The lights are on
The plot of Pandoras Tower focuses primarily on the relationship between the two main characters, Aeron and Elena. One day monsters attack the kingdom they live in, and Elena is cursed. This curse causes her to slowly transform into a monster, but a mysterious travelling merchant named Mavda, member of the Vespa tribe comes to help them. She tells them that Elena can turn back the curse temporarily by eating the flesh of beasts found in The Thirteen Towers. To permanently remove the curse, Aeron must travel into each of the towers, kill the Master at the top, and return with the Master Flesh from each. After eating the flesh of each Master, Elena should be cured.Aeron's and Elena's relationship is shown on the left of the screen, represented by the Affinity Gauge. You can increase it by talking to her or giving her gifts, but letting her transform into a monster or doing something stupid like giving her a Beast Fang will decrease it. Affinity decides what ending you get, and there are five endings. S, A, B, C, and D.They do a good job of giving the characters their own personalities, except for Aeron. He hardly talks and is almost a silent protagonist, while he's generally seen as someone where you fill in the gaps of what he's thinking and his personality, but I heard an interesting theory that he's autistic.
There are also a large number of notes to be found lying around the Thirteen Towers, fleshing out the back story of the fictional world of Imperia, providing helpful information, and foreshadowing the boss battle at the end of the tower.Aeron carries two weapons, a chain and a second weapon of your choice. There are three upgradeable weapons available in a first play through, all found at different towers. The Sword is the balanced weapon, the Twinblades are fast, but short ranged and have low damage, and the Scythe, the large ranged and powerful but slow weapon. After a New Game+, you can get the Explosive Stake, a very powerful but very slow weapon. Combat with these consists of pushing the A Button and holding the A button. Pressing it will cause you to attack, holding it allows you to do a charge attack. A well timed button press during a charge attack allows additional attacks. Every time you upgrade a weapon 3-4 times, it gains a new charge attack, but this doesn't do much to keep the single button combat from starting to feel repetitive.But for all the talking I've done about those weapons, the chain is the star of the show. There are several things you can do with it, like binding two enemies together to slow them down and make them share any damage they take with the other, shoot them up to five times in a combo, swing them around your head like a mace, throw them, and embedding it into them and yanking it out. A nice detail is that attacking different parts of an enemies body results in a different effect, like tripping or blinding them, and the chain can also be used to grab items. But you don't gain any new abilities, (although every time you beat a Master the chain grows more powerful) so you'll be using the same attacks throughout the game.
The towers the game takes place in contain enemies and puzzles, and they did a great job of making a balance between the two. Your goal is to destroy a number of chains guarding the Master, allowing you to enter it's chamber and kill it. The puzzles are mostly good, but they end up repeating them frequently. After all, there's only so many things you can do with a chain. The enemy variety is very good, and they introduce at least one new type in every tower which does the most to alleviate the sense of repetition.The earlier mentioned curse translates into an in game time limit. It slowly goes down, and can be turned back by returning to Elena and giving her the flesh of a beast. The higher the quality, the more time you gain. You make a great deal of short cuts in each tower, be they as simple as "unlock door" or as creative as making a giant waterwheel move, creating a short cut to every level of the tower. This makes the backtracking quick, so the time limit detracts nothing and helps create a unique atmosphere that goes well with the game.The camera angle is fixed like, say, God of War, and is sufficient most of the time, but sometimes you'll end up having to move around just to get your camera to focus on the enemies. The camera angle is at it's worst in one early game boss fight; the camera moves to center on the boss during the battles, but most of them are large and slow so that's not a problem. There's one that's very fast, and the camera was never still for a moment. Despite this, the boss battle was still pretty good.
If there's one place Pandoras Tower excels, it's the boss fights. Although a couple are poor, the others are great at least, and some are so good they wouldn't be out of place in a Zelda game. They are all completely unique and were my main incentive for playing the rest of the game. If you remember one thing from this review, it's that if a boss seems tedious, odds are you're fighting it wrong. There were two occasions were a boss seemed bad, but then I realized I was fighting it the wrong way and once I figured out the correct strategy it was one of my favorite bosses.Pandoras Tower lasts for a good 15-20 hours on average, and there's a New Game+ that, in addition to the standard "keep your weapons/stats/etc." unlocks many new areas and a new weapon, the Explosive Stake. The five different endings also give you a goal to attain in any replay, and between all these features any big fans of the game are sure to get many more hours out of it than average.
Note. In the US version of Pandoras Tower, the localization somehow created a glitch. 1 in 5 people get it, and although that's pretty bad you're statistically unlikely to get it. If you do, there were several workarounds posted here. I originally couldn't decide to give PT either a 6.75/10 or 7/10, and the glitch made me decide on 6.75. But remember, a wise man once said "chill people, the score is literally just a summarization of my feelings, not the most important part of the review."
*Note. This review was not edited to address the glitch workaround mechanics