Tower Princess is an action roguelite by AweKteaM in which you try to rescue princesses from an evil dragon.
The game plays out through a mix of dodge-based combat and light platforming elements. You enter a room with a bunch of enemies, and the doors lock until you defeat them. Your bread and butter are a three-hit sword combo that doesn’t reach far enough and a dodge roll that has unclear invincibility frames. It’s common to get hit by something that didn’t seem like it would hit or to wait for an attack before you realize, no, the animations are just weird and you’ve already taken damage.
The princess or prince you’re trying to rescue will tag along, and you can use their unique ability on cooldown. These range from damaging an enemy, to healing, to crowd control and are some of the most varied and interesting parts of the gameplay. Unfortunately, the cooldown for most is fairly long, so you’ll largely be stuck with the mediocre base combat.
The game plays out as a war of attrition. Depending on your princess, health items may be scarce, and the boring enemies hit absurdly hard, especially before you unlock health upgrades. If you fail to dodge a trap or get hit by an enemy, you’ve probably lost that health for quite a while, which would be fine if the game felt fun or deep, but with the combat as janky as it is, it feels like fake difficulty.
Enemies or furniture will sometimes drop items that are assigned to your D-pad. Unfortunately, once you pick up a reusable item, there’s no way to swap it for another item on the floor, so you can end up with the most valuable items — health potions — being stuck on the ground while you carry around a near useless spitball shooter.
There are upgrade systems for your health, damage, special moves, and map, but they’re fueled by tokens, a currency only rewarded in ways that are hard to produce on purpose, and experience, which is rewarded really slowly for some things and decently fast for others. Getting upgrades takes forever and can take even more forever more or less at random.
The most egregious part of Tower Princess is its level generation. There are a handful of premade rooms that turn up again and again verbatim or with a tiny cosmetic change. Each run feels stale when you enter a room and immediately know where each enemy, exit, and item is placed, and the only randomness is which enemies and items are chosen. The levels are so repetitive that I once left a room only to enter the exact same room.
Characters all repeat a handful of lines over and over, and none of the writing is all that good anyway. The music is fine, though the sound effects are pretty bad. The 2D art is really nice, unlike the 3D art, which tends to look a bit generic. The game only has two areas and three bosses you have to fight every time, but runs tend to be around half an hour and the pace feels brisk. Playing the game didn’t feel like an insult to my time.
But that’s damning it with faint praise. Tower Princess is a mediocre roguelite with a few well-executed parts, and I would recommend you buy something a little easier to love. Tower Princess releases September 8 on PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 for $19.99, with an Xbox One release coming later.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Tower Princess.