To me one of the best games of this year, Tower of Guns has far exceeded my expectations. Although I saw some early gameplay on YouTube, I wasn't sure how well the roguelike/lite gameplay would fit in a FPS. Needless to say, it worked beautifully.
Essentially, Tower of Guns is about fighting your way up a tower filled with automatons all hell-bent on your death. You begin by choosing a weapon and a perk. As you complete the game, you will unlock other guns/ perks which can be used on different playthroughs. On your way up, you'll also collect power ups, such as additional jumps, damage, luck, jump height, and difficulty increases or decreases. Additionally, you may replenish health and experience (more on that later) via pickups.
Overall, the graphical quality of the game is fairly good. I personally think he style fits the game well, although the enemy design is sometimes a bit lackluster. The homogenous nature of the early environment (a lot of brown/yellow) meshes well with the mechanical killing of automatons, and the cartoony style is quite interesting.
Sometimes criticized for a lack of variety in the gunplay, the each run revolves around the weapon you choose. There are about a dozen weapons to choose from, presuming you've unlocked them, and each fits a different style of play. Occasionally, the player may find a second weaapon in a run, although it is fairly uncommon. These secondary weapons are often extremely powerful when leveled up, and can save a run on their own if used correctly. As you defeat enemies, you'll pick up “blue exp” to make your weapon stronger, changing the size, color, and effects of your bullets/projectiles. The max level (assuming you don’t use a certain perk to increase it) is 5, and once the cap is reached, you can no longer pick up exp.
However, level 5 does not guarantee a victory. As you take damage, and your health decreases, the weapon you are using also loses exp. Even if you survive a rough room, you may still have difficulty in the coming levels, as your weapon may have lost numerous levels. This adds an extra level of complexity to the game, and often your weapon de-leveling can spell disaster to an otherwise perfect run. There are also "use items" which can be recharged by collecting "yellow exp." Weapon mods are also sometimes available, and can change the nature of your weapons projectiles, adding effects such as explosive shots or rapid fire.
The level design overall is quite good. Each “floor” is made up of multiple rooms. The rooms you encounter are randomized, but after numerous playthroughs you are bound to see most/ all of them. However, I've yet to see, or remember, the order of the rooms ever be the same. Additionally, most rooms have “secrets” which the player often can stumble upon simply by moving through a room in a different way. It's not uncommon to visit a room 10 times across many plathroughs, only to find a secret you never knew existed on the 11th visit. At the end of each floor there is a boss fight. Once the boss is defeated, the door to the next room will open and the player can move to the next floor.
If there is one thing that separates this particular FPS roguelike/lite from others at the time of writing (I won't mention names, but I'm sure there's one that most are thinking of), it's the mobility of the character. Additional jumps make the game a blast, and sometime ludicrous speeds can be reached by the end of a playthrough (if the player fins enough speed++ powerups).
There isn't much of a story to speak of. =If it is toggled on in the options menu, the player will see a small text box conversation at the beginning of each floor, expanding on an (often humorous) little tale about the protagonist. Interestingly, the story itself is random in the sense that each run will portray the main character (you) as a different person. While the different perspectives/stories have no appreciable affect on gameplay, and can be turned off, they are often quite funny, and add a bit of spive to each level.
I personally didn't find the “base” game to be tremendously difficult. Within five or so hours I had beaten it once or twice. However, the game definitely warrants multiple playthroughs, and there are some ways of increasing the difficulty. On perk, for example, causes the game to be much harder (the player starts with difficulty ++ cards) and all enemies to spawn as elite. Additionally, in a normal run, difficulty ++ cards can be picked up to make the game somewhat harder.
The options menu is alright. There are a number of resolution options, as well as fullscreen. Motion blur, bloom, and MSAA are also available. Mouse smoothing (acceleration) is also toggle-able. There are some issues, however. For one, there is no borderless windowed mode. Additionally, if run in windowed mode, the game defaults to the base resolution (1152x864) each time. For some reason, the game also doesn't seem to like 1920x1080 in windowed, and will default to a slightly lower resolution. Keep in mind this may be a personal problem. It didn't affect gameplay, however.
Buy this game. It's a fantastic time killer, with a solid difficulty curve and rewarding gameplay. If you can get get past the fact that you use one gun for the entirety of the run, the intersting shooting mechanics, excellent movement, and randomized nature of each run will keep you playing for hours.