Tower of Fantasy: the preview of the new free-to-play action RPG that challenges Genshin Impact

Tower of Fantasy: the preview of the new free-to-play action RPG that challenges Genshin Impact

Tower of Fantasy

Today, August 11, the global servers of Tower of Fantasy, the free-to-play MMO action RPG for PC and iOS and Android mobile devices by Hotta Studio and published by Level Infinite, the publishing label of Tencent, opened. Games. After three years of development, the game was released in China at the end of 2021 and has now finally arrived in our shores, thanks to the success achieved at home and the experience gained thanks to the feedback received from the Chinese community.

There are those who define Tower of Fantasy as the main rival of Genshin Impact, while those describe it as a shameless copy of it. The impression we have made is that the truth lies somewhere in between. Undoubtedly the two productions have more than one trait in common and it is clear that Hotta Studio took inspiration from the work of Hoyoverse (who for the record was accused of having copied from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) , but going beyond appearances it is possible to find substantial differences, which make Tower of Fantasy a unique title in its own way and able to attract a different slice of public.

We had the opportunity to witness to a closed-door presentation of Hotta Studio and to preview the game thanks to a pre-launch build. Unfortunately our test ended prematurely due to a bug related to progression in one of the very first quests, preventing us from advancing further, but we are still ready to offer you our first preview impressions of Tower of Fantasy, waiting to be able to test it in more comprehensively in the next few days now that the global servers have been opened.

Setting and Gameplay

A glimpse of Astra, the first region we will explore in Tower of Fantasy Tower of Fantasy is set in a sci-fi fantasy universe, where space ships, robots and laser weapons are the order of the day. Our adventures take place on the alien planet Aida: here humanity has built gigantic towers to extract the Omnium, a mineral as precious as it is dangerous because it causes the transformation of animals and humans into monsters. This resource is at the center of the interests of various factions, between those who want to ensure control and those who want to prevent its use, and we as the "Wanderer" will find ourselves involved in spite of ourselves in these power struggles.

We will be able to choose whether to impersonate a male or female protagonist through a sort of QTE in the opening sequence, a design choice that will surely be familiar to Genshin Impact players. And it is not the only one. Already in the tutorial alone it is easy to notice other similarities, such as the radial menu for quick access to the map, inventory and so on, as well as the combat system with single-button combo. However, it only takes a few minutes to discover the first major differences between the two productions.

The first is that we can completely customize the aesthetic appearance of our virtual avatar. Thanks to the editor it is possible to modify the size, skin color, facial features, hairstyle, tattoos, accessories and, if desired, even the size of the breast in the case of a female character. A handful of outfit presets are also available, with others unlocking as you progress through the adventure or via premium currency. The developers of Hotta Studio explained to us that the editor is one of the features they are most proud of: the possible combinations are endless and players have completely free rein to create the avatar of their dreams or create characters from anime and manga. If you want, you can even share your creations with the community or import a model made by another player. Then there are the "Simulacra", that is a sort of skins based on unique characters that are unlocked by obtaining the rarest and strongest weapons through the gacha mechanics of Tower of Fantasy, which completely change the appearance of our character. In short, the developers have pushed hard on aesthetic customization, a feature that we are sure will appeal to many players.

Thanks to the Tower of Fantasy editor it is even possible to create characters from anime and manga, in this case here is a Naruto clone Another aspect of Tower of Fantasy on which it is evident that the development team of Hotta Studio has worked with passion is the combat system. Unlike Genshin Impact (which we're sorry to throw in the middle again, but it's the most sensible yardstick), we control a single character, who, however, can equip up to three different weapons and switch between them at any time. Each of the 12 weapon types present at launch, including swords, spears, whips, pistols and bows, feature a special ability and unique moves. The variety is certainly not lacking and the combat system acquires depth thanks to the "Discharge Skill", powerful shots with the most disparate effects that are activated by switching from one weapon to another after filling a special bar, while the "Phantom Time "slows down time by performing a perfectly timed dodge, allowing you to punish enemies similar to Bayonetta's" Witch Time ".

For the moment, however, we have not been particularly impressed by what is offered by the open world of Tower of Fantasy. The dimensions of the game world are enormous, almost overwhelming in the first few hours, and the map abounds with secondary activities, such as small environmental puzzles and enemy camps to be cleaned up in exchange for chests and various rewards. However, the level design seemed generally uninspired and with elements such as resources and enemies that seem to be positioned in bulk in the scenarios. It must be said, however, that we only had the opportunity to explore one of the six regions present at the launch, so it is certainly premature to sum up from this point of view. As for the dynamics related to exploration, Tower of Fantasy makes its own without any particularly noteworthy flicker: it is possible to climb almost any vertical wall, glide thanks to a jetpack and with the advance of the adventure even whiz at full speed. with motorcycles, bipedal robotic vehicles and mechanical unicorns. In short, nothing new under the sun.

Multiplayer and monetization systems

A battle in Tower of Fantasy The main feature that distinguishes Tower of Fantasy from Hoyoverse's direct rival is a sharp focus higher on multiplayer activities. The game world is shared by dozens and dozens of users connected to the same server, who can team up to take down bosses or simply to explore the world of Aida in company. It is also possible to form guilds and create friend lists with the players we met during the adventure. For the more competitive users there are also PvP modes to add further spice to the whole. Unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to concretely test the multiplayer component of Tower of Fantasy, both because we were stuck in the initial stages, as explained at the beginning, and because our sessions were sparsely populated, given that the game servers have opened the flying today only. Undoubtedly it will be one of the main aspects that we will deepen in the next few days before publishing the review.

Another element on which we will inevitably be able to give a concrete opinion only by trying the game more thoroughly is that of the systems of monetization and what impact they have on the gaming economy, particularly once the endgame is reached. Browsing through the game menus we can anticipate that there is the full package: gacha mechanics to "pull" the strongest weapons and related Simulacra, Battle Pass with multiple rewards and sets of resources and more and cheaper items to buy with premium currency.

Leaving aside the comparisons with Genshin Impact, the first few hours with Tower of Fantasy offered us mixed feelings. The combat system felt solid and fun to us, while we were not particularly impressed by the game world, full of activities but also anonymous and uninspired. We do not speak instead on plot, multiplayer and monetization systems which inevitably require more time to be analyzed in depth.


The combat system is solid. The character editor will delight many. The game world is vast and full of secondary activities ... DOUBTS ... but the level design is not particularly inspired. How much will microtransactions weigh on the gaming economy? Have you noticed any errors?

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