Tower of Fantasy is an open world free to play with elements gatcha, anime girls and facilitated combat that in some key areas manages to stand out from the obvious comparison with Genshin Impact.
When the miHoYo adventure arrived on Smartphones and PCs, it redefined the potential of a mobile adventure, inspiring many other manufacturers to develop something similar. The recipe is simple: anime style (anime girls in particular), open world, assisted combat and, above all, gatcha monetization mechanics.
For the uninitiated, gatcha means only one thing: loot box with content inside. We all hate loot boxes. We make them fit when they contain only cosmetic elements (as in the case of Overwatch 1) but they make us really angry when they contain playable characters (Genshin Impact), weapons or an increase in power level (Diablo Immortal).
Before we talk to you about Tower of Fantasy, therefore, a warning: if you have struggled or are struggling with gambling addiction avoid this game (and all those mentioned so far) at all costs. Several studies have now proven the correlation between loot box and gambling, so much so that in Belgium they have been outlawed.
If you are immune to the gatcha temptation and have ever said to yourself “this fantasy setting is beautiful but I would prefer that Genshin was set in a sci-fi world”, then Tower of Fantasy will amaze you because if these are the premises, the developments are unique and curious. .
Humans colonized the planet Aida where, exploiting the rare element Omnioum (coming from the comet Mara) they populated the planet and built a very advanced civilization founded on the Tower of Fantasy. The Omnium was, however, also the cause of their destruction due to the radiation that killed almost the entire population.
We are rescued by Zeke and Shirli after some unidentified shady characters have erased our memory. In the starting area, combat is explained to us, the first weapons are given to us and our mission is explained to us.
By accumulating experience, completing the various quests and defeating the enemies (as well as leveling the character) we will also progress in a sort of battle pass of 100 levels that gives both in-game resources and credits to buy loot boxes. Also in this first area we learn what the Simulacra are, the equivalent of the various characters of Genshin.
After the calamity that destroyed the settlements of Aida, the consciences, weapons and special powers of some brave warriors were preserved by creating the Simulacra, skins for our character that give us access to unique weapons and special powers. These skins / special powers are locked behind the gatcha lootboxes and unfortunately put our character (customizable in every detail) immediately in the background.
The game world is pleasantly technobucolic with natural landscapes and the remains of more or less creative electronic devices. It is populated by animals of all kinds (you can pamper both dogs and cats) and by more or less creative enemies. There are also handy drones to get around with and a jet pack to jump very high. Stamina works like in Zelda Breath of the Wild and almost all surfaces are scalable.
Combat is greatly simplified with a single attack button, limited combos and special attacks that are released as weapons change. It is much faster than Genshin’s so if you are looking for a slightly livelier MMOJRPG (and with much more battery life than Ni No Kuni Cross Worlds) then Tower of Fantasy has something for you.
My preview build didn’t have access to any other player collaboration MMO elements even though I didn’t feel the need to be honest. The game infrastructure is still a bit shaky: you fall into the ground, quests get buggy, and some dialogue doesn’t progress. Nothing that veers outside the “mistakes we forgive at launch of every MMO” category.
Before a proper review, I want to take some time on the online part so I’ll wait for a verdict to be issued. In the meantime I can advise you to give it a chance (always being careful not to fall into the trap of loot boxes) by playing it lightly: if you like what you see then you can come back from time to time for some event or expansion; if it does not convince you, appease your fomo, it is not worth it.