Have You Played… Tower Of Guns?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Tower of Guns [official site] demonstrates one method by which a developer can capture some of that nineties FPS feeling so many of us crave. Arenas, hordes of enemies and ludicrous weapons that happily fit alongside your double-, triple- and quad-jumping.

Equal parts oldschool FPS, Smash TV and Binding of Isaac, Tower of Guns is a splendid thing. Creator Joe Mirabello spent years in AAA development and was at 38 Studios working on an Amalur MMO when the studio ceased to exist. Seizing the silver lining of that particular cloud, he went solo and made a superbly compact FPS game.

While it has randomised elements, Tower of Guns stitches together handcrafted arenas rather than jumbling corridors and caverns together. It’s intense, funny and extremely difficult. It’s also consistently generous, handing out power-ups and new weapons at a decent rate. While it’ll ask you to start from the bottom of its ever-changing tower over and over again, the ascent is enjoyable from the first step.

Joe will be speaking at GDC about failed prototypes. Hopefully he’s working on another success right now.


  1. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Yes I have and it is friggin marvelous.

  2. Alberto says:

    From its light-hearted humour “Shoot a door to open it, just like in real life” to its lovely murderbots and its difficult curve and the endless random effect-per-room mode.

    It’s impressive how a single dev can put together so many nice things.

    And don’t shoot the hugbots. They love you. And overall difficulty increases when you kill one.

  3. Fnord73 says:

    Oooh, missed it. Will rectify.

    • Flopdong says:

      Get Ziggurat while your at it. Similar concept, except with magic instead of guns and more of a focus on hordes of enemies charging you, rather than hordes of bullets fired by turrets.
      IMO, they are the two best “roguelike” action shooters. (Eldritch is also great, but its more suspense/horror than action)

  4. Jason Moyer says:

    I enjoyed my time with it, but after a full successful run and a few less successful runs I felt like it needed more enemy variety, at least in terms of attack patterns and such. Still a very good game that I would recommend to fans of arena-style (thinking of the original Painkiller) singleplayer FPS games.

    • Baines says:

      I found myself bored of it rather fast.

      On the surface, it feels like it lacks variety in those areas. However, when I think about it, I don’t believe that adding more enemy variations, attack patterns, and the like will remove that “lacks variety” feeling. I think there is something else more fundamental lacking. Something about the base game design itself, that only comes through as a feeling that the game “lacks variety”.

  5. RuySan says:

    I played it and liked it. But Ziggurat is way better imo.

    • Flopdong says:

      I agree. The movement and shooting in Tower of Guns felt a little too “floaty”. Dodging attacks and hitting enemies with my own attacks feels more skillful and rewarding in Ziggurat.
      I think anyone who played lots of 90’s shooters will prefer Ziggurat over Tower of Guns.