Jun 14, 2013

E3 2013 Indie Showcase: TowerFall

E3 was pure insanity this year, with reveals of future AAA blockbusters, the start of a new console war and more expo goers than I have ever seen at E3. Even with the madness of it all, the more games we played (and by played I mean mostly watched) the more we felt it right to start focusing on the quieter side of E3, the indie games.

With the strong focus on indie games by the likes of Sony, it became increasingly obvious how important they were for the growth of the industry in the coming years. To focus on the lesser known titles of E3, I'm happy to present Awesome Robo's E3 2013 Indie Showcase, an upcoming set of posts focusing on the independent side of E3. To kick things off, I'd like to spend a bit of time with one of the hidden gems of E3, TowerFall, an indie multiplayer fighting game with an awesome twist.

TowerFall, developed by Matt Thorson, is everything I've ever loved about multiplayer games, borrowing ideas from the likes of GoldenEye, Bushido Blade and most importantly Super Smash Brothers. With up to 4 players, everyone takes the role of an archer as they jump, dodge, and shoot their way to victory. The insanity of arrows flying around on screen is turned up a notch when you realize everything kills in one hit. The constant struggle of avoiding arrows while countering back with your own leads to incredibly fast and frantic matches, often times ending in screams of agony as you barely miss a shot.

The mechanics are rather simple, each player starts the round with three arrows, each time you use one you're required to pick it back up in order to add it back to your inventory. This constant threat of running out of ammo adds an element of strategy in itself. In a few instances of our playtime, players were hoarding the arrows in order to turn around and machine gun them into the remaining enemies' face.

To shoot your arrows, you simply hold your fire button down, the longer you hold the farther your shot travels, if it hits an enemy they dead. The twist here rears it's ugly head when you soon realize that each shot homes towards the nearest enemy, causing arrows to arc up and down towards their face. Of course, TowerFall wouldn't be a true competitive game without the ability to dodge or block attacks. As an arrow approaches, players can quickly dodge the arrow allowing them to grab it mid-air and add it to their inventory.

In order to up the ante even more, players can pick up different items that affect the environment and their shots, with items such as bombs, time freezes, and lava walls. The game truly picks up as everyone fights to obtain these items, and when someone finally does, all hell breaks loose. On the surface, TowerFall begins is an incredibly fast and straightforward game, but the more time spent playing the more strategy begins to arise, leading to some intense back-and-forth battles.

The time we spent with TowerFall was some of the most fun we had during E3 this year. It's rare to find a game where you vocally yelling at strangers in excitement, but TowerFall managed to break the ice pretty damn quickly.

TowerFall will be launching exclusively for Ouya later this month, which may be one of the only reasons I pick up the device. Matt did mention an interest in developing it on PC, but as of right now the game's focus is strictly Ouya exclusive. Keep an eye out, because TowerFall holds some of the best multiplayer action we've touched in a while

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