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Tower Behind the Moon

by Kyle Marquis

epic fantasy
2018

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Extreme TTRPG-style power fantasy--ascend to the gods, December 28, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
When I was a kid, I read tons of Dragonlance books. My brother and I owned over 100, read them, laminated them.

I always liked them better than Forgotten Realms because the Dragonlance characters were more human. At the beginning of the Dragons of Autumn Twilight, everyone is pretty low level. Raistlin doesn't even know fireball.

But the Forgotten Realms books were always super over-powered. A character murders gods and becomes a god. Elminster goes to a fireball competition and explodes a fireball the size of the sun. Stuff like that.

This game is more like Forgotten realms. You play as an incredibly powerful archmage (much more powerful than a level 20 D&D character) who is ready to ascend to Godhood, but someone is sabotaging your plans. You have to find a way to keep yourself alive and in power long enough to ascend (or to take over the world, or many other goals).

There is intense worldbuilding, with dozens of characters, creatures, spells, artifacts, etc. in a traditional RPG style setting (dragons, plane shifting, wizards, bards, knights, etc.)

I'm usually all over this kind of thing, but as I said earlier, there a couple of flaws for me.

-The narrative arc is flat. There's no real growth; you start out as super-powerful, then become more super-powerful, then even more super-powerful. By the later chapters, it makes more sense, and feels better, but the first few chapters made me feel like I had nowhere to go and no real stakes since I started out having already 'won'.

-The character is pretty much evil or close to it, but I didn't really get a motivation for it. I can compare this game to Endmaster's Eternal in some ways, a game I recently played that also has a notably villainous PC (although Eternal is much darker overall), and even though Eternal had an even more evil protagonist, it's motivated more because you're a servant sworn to work for a master. In this game, you answer to no one and nothing. Many of your choices are just evil for evil's sake. I guess it's the difference between being an anti-hero (like in Eternal or Champion of the Gods or Metahuman, Inc. or even Megamind) vs being a straight-up villain.

But these are minor quibbles. The writing is clearly good. The game is very large, one of the longest (in playtime) that I've played for Choice of Games, and most of the problems I mention go away after the first few chapters.

So if you play the demo and enjoy it, it only gets better from there and is worth the price.

As a final note, the game does a brilliant job with changing the stats screen to reflect your situation, and I wish there was some 'best stats screen' or 'coolest Choicescript trick' award I could give the game for that.

- mifga (Brooklyn, NY), October 26, 2020


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