Disclaimer: A review copy was supplied.
“Just one more run”
Surprisingly addictive, Tokoyo: The Tower of Perpetuity is a new action platformer from Playism, the publishers of Tasomachi: behind the Twilight (which I’ve reviewed previously), the La-Mulana series, and the recent Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth.
A simple-looking pixel-art platforming game, Tokoyo has you frantically collecting upgrades and managing your skills to climb floor-by-floor up a mysterious tower. The story is simple and doesn’t get in the way of the action. Each of the playable characters has a different reason for being trapped in a mysterious tower full of traps and monsters, but the only way to get out is to reach the top.
You don’t have a traditional attack, and you can’t simply stomp on your enemies to take them out, so you’re focusing on avoiding damage while a countdown keeps you moving as quickly as you dare. Each character has a double-jump and a unique special attack that deals with a lot of destructive power, but is short-lived and needs time to charge up before it can be used again. Each attempt provides you with randomised powerups to collect that boost your skills and offer a wide variety of effects, from healing some of your health every time you ascend to a new floor, to speeding up how quickly your special skill recharges.
There are even boss fights where you have to be able to dodge and run to stay alive long enough to fight back. When a weakness is exposed, you have an opportunity to unleash your special attack to deal some damage. Each character’s skill is different and will change your approach to fighting. For example, the Kukuri the Fox Kunoichi unleashes a wave of energy projectiles that home in on targets, allowing her to stay relatively safe from danger, while Cocoa, the Maid from Hell has a shield of spinning swords that appears around him for about 20 seconds, forcing him to get up close and personal with the monsters.
Death isn’t the end. You are ranked against other players’ scores before you’re sent back to the bottom of the tower to try again. It resets all of your upgrades, letting you start fresh with a new randomised set of loot and the desire to make it just a little further this time.
The art style is charming and evokes the feeling of PC gaming in the early 90s with its pixelated sprite work and rocking chip-tune music. But even if you make it to the top of the leaderboards (shared between the PC and Switch versions of the game), your score is wiped out at midnight when the tower redesigns itself, forcing all the players to learn new floor layouts every day.
I have been having a blast trying to beat my own scores. After a few hours of play, I’ve made it as far as the third boss fight, but who really knows how much further I’ll have to go to reach the top of The Tower of Perpetuity. And every time I intended to close the game to do something else, I would always try to convince myself there was time for “Just one more run.”
4 Stars out of 5
- Catchy music
- Movement is smooth and precise
- Endless replayability
- Limited dialogue from NPCs gets repetitive
- Occasionally hard to distinguish enemies from powerups at a glance
- Information and dialogue text is buried in the lower corners and is easy to miss