Review: TowerFall (Switch)

It’s easy to see the appeal of Nintendo’s Switch when it comes to being able to play anywhere. But I don’t see many folk tout how great it is as a multiplayer console. There’s something inherently charming about not just telling somebody about a competitive or cooperative game but pulling the joy-con off of its side and just playing the damn thing anytime, anywhere. I’m sure there are people who want to crab about the online experience, but for any type of local shenanigans it’s really hard to beat.

There may be a little bias in this assessment, as I have built-in gaming buddies in the form of my kids. But I’ve seen instances where those cringe-inducing rooftop Switch parties full of trendy twentysomethings in Nintendo’s adverts aren’t far removed from the truth.

One game that shines particularly brightly within this ethos is TowerFall. The game has you playing with up to six people in a 2D arena in which you hop, bop and shoot at each other until only one person (or in many cases, nobody) is left standing. The game has a great sense of movement, with the running and jumping being brisk and the wall-hopping and edge grabbing feeling very natural and precise. There’s a certain thrill to chasing or being chased in an enclosed space, dodging arrows and obstacles all the while. To keep the game from being an outright shootout, each player is equipped with a small set of arrows that, once loosed, must be retrieved should you miss. It gives TowerFall a wonderful sense of balance, in which exhausting your opponent’s quiver (and perhaps refilling your own) is as worthwhile a strategy as all-out pandemonium.

More often than not the game is played out in quick rounds, with a neat rewind feature that’ll give you a replay of the final blow. Whether the win was a result of skill or sheer luck, I love to watch the replay. High-level play and humorous outcomes are always entertaining, and the briskness of everything means there’s no dawdling.

What keeps my boys and I continually coming back to TowerFall is the amount of variables and modifiers you can apply to the different modes. The bulk of the fun is in the standard competitive scene, but there’s also a robust adventure mode that has you and friends tackling waves of enemies as they encroach upon the numerous levels. Each fiddle Of a modifier begets interesting results, and there’s never been a dull moment from anything we’ve tried. I think I’m legally obligated to mention there’s a single-player component, but it can’t hold a candle to the exploits of a good party.

There are titans of multiplayer in the Switch’s library, from ARMS to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to the assuredly huge Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and TowerFall stands tall and proudly among them. It’s seen release on other systems, but for whatever reason it feels the most at home here. If you own a Switch, don’t hesitate for a second to pick up TowerFall if you’ve got a regular gaming crew, or at the very least some family and friends who like to party with a controller in their hands on occasion. You could even do it on a rooftop, if you like.

TowerFall is available for Switch and features all of the content from TowerFall: Ascension and TowerFall: Dark World.

Disclosure statement: Review code for TowerFall was provided by Matt Makes Games. A Most Agreeable Pastime operates as an independent site, and all opinions expressed are those of the author.

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