Out of the three big JRPG’s for the Nintendo Wii this was the only one I heard very little of. It’s amazing how out of Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower all get talked about together on the internet that some people mistake them for being part of the same story which couldn’t be further from the truth. Even Nintendo gave 3 Coins to anyone who registered buying all three (thanks Nintendo by the way) yet all three games are very different from one another.
First off the controls, took me a while to get into because I was using the classic controller like the previous two JRPG’s however the game is designed to be used with the nunchuck much like Zelda’s Skyward Sword. The Nunchuck is used to move your character, pick up items and release your chain which is a secondary weapon and used to grab out of reach items, swing and entangle enemies while the wiimote can be used to pull the chain back with a slick flick of your wrist. The controls work quite well once you get used to it, ‘A’ is used to attack but one of my biggest issues with the ’A‘ button is the fact it’s also used as action so if you are dodging attacks while fighting enemies and get too close to a door you may find yourself opening the door instead of making an attack!
Pandora’s Tower dives you straight into the story without much explanation to begin with but stick with it as everything will be explained as the game progresses. You take the role of Aeron who is only accompanied by your friend Elaina who has been cursed, slowly turning into a monster and Mavda a merchant who tags along and seems to know what has happened to Elaina. The idea of the game is to feed Elaina 12 pieces of Master flesh from 13 towers in order to release the curse afflicted upon her.
Your main hub is a small building just outside the towers which you will spend most of your time as you have to come back to it quite frequently. This is where any dialogue will take place as once you enter the towers you are on your own without any other characters to interact with. The main hub is where you can store items, save, bond with Elaina and upgrade/buy or make items from Mavda.
What most people find annoying about the game is the fact Elaina is slowly turning into a monster and apart from the Master Flesh she is constantly on a timer. The only thing that can delay this is Beast flesh found throughout the towers by yanking it from fallen enemies. You are forced to return to Elaina every 30-40 minutes to feed this too her to delay the curse. At first this is very annoying but for me it became part of the game and as I found I was finding more items then I could carry it was the perfect opportunity to offload some and save. You do get the same cut scene of Elaina eating flesh every time you give her some but thankfully this can be skipped.
Your main weapon is a sword but you will find more items along the way, each can be upgraded with the right items which can be found or crafted. You have a limit to for items you can carry or attach to your person, luckily you can increase your bag to attach more items and there is a chest at the main hub where you can store all unwanted items. I found that I never used half the potions I collected along the way and mainly only used the healing ones.
The graphics are not stunning but stand up to the grainy sort of games we have seen from the likes of The Last Story. The big disappointment for me is the lack of imagination for level designs, you will find that towers 6-10 have just the same layout as the first 5 and the only big change in the way they are tackled doesn’t come until towers 11 & 12. The game is relatively short taking approx. 17-20 hours of gameplay however there is a game play plus mode which unlocks after completion which opens new doors, items and weapons and there are 5 (I believe) different endings to try open.
All in all an enjoyable game, all the bosses apart from one are challenging and fun to beat. The game isn’t perfect with dodgy camera angles and lack of level design but a break from the norm.