Review : Abomination Tower

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A lot of people dream of hearing the pitter-patter of little feet in their house. I myself dream about the pitter-patter of undead feet. You save so much money on groceries with undead kids, and they never grow up into smelly hairy horrible teenagers. Amethyst Quarter granted my wish with a procedurally generated platformer called Abomination Tower. You play as a headless corpse named uhh… Headless. A short intro cinema shows him being thrown in the trash by the mad scientist who gave him life. Or unlife. Is Headless out for revenge? Does he just want to give his daddy a hug? Is he even capable of cognitive thought? I don’t think these questions will ever be answered. The tower is dastardly difficult, and seems to continue on forever. I suppose the journey is all part of the experience, and there are plenty of scoreboards and unlockables to motivate you on your way. I enjoyed my time with Abomination Tower, however it does fall short in a few areas. What are they? Read on, and lets take a closer look at Abomination Tower.

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There is a lot of wall-jumping in this game. The gameplay is quite similar to a certain popular meat boy, however the levels focus on traveling vertically rather than horizontally. I found the controls to be tight, though it does lose a point for being slightly floaty. As you wall-jump your way past the many obstacles, you will collect eyes which are used to unlock heads for Headless. Not only do the heads make him slightly less headless, they all add their own unique powers. This, combined with a global high-score table, make replayability Abomination Tower’s strongest aspect. Speed-running the levels isn’t easy, especially when you can only take one hit, but if you’re up to the challenge you can try and run through a level as fast as possible for a shot at fame and fortune. I didn’t find the traps or enemies to be extremely innovative, but they certainly are placed in a way that cranks up the difficulty. This game requires almost pixel perfect platforming.

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Most of your deaths in Abomination Tower will be your own doing. The game does fling some stuff at you, but I found most deaths were simply due to crashing into an enemy or miscalculating a jump. While I didn’t find the game to be very innovative, aside from the swapping of heads, it is still a great example of the lost art of platforming. I appreciate that the focus is solely on the platforming. You don’t even get a weapon to strike back against the enemies. You’re simply a misshapen creation on the run from larger abominations. Abomination Tower doesn’t try to be anything that it isn’t, it works well and knows what it wants to do, and for that I applaud it heartily. While the sound FX are certainly decent (I especially like the gross sloppy slapping that wall-jumping makes), I found that the music consisted of only one song. The song is creepy, has a nice progression, and fits the aesthetic however only having one song means that extended play sessions can be the equivalent of psychological warfare.

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While I enjoyed Abomination Tower, my main points of criticism are due to the aesthetics. The graphics are decent, but remind me of a flash game. If you’re going to go low-res, I’d suggest going full retro. This game would’ve looked super in 16-bit. There is not really a story besides the opening scene of a scientist dumping a corpse in the trash. Perhaps the story is resolved at some point, but I painstakingly worked my way up to level six without so much as a boss fight. The only changes in the stages was a palette swap every 4 or 5 levels, which I guess makes sense because you’re climbing the same castle, but it certainly left me wanting for more. Level design also loses out because many obstacles can be avoided. Overall though, Abomination Tower is a great way to kill 10 minutes. Then you can reanimate some of those killed minutes and replace their head with a butt. Oh yea, it has a great sense of humor too which is a great accomplishment for a game having such a dark theme. Kudos. Big thanks to Amethyst Quarter for the review copy. I hope to see more from you guys in the near future.

Gameplay:

  • Controls- 9/10
  • Fun Factor- 7/10
  • Difficulty- 8/10
  • Replayability- 8/10
  • Innovation- 3/10

Aesthetic:

  • Graphics- 5/10
  • Music- 4/10
  • Sound FX- 7/10
  • Story/Lore- 0/10
  • Level Design- 6/10

Final Score: 57/100 for replayability, difficulty, and controls.

Summary: Procedurally-generated undead platformer with scoreboard and collectible heads!

Abomination Tower was released on Steam Feb. 13th 2015.

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