Elena is a young girl that has been chosen to sing at the Harvest Festival and Aeron, her lover, watches the ceremony between the crowd when suddenly something attacks her and causes the chaos in the imperial city of Eliria. During the following madness Aeron and Elena are helped by a strange merchant from the Vestra tribe called Mavda that asks them to run out from the city and hide in a remote place called "The Observatory".
Some kind of mark has appeared in the back of Elena, that mark is the proof of an old curse called The Beast's Curse, if nothing is done, Elena will turn into a beast. That's what Mavda explains to the young couple and that's the reason why they had to escape from the city, because the Imperial Army is looking for them to kill them since Elena is cursed and Aeron is a soldier from an enemy land.
Once they reach The Observatory, Mavda will reveal them that the only way to lift Elena's curse is eating flesh from the 13 masters of the 13 towers suspended above "The Scar", a huge bottomless precipice in front of the observatory. Aeron is the only one who can help Elena and his duty will be reaching each tower's top, defeat their Masters, pull off their flesh and bring them to Elena to eat them raw.
Sorry Elena, that's the only way...
You will also see how Elena, the sweet and innocent girl, changes with the passage of time. If she doesn't eat flesh from time to time she will slowly mutate to become into a monster. And Aeron, the silent and brave warrior, will do whatever it takes to save his lover. If Aeron and Elena keep a good relationship during the game you will see the best of the 5 possible endings at the end of the game.
Pandora's Tower is an Action RPG game and as near examples of the gameplay we could mention Zelda and Darksiders. In these games a single character will explore several places using different weapons, solve puzzles and fight against different enemies in different dungeons in real time battles.
In this game the playable character is Aeron, who must explore each one of the towers and defeat each one of The Masters to get their flesh. For that purpose we will use a sword and a magical chain known as the Oraclo's Chain that Mavda gives us and we could use as whip to paralyze enemies, hang from it to reach far off places and, of course, as hook to pull out flesh from the monsters.
So, the water temple, huh?
During your visit to the towers you will collect money, items, documents and flesh. As we've said, there are 13 towers and each tower has unique items to collect and more or less chains to cut off, from just 2 the first ones to 4 at the end. Also at the beginning you can only explore one at a time, but later you can explore them in any order you want since we don't need any special item or weapon like in Zelda games to get into the next dungeon.
The money you collect is to buy things from Mavda in the Observatory that is where she and Elena are waiting for Aeron and is the only place to visit apart from the towers. With that money you can buy different items for yourself like health potions or items and presents for Elena, and this is important because you have to keep a good relationship with her to get the best ending possible.
There's a chain blocking this door!
You can sell the items you get to make more money but the purpose of the tiems is improving your equipment (your weapons) or creating new objects by combining them, like stronger armors, protective amulets, defensive bracelets, etc. The main problem about items is that you can't carry more than 30 items at once (but you can expand it up to 50 giving the right items to Elena to make you a bigger bag), but don't worry you can save all your items in a chest in The Observatory.
To equip items you will use “equipment space”, which is a grid from a certain measure that will grow up with your level. Then, for example, your sword needs 6 spaces of that grid and your armor 4 spaces, but later a better armor will consume 6 or 8 spaces. Something normal as equipment turns into an interesting task filling your grid with the most suitable combination of items.
Documents are not directly an important part of the game but it's the only way you have to know anything about “The Scar”, The Towers or the war. This is the easiest way to give information to the player from the small company that developed the game but some of those stories would have been much better showed as videos. Some of the files you find are in an ancient language that Elena will translate for us and Mavda will buy our documents so it's another way to make money.
And now comes the good part, flesh. Elena needs to eat Master's flesh due to her curse and while we are in the towers we can see a “Curse bar” that shows us the remaining time until Elena turns into a monster. But since it's difficult to reach the top and defeat the Master at time, we can get flesh from any other monster. That flesh will refill the curse bar a few or half bar depending on its quality, but it'll give us enough time to kill the Tower's Boss.
