Tower Princess is a charming, action-focused roguelite that features a few snazzy quirks up its sleeve. It revels in that ‘O, will the most gallant of knights rescue me in my oh-so unfortunate time of need?’ presentation and music, whilst pulling it’s slick visuals straight from the iconic cel-shading of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. And before you ask – no, this game is not about Rapunzel.
Knights in Cel-Shaded Armour
While the events of the plot will be forgotten in about T-minus 3 seconds, the Zelda-themed combat, puzzles and randomised dungeon crawling really go a long way. Although, it can look and feel a bit stodgy at times. Fortunately, there are some intensely heart-pumping trap rooms that really dial up the challenge, alongside some deceptively tough enemies that can be tricky to defeat without losing health.
At the start of each run, players choose between a ranged or sword-wielding knight and a princess from an expanding roster that provides some very handy support options. For example, a sprint skill that literally leaves enemies biting the dust, or a blood-sucking AOE effect that depletes the health of enemies that wander into its path. Together with special attacks and items, like a devastatingly powerful bear trap that can be found on the field, adventurers will need to conserve resources and avoid damage like the plague to survive.
Even on the lowest difficulty, the gauntlet of enemies and multi-phase boss encounters – which are wicked cool, by the way – will leave those palms sweaty like mum’s spaghetti. One boss has you deftly dodging and dipping over hazardous light beams, then cooking up a 3-course meal on a conveyor belt with hazards. While another slowly adds more danger into the mix, before switching up the game’s controls to inconveniently throw off your rhythm.
The Fairytale-Flavoured World of Tower Princess
The good thing is that the button layout is fully customisable and stat upgrades carry over from each run, granting players more leverage on each attempt. Unlockables like extra special attacks, expandable HP, temporary armour sets and one-time damage nullifiers can be the difference between a successful victory over a boss, or an untimely demise on an awkwardly-placed bear trap… It sounds hilarious, I know. But they can almost one-shot the player if they’re not careful. So be warned.
The sound design leaves a lot to be desired though, lacking the tight ‘punch’ or weight that other action-focused games offer. This can be a real hindrance with Tower Princess, unfortunately, as the tame-sounding FX often disguises the damage output of the more powerful attacks on display. Thankfully, the music will keep players’ spirits up, as they hop, skip and jump along to jolly-sounding tunes that wouldn’t be out of place in ‘Ye Olde Tavern’ or a game of D&D where the DM actually put in a decent effort.
While the indie scene is flooded with roguelites/likes on the regular, Tower Princess manages to strike a tidy balance of addictive Zelda-inspired gameplay and an endearing, medieval fantasy setting that keeps things light and breezy. The story sadly misfires in the process and the flat sound design and stodgy game feel can lack impact at times, but they don’t detract too much from that addictive ‘one more try’ nature in which truly great roguelites/likes emanate.
Tower Princess is a charming action-adventure title that leans into the roguelike genre and Zelda style of gameplay with ease. The plot isn’t worth writing home about, nor is it’s sound design or gameplay feel at times. Although, Tower Princess is still worth checking out for it’s fairytale flair and hard-as-nails boss encounters that’ll push players to their limits.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by HypeTrain Digital. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.