I typically stay away from RPG Maker (or similar engine) games. You know the ones: you can usually tell, just from a glance, that gameplay will be on the simple side and the world will be full of faceless NPCs, most of which won’t even have names other than their role. Good old Soldier A and Citizen B. I have nothing against these sorts of titles, and I’m sure there are ones that are great—I just can’t get over the mass-produced assets and trope-riddled storytelling. When I saw that one character in Miden Tower was in fact a walking, talking wall with a kawaii face, I figured… What the hell?
Always trust your gut, a wise individual once said. While there isn’t anything particularly bad about Miden Tower, there’s also nothing particularly good. Most everything is by the RPG books from your gloomy anti-hero main character, whose quest for revenge places his bland personality on the wrist-cutting edge of sullen indifference to the way he later opens up to a degree thanks to the power of friendship to the inane fetch quests that divert your attention from the main quest, but ultimately do nothing to enrich your time spent in game. You can name each of the four members of your party from a handful of pre-approved names, and the three new faces join you within the first hour of your journey. There’s the main character and the wall I mentioned, but then there’s a grand sage who looks like a young girl, even though she’s ancient (which is a popular thing apparently), and a rough looking guy who is apparently a senior citizen, though it’s hard to tell with all those bulging muscles. Their character design is nice and they’re part of a population of about a handful of characters that actually get a unique name and an even smaller segment that gets their own face.
Miden Tower’s plot is moved along by a series of inconveniences in which your main character is coerced into helping out a smattering of individuals because otherwise they threaten to hinder the one thing he wants to do—namely, commit murder. What starts with the head magic honcho promising to give you access to a new playground for your vengeance if you find the Eternal Sage and bring her home becomes a domino effect of “I’ll cooperate if you do this for me.” Everyone wants something from you and I felt like an errand girl fairly early on, rather than someone invested in the fate of this world. Because, of course, while your character is taking out his childhood frustration out on isolated groups of Imperial soldiers, the main force is up to something much more nefarious at the command of the king. I suppose there should have been some kind of plot twist in this somewhere, but I’ve seen it all before, so it’s difficult to say.
Battle in Miden Tower is turn based. It’s nothing flashy or complicated: just a 3×3 grid on which your team and the enemy team are situated. You take turns attacking each other and turn order is tracked by the timeline displayed at the top of the screen. You’ll also notice that the battle UI is on the ugly side, taking up far too much space on the right and left of the battlefield. Skills affect a specific number of tiles, and enemies take up a certain amount of space; some may be larger while others take up a single tile. Also available to you are Hyper Arts, which can be used every twenty turns. These are game changers that do useful things like summon allies and render the enemy too fearful to act for a few turns. That being said, combat is too easy. You have to actively try to use up all your Mana, and I only did so once during my time with Miden Tower. Your team is fully restored after each battle, so you’ll never run into that nail-biting after-combat moment when your team is in shambles and you don’t have enough items to heal up properly, but still have a ways to go before you can save. And, yes, you can save at any time. If the developer was going for an old school flavour in this title, they should have gone all the way rather than present an old school outer shell with soft, squishy new school innards and conventions. But that’s just my two cents.
Party management is nothing special and, though you can buy equipment (from your inventory, much less, which again screams mobile game to me) the better equipment will be found in chests. There’s also a magic cauldron in which you can toss items and equipment and gamble for a better return than what you invested. Navigating menus seem better suited for a touch screen rather than a controller and even the spacing of the menu buttons seems geared towards a smaller screen. I suppose it’s expensive and/or inconvenient to reconfigure the UI when porting to multiple platforms. I liked that the characters learn passive skills based on a variety of factors. Get hit with a fire attack, for instance, and you’ll learn or improve your fire resistance skill. There’s a menu where you can check out hints as to how to learn them all. Active skills are broken into four categories: physical, and the three elements earth, fire, water. Characters can learn elements other than the one they start with by using key items. The more you use your active skills, the more experience you’ll gain in that particular category and the more skills you’ll learn. Your wall girl is a slightly different story. You can control which active skills she has available to her via bricks. Yes, as in the building material for a wall—which makes sense. Finding Unlock Bricks opens up more customization slots for a total of 5.
If your party is slain, you can use an in game currency to restore your party to full health or you can simply restart the encounter from the beginning. This is clearly the primo currency you’d purchase via micro-transactions and therefore it feels out of place. You can also use these weird devices to lessen the frequency of the enemy or turn them off completely, which I was glad to make use of after stumbling into battle every ten steps.
Miden Tower has nothing going for it in terms of the looks or music department either, making for an experience that is wholly average. I will say that the enemies were on the unique side, as far as design. From weird chicken creatures with wiggly arms to giant to stone bears that can be cracked open for items, there’s a decent number of the strange and monstrous to kill. Though I will say this: Dear game developers, a colour palette swap does not a new enemy make. Love, Dawn.
Miden Tower looks and feels like a mobile game. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, its lack of an engaging story and heavy reliance on cliche character archetypes makes it difficult to recommend over any number of RPGs that cost a couple of bucks and can be beaten in 5-10 hours.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Miden Tower Review
Gameplay - 5/10
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Replay Value - 5/10
User Review( votes)
- Skill acquisition is different and encourages you to try different things in order to get them all
- Character design
- Low budget assets, including sound and animation
- Frequent textual errors
- Cliche main character and dogged, bland pursuance of revenge makes this an uninspired journey