felt a little disappointing to have functionality taken away during the most climactic points.

All in all though, Pandora’s Tower is an extremely solid title. Navigating the dungeons isn’t overly complex, but neither is it simple. Each boss, despite all using the chain mechanic, are all fantastically unique, offering gratifying challenges. This is all coupled with a time-limit for each dungeon, as the player races to collected flesh before our ungrateful heroine turns into a monster.

This is a title that’s worth the time, and perhaps a purchase, if action RPGs are your style.

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