As far as Genshin Impact clones go, Tower of Fantasy is one of the most blatant. Compared to games like Noah’s Heart, ToF doesn’t just wear its Genshin inspirations on its sleeve, but proudly displays them as a full-body tattoo.
Unfortunately for developer Hotta Studio, Genshin Impact’s crown is worn high, and this respectable attempt falls short of reaching it. But why is that?
Is Tower of Fantasy better than Genshin Impact?
It’s obvious that Tower of Fantasy is attempting to be the next Genshin Impact. From the offset, there’s more than enough “inspiration” to see the gears of Genshin running beneath Tower of Fantasy’s clockwork.
For example, starting the game shows your catcher fighting a huge enemy alongside your sibling. The two of you get separated and you’ll pick the gender you wish to play as. That happened in Genshin!
Afterwards, you’ll find yourself suffering from amnesia — classic — and performing fetch quests for villagers. It sticks to the classic MMO structure: go here, talk to this person, interact with a thing, talk to this person again, done. Sometimes, there’s a fight as well.
Of course, copying the structure of the MMO genre isn’t a detriment. However, it’s the fact that all of its structure is executed in the exact same way Genshin does it. Combat is almost identical, albeit floatier, almost like a poor NieR: Automata mobile port. Even climbing and gliding returns, albeit gliding is a clunky, infuriating-to-use Jetpack system.
Where does it differ?
Tower of Fantasy’s most unique elements are in how it executes its gacha system. Unsurprisingly, it’s similar to Genshin: base weapons and characters are pulled in the same gacha banners, so you could get ten spears or something unique.
However, in ToF, unlocked characters are unique weapons. For example, unlocking the character Hilda will give you her model and voice to play as alongside her huge gun, The Terminator.
In some ways, this is worse than Genshin. In this system, you don’t necessarily need to play as unique characters. However, it does mean that unlocking a character you don’t like still gives you a useful weapon.
These characters are known as Simulacra. They’re AI recreations of famous warriors, and using them overwrites your character. The only problem is that it sort of messes with ToF’s other big feature: character customisation.
Tower of Fantasy has a rather deep character creator, and you can make some awesome looking characters. However, your character is a fully-voiced character that Hotta has written, not a unique person that you control.
In the end, you’re simply wearing the skin of a character you want to play as. There’s no Fallout-style choices or consequences, only the look of something different.
That’s the whole game
To be frank, that’s how we’d describe Tower of Fantasy as a whole. It looks different to Genshin at a glance. The characters are different, the world is vaguely sci-fi, and the mechanics are altered just so much it could be perceived as a different game.
However, it’s not really that different, and in many cases it’s slightly worse. No character has been as adorable as Xiangling, its Paimon replacement is annoying, and everything feels rough around the edges. Yes, it’s also very buggy.
If you tried Genshin Impact and didn’t like it, you won’t like Tower of Fantasy. If you’re a hardcore Genshin player, you’ll likely want to stay there. It’s not that Tower of Fantasy isn’t fun or endearing, it’s just that there’s simply a better option.
If you still want to try the game out for yourself, you can download it for free here. After all, if it’s free you might as well!