Pandora's Tower is a jrpg game for the WII and developed by Ganbrion which was the company’s first original project. The conception of the game was pretty interesting as Ganbrion used to do a lot of licensed games and Nintendo gave them the chance to make them develop their own game.
The story is set in a fictional place called Imperia and is focused on a soldier called Aeron who must explore the 13 towers to stop a curse from turning his wife Elena into a monster. With the aid of Oraclos Chain, Aeron fights enemies and solves puzzles as he tries to save Elena. As you progress through the game you find out more into why the towers were made and why the curse was placed on Elena.
The main goal is to reach the top of the towers to defeat the masters of the towers to cure the curse. However, there are several puzzles along the way that require the use of the Oculus Chain to grapple objects and to traverse around the tower. It can also be used in combat as well like binding enemies and throwing them around. It is not that simple as you have to find chains that are locking the doors to the masters and you must destroy them to reach them.
You level up and increase stats as you defeat enemies. When you defeat masters of towers, your Oculus Chain becomes more powerful and capable of performing other attacks. You can find documents to help you in your journey along the way in the towers. There are healing springs you can find to restore your health and cure you of your ailments and when you need it.You have to collect flesh from the monsters you defeat to help reverse the curse and the more dangerous the monster, the more effective it is. Finding master flesh from defeating bosses from the tower resets the clock and it’s the only way that can stop the curse from fulfilling its destiny. However, flesh can expire after a while so use it wisely. Quality of flesh will slow down the timer and master flesh restarts it all together.
In addition to a wide variety of weapons at your disposal, you can find items to use as required. You can find accessories and create equipment as well but keep in mind it may need to be repaired from time to time and it can be a bit costly.The game has a day and night cycle so items and enemies encountered, will often vary.
The small cast characters were mostly likable. Madva the merchant was the game’s sole comedic relief as her wit and cranky old lady act provided some degree of levity in the story. Aeron isn’t an action hero type character typical of jrpgs and shonen anime. He just wants to cure his wife and stop the madness without all the bravad. Elena, despite her being a damsel of distress, can be useful like translating documents you may find to sell to Madva. She’s someone you feel a lot of sympathy for in the game.
The controls are fairly straightforward. The artstyle was bleak and dark and the monster designs were really unnerving. The atmosphere was pretty tense and you can’t waste any time in the towers. The musical score was really good. The designs of the towers were all unique and interesting.
The endings of the game vary, depending on the relationship you have with Elena and if you fail to give her flesh in time, she becomes a monster and you are eaten alive meaning game over. You can boost her affinity by giving gifts and talking to her from time to time. Keep in mind the longer you take the more monster like and mentally crippled, Elena becomes. Even the observatory area around you becomes more horror like the longer you take. Items can often break easily in the game so best be careful not being hit by strong attacks.
The game does have its share of technical issues. The camera was fixed it got in the way of exploration. You can only save in the observatory tower otherwise it’s a quick save that gets deleted after you use it in the tower. The closet you can find to a fast travel is special gems that you can use once to head back to the observatory.
The game has some replay value like being able to explore what you missed, as well as finding and creating new equipment.
It gets 4 out of 5 stars.