Bringing just a dress shirt and tie to a gun fight? The dapper little dude who stars in Towers may have stepped onto the wrong elevator to his great detriment, but here’s the silver lining: this swiftly approaching bullet hell auto-scroller by Michael Yatskar and Lightworx puts a really neat twist on a worn genre!
I hesitate to use the term bullet hell shooter for good reason. Towers has all the plasma bullet sprays of your typical genre title but gives its player none of the usual means to fight back. Instead, the player manages three godlike abilities the hero fortunately possesses. He can generate a bullet-absorbing shield subject to a cooldown period that may seem generous at first, but it can feel excruciating on higher floors where turrets rain down unrelenting firepower. Absorbing enemy bullets fills an energy meter used for the other abilities: one that handily explodes all turrets onscreen to provide a reprieve, and one that transmutes all visible bullets into curatives.
This all may sound less exciting than the array of weapons you’d find in a true bullet hell shooter, but I came away from a preview build pleasantly surprised with how compelling it is in practice. Frantic evasion is undoubtedly the bedrock game mechanic in most bullet hell auto-scrollers; Towers turns that concept on its head by making enemy fire a directly exploited resource. When you’re in need of a health boost and have to top off that energy meter, it’s time to fire up your shield and jump straight into the crosshairs!