Pandora's Tower Unexpectedly Returns Courtesy of the Wii U eShop

Pandora's Tower Unexpectedly Returns Courtesy of the Wii U eShop

Revisit this odd but interesting action game on the Wii U.

Of all the Operation Rainfall games, Pandora's Tower seemed the least likely to actually come out in the U.S. The Last Story had Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi behind it, while Xenoblade Chronicles had the benefit of extremely strong buzz. Pandora's Tower was a quirky action game developed by a mostly unknown studio in which the hero saved a girl from a curse by feeding her monster flesh.

All three eventually made it out in the U.S., though Pandora's Tower had to be rescued from the abyss by XSEED after Nintendo declined to localize it. But of them all, Pandora's Tower is the one that's getting released on the Wii U's digital download service first. That's... odd... considering the pedigree of the other Operation Rainfall games. That said, Pandora's Tower is potentially worth your time.

As I mentioned earlier, Pandora's Tower is an action game in which the goal is to keep a sick girl from turning into a monster by feeding her beast flesh. To accomplish this goal, the hero Aeron has to ascend multiple towers to defeat the nightmarish bosses waiting at the top, then get back to his girlfriend before she turns into a terrifying mutant. As game concepts go, Pandora's Tower certainly has the benefit of being interesting, and there's real tension in completing each mission before time is up.

It's also quite pretty for a Wii game. Pandora's Tower pushes the old hardware to its limits, matching large bosses with a wide variety of environments. Being in standard definition is definitely a drag, but it makes up for it with some excellent anime-inspired art.

The combat is one more example of a developer trying to put the Wii's motion controls to good use; and for the most part, it does a pretty good job. In his review of Pandora's Tower, Eurogamer's Matt Edwards wrote, "While tight and responsive, the melee combat is nowhere near as sophisticated as the current cream of the combo crop. Thankfully, Pandora's Tower is anything but a one-trick pony. By furnishing Aeron with the magical Oraclos Chain rather than a traditional shield, you can aim the onscreen crosshairs to bind an enemy's legs before twirling them around like a wrecking ball, as well as tethering two beasts together to restrict their movement while damaging them simultaneously. You can even pay your respects to Hylian technology by using the Chain Shot to harpoon airborne opponents out of the sky."

Of course, if you're not a big fan of the Wii Remote, you can always use the Classic Controller. But in this case, the Wii Remote plus Nunchuk configuration is probably the best way to go.

Pandora's Tower launched in early 2012 and was soon forgotten, victim of a by-then badly outdated console and comparatively little hype. Its good but not amazing reviews weren't enough to spur any real word of mouth, and so it seemed consigned to be the other Operation Rainfall game - the game that would linger in the shadow of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story. But with its unexpected release on the Wii, that is no longer quite the case.

To be sure, it's a strange pick for the eShop in light of the absence of arguably superior games like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the original Super Mario Galaxy, or Xenoblade Chronicles. But neither it is an entirely unworthy one. If you're tired of the usual gaming fare and you're looking for something a little different, give Pandora's Tower a shot. It will potentially be $20 well spent.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

Related articles

Mat's Farewell | The Truth Has Not Vanished Into Darkness

This isn't the real ending, is it? Can't be.

USG Game of the Year 2020: Hades Isn't Just About Escaping Home, But Rebuilding It

This Greek myth feels like the culmination of everything Supergiant Games has created thus far.

The Top Stories That Shaped Video Games in 2020

There's a lot—good, bad, and everything in between—to look back on this year. I don't know about you, but I'm mostly feeling tired.

Control: Ultimate Edition Confirms PS5 and Xbox Series S/X Dates and Ray Tracing Toggle

If you were hoping for the highest of high-end performance… dream on, Faden.

Need help?

Apex Legends Vaults - Where to Find the Vaults and How to Open Them

Need to know how to find a Vault Key in Apex Legends to open one of the three vaults? We've got you covered.

Gears 5 Collectibles - How to Find All Collectible Locations

Here's our guide to the Gears 5 collectible locations, including Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, and Act 4 collectibles.

Devil May Cry 5 Devil Breakers - Devil Breaker Arm Abilities in Devil May Cry 5

Here's our complete breakdown of every Devil Breaker arm ability for Nero in Devil May Cry 5.

Sekiro Tips - How to Beat Every Boss and Survive in Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

This is our complete beginner's guide to surviving Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, including a list of essential tips and tricks.