Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Feeling the need for an overworld in Pandora's Tower

Pandora's Tower is starting to feel a bit over long. Admittedly, it might be the way that I'm playing it in bits every four days. But it's starting to feel tedious.

Play style aside, the game itself is lacking something that any action/adventure/RPG game featuring mazes and puzzles requires: Distractions.

Aside from getting pre-set numbers of the varying grades of beast flesh in different towers the game offers no sidequests.

There's no marble maze type game that rewards wins with a monetary prize or a piece of heart, either. Nor can you get a fishing rod and cast into wells scattered across the land. There aren't any minigames.

And there's nowhere to go to just fool around because the game's only areas are the Towers, the Observatory, and the generally event-less stretch of grass in between.

This isolation from non-essential story-driven game standbys definitely generates a strong sense of loneliness. There is no comic relief character, no underdog to root for, no brooding swordmaster with a mysterious past. Just Aeron (you), Elena, and, when you call her up, the witch merchant Mavda. That's it.

Out of everything that Pandora's Tower is designed without, though, I definitely miss the presence of an overworld the most. In most games this area might be nothing more than big empty space intended to pad out average play time. But I think such open spaces serve another purpose.

Overworlds offer players a place of respite. They're areas where you can feel a definite sense of being in transit, of being between plot points. As such, overworlds tend not to be stressful places in video games. Enemies will likely hang out on the overworld, sure, but if you don't want to fight, you can run away. And actually escape. Unlike when you're cooped up in a tower.

In a game that's almost entirely dungeons with very little in between in the way of low pressure exploration, I think some sort of overworld in Pandora's Tower would be a welcome resting place.

I've been playing Pandora's Tower for 32 1/2 hours. Translated into in-game time, that's roughly a few months. Strange as it sounds, after feeling isolated right alongside Aeron for so long, I'm about ready
to have this game done. There're just another five chains to break in the Dawn and Dusk Tower. Just five more.

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