Master's flesh is basically the weak point of each boss. During the battle we will see a white spot in enemy's body and we have to use our chain as a hook aiming with the Wii mote. Once it's incrusted in their body we have a few seconds to fill our chain bar (the longer it's incrusted, the faster is filled) and pull out to damage Master's life bar. Once it's empty Aeron takes a piece of Master Flesh and brings it to Elena. At the beginning Master's weak point will be easy to find but later each monster will need a different strategy to find the weak point, so battles against Masters are funny, challenging and gore.
Aeron, Elena and Mavda are the main and only characters of the game and they 3 are completely different from each other. Elena is a lovely, sweet and joyful girl (she also has blue hair and red eyes like Rei Ayanami) and you have to like her. Due to her curse she will eat a lot of raw flesh and that's shocking since it's something never seen before. But she will change her mind about flesh during the game and near the end of the it watching her eating is... well, you have to see that. The few cutscenes that occurs during the game are when Aeron brings Master Flesh to the Observatory. Then, once Elena has eaten a piece of it, a flashback will be seen. It tells the story of a young couple during an unknown past war time, something that seems unrelated with the main story of the game but will be getting sense at the end when most of the things are revealed.
Give me your flesh, Master!
The only places you will visit during the game are "The Observatory" and the Towers. The Observatory it's your home, where you can rest, save your data and items and interact with the rest of the characters. Mavda will be in charge of selling, buying and combine items and Elena will be there to translate files and chat. It's your base, it has a couple of beds, a kitchen and a basement where you can find random information.
The 13 towers are different shaped towers but not different themed buildings. In fact they are based on the 6 elements of earth but twice; six protected by 6 Gods and the other six protected by 6 Goddesses, except for the last one (that is basically for the last battle) . So each tower has a certain element related items, decoration and enemies. That's a good thing when you need to find specific items (and tricky since you can visit during day and night and enemies and items appear and disappear).
To compensate the second visit to the same element, each “second tower” is taller and more difficult than the first one. But I have to mention the last 2 towers (shadow and light), that you will explore at the same time teleporting from one to another to solve both of them as a giant puzzle, that's brilliant. Tower's are very funny and they aren't too long so you don't get tired of any tower. During the game the difficulty level isn't very high, it's challenging during some battles against masters, but it's never too much difficult.
There are 2 chains to find in this tower.
One of the best things of Pandora's Tower is the soundtrack composed by Yuichi Hirose and Takayuki Kobara. Most of the songs are arrangements of classical themes like Liebestraume No.3, Ma Vlast or something clearer like the famous Verdi's requiem Dies Irae. This fact doesn't reduce the quality of the final soundtrack since all songs are greatly arranged and the main theme is simply superb.
Probably the bad part of the music in this game is the quantity of themes. There's only music when there's a monster in the same room as you, in The Observatory and during Masters battle, but this last ones are great so the experience of fighting against one of the Masters is even much better. Then, most of the time there's no music or it's so light that you don't realize it's there and many times they are different versions of the same theme for the cutscenes. Basically Pandora's Tower soundtrack compensates the lack of quantity with a great quality.
The game is completely subbed and dubbed into English and voices fit perfectly. The young and sweet Elena has a lovely voice, Aeron barely talks and Madva has a creepy voice that fits her image perfectly with that sinister laugh. We can also listen a few more voices from the flashbacks of Elena when she eats Master Flesh but they are static images and characters aren't clearly shown so we just have to believe they are the perfect voices for those people. The result is a decent voice acting work.
Pandora's Tower is a great and funny game that could last about 20 hours and you can replay it again to improve your relationship with Elena and find new items in secret rooms. The main story is very interesting and helping a girl in trouble this way has never been seen before. The gameplay is dynamic with a normal weapon to kill enemies in real time battles and a magical chain that we will use for several things. Music and voices are great so the main experience of the game is pretty satisfactory with 5 different endings possible according to the relationship between Elena and Aeron.