Back in the day, one of my favorite games to play was the incredible Castle Crashers. The simple, yet addicting 2D side-scrolling combat mixed with the hilarious story and basic art style made for a game that is hard to put down. It was also a blast to play with friends; running back and forth while jumping and slashing enemies to get through levels was unmatched by any other multiplayer games I tried to play. While some games have captured that same enjoyment, none seem to have the spark I sought. But, it seems that spark may find its way to me again.
Towerborne is an upcoming title from Stoic (The Banner Saga devs) and Xbox Game Studios that feels like an evolution of what Castle Crashers could have been. Just like Castle Crashers, this is a co-op side-scrolling combat game where you will run around, jump, and cut down swarms of enemies. And at Gamescom, I was able to try it for myself.
You have two buttons to attack, a weak and strong strike, and the ability to jump and use specific weapon abilities. But Towerborne takes things a little further to stand out. The two biggest changes that will elevate the experience are the gear system and the levels. The gear system brings in ways to not only customize how your fighter looks but also change the way they fight. As you play, you will find gear and weapons that each have their own unique abilities. The weapons fall into one of four types: War Clubs, Dual Daggars, Sword and Shield, and Gauntlets. Each one feels unique and drastically changes the way you will play.
As for the levels, this huge world map is procedurally generated. This means each level will feel different and unique from one another. Add in seasonal post-release content, which is planned, and you have an ever-evolving game that will keep us going for a while. It's best to play this with friends, but you can play through the game solo. It is also an always-online game, meaning you will need to be connected to the internet, but with the focus being on multiplayer and consistently bringing in new content, it makes some sense.
I loved playing Towerborne for the time I was able to. I used the War Club weapon and had a blast running, attacking enemies, and combining my weapon's abilities to maximize damage. I did this a couple of times during the boss fight by lighting my club on fire for extra damage and then using my ultimate ability to get in as much dampossibley could.
After speaking with the CEO of Stoic Trisha Stouffer, I also learned that the game is being tested on the Steam Deck! While I didn't get any specific numbers, they say it runs pretty well. To me, this means we have a stable 30 FPS with solid visuals, but no matter what, it's fantastic that the team is taking the Deck into account, especially since that will be the primary way I play the game.
Towerborne doesn't have a release date yet, but it will be available on Steam, and you can wishlist it now. I am excited to see the full release and can't wait to dive into it with my friends.
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