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Towerfall Review: The Little Game Everyone Loves on Ouya
Towerfall is a small game created by a one-man studio for release on the Ouya‘s launch lineup, and it has remained at the top of the list of most popular downloads since the console’s official release. Early Ouya adopters seem to be loving every minute of Towerfall’s addictive and simple multiplayer gameplay. After spending a few hours playing Towerfall with friends and family, I was very impressed by the sheer fun factor of what developer Matt Thorson calls multiplayer archery combat platforming. The game is completely designed around local multiplayer, supporting up to four players, and the game gets increasingly intense and entertaining as more players join in.
Simple, Fun and Addictive
Players have three abilities in Towerfall: shoot, move, and jump. Not much chance of a meta-game strategy there. However, the pure fast-paced platforming action combined with the small, enclosed arenas makes every moment feel intense and every kill feel thrilling. Arenas are filled with tricky hiding spots, screen-wrap paths and a number of powerups that grant unique abilities to give players an edge over their frenemies.
The platforming design of the different arenas is well thought out and challenging, with plenty of opportunities for missed jumps to land players right in an opponent’s line of fire. Players can shoot in all directions, providing interesting opportunities to score wins with skill shots. A slow-motion replay of kill shots makes winning even more gratifying, as one player raises his controller in victory while another shakes his head in disbelief. All of this adds up to a purely fun and competitive experience to share with friends for a small price. Watch out for more games to emulate this style of multiplayer design on Ouya in the future.
Visuals and Audio
Towerfall features completely hand-crafted pixel art, a well-made retro soundtrack and sound effects reminiscent of 8-bit arcade games. The graphics do not push the boundaries of pixel art, as many modern retro-style titles do, but there is something endearing about the pure and simple graphical style that would feel at home in 1985. Check out the official trailer below to get a sense of the visual style, audio and multiplayer combat for yourself.
The single complaint I’ve heard repeated about Towerfall is its lack of a compelling single-player mode. The single-player mode offers a series of time-attack scenarios requiring players to hit dummies in challenging spots on multiplayer maps, which presents virtually no challenge compared to the fast-paced twitch action of the multiplayer mode. I consider Towerfall to be a purely local multiplayer experience, but who knows, the huge popularity of the game may prompt Matt to add A.I. opponents in a future release or sequel.
Ouya Free Trial
Towerfall is free to try on Ouya, and the free version offers just enough gameplay to decide for yourself whether this title merits a purchase. Both the single-player and multiplayer modes are available to try for free, although not all maps are available in the trial version.