Tower Unite was created by Pixeltail Games on April 8th, 2016 for Steam. This game was almost entirely based on the original creator’s plugin and gamemode for Garry’s Mod, Gmod Tower, lasting from 2009 to 2016, shutting down to focus on their new project. The original game, Gmod Tower, garnished a huge crowd that praised the game as something akin to an MMO, with a currency system earned through events, minigames, and trading, the minigames themselves being unique or based on popular franchises such as Mario Kart or Super Monkey Ball, and its customization aspect allowing players to purchase models, hats, and furniture to decorate themselves and a charming hotel room. Tower Unite aims to capture that same charm the original has with some major improvements that were limited in the Source engine, and they have captured that original charm very well. Many of the games that Tower Unite has are ripped straight from the original Gmod tower now with a new coat of paint, new maps, and even new mechanics for these games, with some massive new expansions since then. The customization aspect is also vastly more creative, with bigger “condos” for players to decorate with no limit, the ability to import or use imported models that other creators have made, and even being able to use the internet to take pictures and use them to decorate your home! But there are some blatant problems with the game that need to be brought up that might put off some people, so let’s discuss the good and bad of Tower Unite.
A chat room meets Mario Party meets The Sims
Story and lore - 6.5/10
Gameplay and mechanics - 8.5/10
Graphics, setting, artstyle - 5/10
Soundtrack - 8/10
Replayability - 9/10
Overall ranking - 7.5/10
Tower Unite doesn’t have an official story to the world, with no discernable goal outside of the one you set. However, not every game that exists needs to have a story to back it, and this is a good example of one that doesn’t need one. Sometimes, having no story is better than attempting to place a story that doesn’t fit, and for this genre of essentially no genre, having a story would be useless. Saying that, you can create stories that aren’t based on any lore, but from the colorful cast of players that you often meet, as you’ll never know what escapade you might come across, whether it’s someone roleplaying a murder mystery that you got caught in, or a man who throws eggs at you saying that you should eat your breakfast, which gave me reminiscent thoughts of games like VRchat or Second Life.
Tower Unite is a game where it’s nearly impossible to be completely bored of. The main draw of games are the “game worlds”, of which there are currently six as of the time of writing this. Ball Race is a momentum based racing game where you only use the movement keys to get through various levels in a “world” while racing against other players. This one I really enjoyed immensely, as I can use the momentum to my advantage and find secret paths or shortcuts, and I never really found the game mode to be unfair with its momentum. “Virus” is a game of tag, where one infected member must chase other players and touch them to infect them as well; however, the other players are armed and able to kill the infected to keep them at bay, which I also rather enjoyed, even if there’s a minimum of four people, and it often isn’t played. “Little Crusaders” is a game of risk and reward, a dragon with a button on their back has to eat the knights, while the knights have to try to get behind and press the button. This was an alright game mode, the button pressing is a little clunky, but still fun with friends. “Zombie Massacre” is a top down shooter where you and other survivors have to fend off various zombies using weapons you picked up and the abilities you have, which is definitely a lot of fun with multiple people. “Accelerate” is almost identical to Mario Kart in terms of games and mechanics, and although this game mode doesn’t feel as good or polished as the game, it’s still a great Mario Kart clone on a PC. And “Minigolf” is exactly as it sounds like, minigolf, using different strengths to get through various holes and using angles to bounce yourself, this being the most popular amongst its players. And that’s not even the entire game, there’s the plaza that hosts a variety of activities, shops, events, achievements, and games such as casinos, arcades, fishing, and laser tag, and that’s not even mentioning the almost infinite possibility of creativity in the condo. There is something for any kind of player, whether someone is a casual player who enjoys keeping it slow, an artist who likes to create massive buildings or locations, or a gamer who enjoys competitive games and competing against other players. While the games themselves are not groundbreaking or amazing, they’re all quite fun, even when played alone.
