Upward Spelunking: TowerClimb

Back in 2012, I stumbled across a game called TowerClimb [official site]. It had already been in development for a couple of years and, at the time, a beta had been made available to anyone able and willing to cough up five dollars. That payment entitled the purchaser to a copy of the finished game when it was ready for release. Yesterday, TowerClimb arrived on Steam and although I’d forgotten the name, I remembered the game within a minute of playing. Its randomised vertical levels are as unpredictable and varied as I remember.

If you bought the beta and haven’t been able to dig out the original email receipt, you might be able to find assistance in this thread.

And you should try to secure access to the game as soon as possible. Despite some irritating technical issues (as far as I can tell there’s no fullscreen, and no way to mute music and sound effects), TowerClimb is a splendid roguelite platformer.

I’m not a very accomplished climber, more of a fell-walker than a mountaineer, so I doubt I’ve seen even half of what the game has to offer. Not only are there various biomes to discover within the towers, there are also random events, including sudden floods of lava and insect infestations. Initially, I struggled to progress unless the procedural gods were kind, providing plenty of double-jump berries and rocky outcrops that just so happened to resemble staircases.

Once I got the hang of inventory management, carrying an deploying crates as improvised stepladders, I found things slightly less punishing. I’ve seen wonderful and terrible things as I make my way through the floors, but nothing that quite compares with a pack of hounds pouncing at me, falling short, and landing in a puddle of lava.

10 Comments

  1. Dorga says:

    This is way harder the any other rogue like platformer I’ve played.

  2. Ur-Quan says:

    Looks interesting but 5 years in the making? Really??
    Also the “fanmail” in the trailer is hilarious XD

  3. Fuligin says:

    This game is seriously amazing and you should definitely give it a shot if you’re into Spelunky. Heck, if you like roguelikes at all. The fact that it’s got a beautifully impressionist art style and a kickass dreamy brooding soundtrack are icing on the cake.

  4. Universal Hamster says:

    I gotta be a dissenting voice for now, I bought and returned this after half an hour. It’s a game thats very much in, around and up my alley, but I found the controls impossibly frustrating. I was unable to map the d-pad on my controller to have diagonal functions that are essential to gameplay, and using the analogue sticks was about as hideous a proposition as the keyboard. Also the fullscreen option crashes the game.

    Not a great sign that the game was released in this state after 5 years of development, but I hope it becomes worth trying again later on.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      Huh, I got on really well with the controller. Had no desire to use the dpad (it has analogue input, so not sure why that’d be preferable).

      I definitely prefer the controller over the keyboard though. I started on keyboard and found it near impossible. But I’m the kind of PC gamer that only uses a keyboard when absolutely necessary (they’re for typing words!).

  5. ZIGS says:

    The graphics look odd, like a 16-bit console emulator with all those weird filters applied. Other than that , looks interesting

    • Moogie says:

      You may want to try untoggling the ‘depixel’ graphic setting, or whatever it’s called. Just read something about that in the Steam reviews and you might like the aesthetic better with it turned off.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      Yea as Moogie says, it’s a filter and you can turn it off. I’ve gone back and forth to see what I prefer but I think I’m settling on the standard pixelated look. The filter does make some things a little clearer though.

  6. ButteringSundays says:

    Seriously loving this – discovered through this very article. It’s really HARD, but I get better every time I play and seem to discover a new technique every gaming session. It looks simple, but there’s a lot to it. The balance and flow really click after a little while – I’m guessing that’s where a lot of the time went.

    Thanks RPS for pointing me in the direction of another interesting game – might have even found my new go-to ‘just one more turn’ game!