I finally managed to get around to playing the second instalment of The Tower, A highly atmospheric and original game from Narrow Monolith. I have been waiting to play this for sometime now, after enjoying the first instalment (previous article here) greatly, but being away at the Eurogamer Expo I had no time to play the new instalment.
The second instalment this time it takes place in the past with the aim of highlighting some of the developments that occurred prior to being shackled in this prison. Teleported back into Eliot’s former life on his farm, now seems alien from the harsh realities of The Tower.
This dynamic is commonly used in all forms of media and works as a great vessel to add depth to the narrative and the character overall, however I feel in The Tower it missed the mark. Going back to Eliot’s past life living and working on a farm in a very idyllic part of England, is a stark contrast from what we saw in the first installment of The Tower. The setting is fantastic and really shows how Eliot’s life has changed in a heartbeat, using rich colours and fantastically lit environments the pallet choices are great and the scenery does look equally as fantastic.
It started off very interestingly, creating a big contrast in environments. From this leap back I expected to be washed over with a rich narrative of Eliot’s past life, his experiences and all manner of interesting points in his life. In actually I felt little character development actually occurred. The instalment felt more of a tech demo or stop gap episode rather than anything more meaningful, as you fulfill all manner of meaningless farm chores.
Eliot did not speak much at all, only providing a basic introduction to his farmhouse and a rather basic outro. The rest of the time spent in this dream was silent and monotonous, with little story actually being developed.
I felt a lot of the tasks took a very long time to complete and were rather boring and uninspired, I wouldn’t of minded having to do some basic tasks if Eliot would offer up more story whilst I did, but this didn’t happen. The tasks were capped off with you having to wait in silence whilst your food cooked again missing a key point to develop the character or narrative more. All these extended tasks, the long lengths of time waiting for your food to cook, felt just like Narrow Monolith where padding out this installment and I was very disappointed.
After the first Instalment which I found well paced with a very interesting narrative (although very short), coupled with some great ideas in the puzzles encountered. I expected the second installment to contain more of the same and a continuation in the narrative to really pull me into Elliot’s life. Narrow Monolith really did miss the mark with this installment, I am not sure what happened but it really could’ve been a great addition to the story. The vehicle for advancing the narrative was in place, I just felt it was overlooked sadly.
This instalment was not a bad addition, just it did not offer quite what I had expected. I still hold high hopes for the next instalment, as to me the story seems very engaging and I felt a little short came across this time.
The Tower is Available on Desura here, Narrow Monolith also have an Indiegogo here. I encourage anyone who has enjoyed the game to consider donating to Narrow Monolith as I am sure The Tower still has a lot to offer.