Tower Unite uses the engine Unreal engine 4, created in 2012, and has been used for some outstandingly beautiful games even to this day. However, the graphics for Tower Unite are perhaps the worst aspect of the game. While it does look quite pretty at points, the graphics themselves, even at ULTRA settings, can be a bit blurry and smudged. I would occasionally come across pictures or signs that are so blurry, you can’t read or even tell what it’s supposed to be, which can be annoying if the text explains how to play the minigame. Some of the NPC models are almost copy-pasted verbatim, while some NPC models feel like they’re from completely different games. They might be trying to have various art styles to reflect that it’s a game for all kinds of people, but it’s the kind of inconsistency that’s very noticeable. However, the art style is very pleasing, being very vibrant, colorful, and cartoony, which reminded me of the newer Crash Bandicoot games The setting is a calming one, a giant tower with a sort of outlet mall with an arcade, casino, club and game worlds port surrounding a fountain. Overall, while the attempted art style is pleasing and can have cute details such as advertisements for shops in the game, the occasional blurriness and sometimes laziness of models can distract you from the game.
All of the tracks were composed by William Reid, who started his career with this game, and a lot of the tracks are simply musical cues, or recycled from other parts of the game, such as the minigame music being a sped up version of one of the ball race world tracks. The tracks overall are varied, from funky disco beats, an upbeat snowy rock, and an adrenaline raising track for Virus. While the tracks aren’t mind-blowing, most of them are very catchy and seldom get annoying as they loop in most games. One track that’s one of my personal favorites is the Ball race prism track for its funky drops! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6WXDjzgztI
Tower Unite is a game anyone can pick up at any time and still have a blast playing it. For the more popular games, like “Ball Race” or “Minigolf”, you will almost always find someone playing through a match that will welcome you, and there’s always something to do at the plaza, whether it’s goofing off with people who join, gambling your hard earned cash at the casino, or trying to get that plushy you’ve always wanted at the arcade’s crane game. There are also a massive 525 achievements in the game for those completionists that range from being a couple clicks away to being time consuming but rewarding, and when you complete an achievement, you’re rewarded with game’s currency! This is especially great due to the game being in early access, and new stuff is being added every once in a while, so if someone hasn’t played in a long time, they might discover something new to play with! Whether it’s for a week, a month, or even a year, every time I play the game, I always going to find something fun to do!
One of the biggest things this game has going for it is its absolute customizability. I can customize everything about your model, being able to choose a model of nearly any kind of character from the Steam Workshop, every model works with any hats, glasses, wrist item, backpacks, and particles around me. There are hundreds of different toys players can play with, from throwable popcorn to a flamethrower to an RC plane, and some of these items can interact with other players and even NPCs, which is really fun! But one of the most amazing aspects are the condos, which you can completely edit. Most of the condos are one building (or a couple!) that are completely empty, but with the currency you get from playing all of these game worlds and minigames, you can buy furniture and decorations for your house, and the possibilities are endless! They have building materials players can buy, such as blocks and walls, that you can customize with both textures used in game, or use textures from online! Another interesting aspect of the condo is the fact that you can get a television or computer and play a youtube video on it, allowing you to have a movie night with friends and visitors, which is an interesting idea I’m surprised more games similar to this don’t implement.
Overall, this game is a really fun experience even when playing alone, even more when you’re with a couple friends. While the minigames they offer aren’t mind blowing or extremely polished, there’s still a ton of fun and there’s so much variety; I can move from one game to another and still progress with currency and not get bored. The community on this game is quite enjoyable, and I often found a lot of moments where I’ll be cracking up by doing silly things and going on adventures around the plaza. The customization and building aspect is perhaps one of the best things about this game, with plenty of different “condos” to decorate, from a deserted island with a modern house to a recreation of a couple Gmod Tower maps to even a completely empty spot where you could build whatever you want; the only limit is your imagination! One problem that the game has is the inconsistent graphics and the style between a cartoony vibrant style to basic cookie cutter characters. If they focused on switching out the very basic NPCs out with their own styled characters, then that covers the strange inconsistency. This game is definitely worth the pick-up, especially if you want something new to do with some friends, or make some new ones!
You can get the game on steam here:
~A huge variety of games for all kinds of players
~No microtransactions or ingame purchases, rare for an MMO game
~Endless creativity in condos, and even more if you know how to import models!
~Lackluster and somewhat lazy graphics and models
~Many of the game worlds, while fun, are clearly not as good as the games they are based on