After deleting five apps and about a thousand photos, I finally managed to make enough space on my phone to download another 5.5GB of data on Tower of Fantasy.
It took about an hour to complete the download (half of which was downloaded over mobile data while I was on the train), but before I could immerse myself in the post-apocalyptic landscape, for the first time I was queued to join the server.
I was a bit stunned by the 24 hour timeout shown at first, but in reality it only took 10 minutes before I was allowed into the game.
The story opens with a cutscene that is, of course, filled with vague, out-of-the-ordinary dialogue. Much like Genshin Impact, which many have used as the composite title for this new open world RPG, the way we choose our protagonist (i.e. Boy or Girl) is incorporated into the cutscene itself. scene.
While I was queuing to get into the game, in what I thought would be a funny joke, I designed my main character to be like Xiao in Genshin, so I could only choose male characters. But before Fake Xiao can exist, I have to put on the default male skin first.
The first time controlling my character, I found the animation and mechanics to work very smoothly.
One interesting thing, however, is the interactive cutscene. The scene where we fight a hunting dog is also interspersed by the game. We basically just click where prompted, but still.
After probing a bit more and eventually fainting, I was finally given full rights to (sell) the entire game. Here’s what I think of Tower of Fantasy after the first hour of playing it.
(Be warned, there will be quite a few Genshin Impact comparisons in this installment but not necessarily in a bad way.)
If you haven’t seen all of Tower of Fantasy’s character customization memes, it’s probably best not to.
But, our main character aside, I found the other characters well designed, with Shirli stealing my heart as she greeted me when I regained consciousness.
With her braided blonde hair and an adorable outfit that includes a denim jacket, Shirli is the type of girl design developers have to fall in love with. And you know what? They really got me there.
I also like that many NPCs have quite unique designs and different builds. While I’m sure some people will find Mi-a, the tiny robot maid, annoying, but I find her really cute, too.
However, most eyes will be on Simulacra. What is it you ask? Basically, Simulacra are playable characters in Tower of Fantasy.
Simulacra are not real people, they are basically heroes from the past that you can call upon and emulate. Simply put, they are avatars that come with their own set of dialogue and some basic story.
If you’ve ever consumed anything from the Fate franchise, it reminds me of how the Masters were able to call upon heroes of the past.
On a tangent: Some sources seem to assert that Simulacrum is actually a marketplace for Simulacra varieties. But really, “simulacrum” is just a singular of “simulacra”. I know I’m right because the official website also calls the characters Simulacrum.
Instead of wanting or pulling characters, the gacha system, found in the Special Orders tab, involves alternate weapons. SR or SSR (Super Rare or Special Super Rare) weapon, with the ability to unlock exclusive Simulacra.
I was going to pick out a few of my favorite Simulacras, but after checking them out, I have to say I like them all.
Their design doesn’t look derivative at all, maybe Echo (who looks a bit like Amber) and King (a rocker version of Diluc, maybe?) being an exception.
In fact, it has an interesting and world-building premise
The futuristic, fantasy world of Tower of Fantasy is stunning in a different way than Genshin Impact. I wouldn’t go too far in calling it “gritty”, but it does have a bit of network trouble which I find visually appealing.
With the sci-fi genre, a lot of the game mechanics are actually explained by the game. For example, the jet pack definitely makes a lot more physical sense than Genshin Impact’s gliders, and teleportation devices (spaceships) are really explained by science and everyone can use.
To sum up, I think there’s an element of realism in Tower of Fantasy, which I can really appreciate. The plot is also easy to follow. There are still a lot of questions about our plot at the moment, but that’s more of a reason to keep playing.
The plot so far is good, too. I like the dialogue, but the annoying thing is that you have to wait until a character reaches the end of their sentence before you can move on to the next line.
No ultimate, but capable of multi-weapon combat
Moving on to the combat side of things, characters have the ability to swap between weapon types. I like the concept, although I find switching between weapons can make the gameplay feel difficult.
Each weapon belongs to a certain category, including Ice Shell, Flame, Volt, and Grievous, as far as I can tell. Normal attacks seem to already be able to generate a reaction depending on their type.
Players will also have access to a skill that works with a cooldown. The Volt skill that comes with the original weapon we provided looks a lot like Keqing’s skill in Genshin Impact.
There is also a discharge feature that can be activated when you switch between weapons (only when the weapon is fully charged, however).
One combat feature that I think is cool is how you can fire up your jet pack and then lunge at your enemies from the air.
I guess the soundtrack is great (even if it’s not as good as Genshin Impact)
Even on the login screen, I found the game’s music to be quite pleasant. It’s nothing short of amazing (like Liyue music, in my humble opinion), but certainly good enough to be enjoyed as a BGM.
I’m a big ASMR fan, so I really appreciate the good foley sound and I’d say this game has done it pretty well. I especially noticed it in the intro with its cave-like atmosphere, as well as when it rains.
I played the game in English and the voice acting was very good. The main character pretty much talks, which I don’t mind, and so far, many of the characters we’ve met have quite distinct voices.
However, my managing editor Sade found my voice a bit difficult to hear (even though she’s just an English dub hater).
Admittedly, I found one of the first Simulacrum lines we had access to rather annoying (she kept repeating, “Where are all the baddies?” While I was queuing up to into the server as if I could even scroll to find said baddies).
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Going into the game, I don’t know much about Tower of Fantasy except for the art style and general sci-fi theme.
I didn’t read much about it, because it seemed like it could never dethrone my love for Genshin Impact—a girl can only love so much at a time, you know?
But even after playing it for a while, I honestly don’t see it as a Genshin Impact clone at all. Sure, there are similarities, but not to the extent that it can mislead me.
In terms of art style, I still prefer Genshin Impact’s, and currently, I also like the old game’s playable characters much more than Simulacrum.
Genshin Impact’s playable characters simply have better storylines, helping to establish a special small (social) bond between them and the player.
I wasn’t able to test the multiplayer features, although I did meet other players. Currently only at Level 8, I need three more levels before I can start chatting and interacting with others.
I will also continue to play Tower of Fantasy on my PC, so stay tuned for a more in-depth review once I start playing the MMORPG in earnest.
The main downside of the game that I have experienced is definitely the waiting time. But given its popularity, I understand why some queuing systems are implemented.
Every time I go back to play the game, I have to wait 10 minutes or more. Sometimes by the time I realize I’m on the server, I’m kicked out for inactivity. Hopefully this won’t be as bad in the future, as I’m not a very patient person.
In any case, a big step forward for Tower of Fantasy over the Genshin Impact, is certainly the ability to interact with cats. What more could you ask for, really?
- Learn more about Tower of Fantasy here.
- Read other articles we have written about the game here.