By Operation Rainfall Contributor / May 17th, 2013
Pandora’s Tower, the third game we fought for in our campaign so long ago, released in the Americas on the 16th of April – just over a year after its PAL release. To celebrate, I decided to write 30 tidbits related to the game to help get all of you in the Americas as excited for the game as you should have been, using my own personal PAL Pandora’s Tower experience.
Just like the tidbits for Xenoblade and The Last Story, we kept them all compiled so we could release them in this article. So, here they all are enjoy!
Pandora’s Tower was developed by Ganbarion, the company who brought us One Piece: Unlimited Cruise, Jump Super Stars and a variety of other quality anime-and-manga-based games. Pandora’s Tower is the first totally original game to come out of Ganbarion, and it is one of the more mature titles for the Wii.
Pandora’s Tower takes place in the land of Imperia, which is made up of nine states. Once there were ten, but five centuries before the events of the game the land of Vestra was stripped from its people and absorbed into the kingdom of Elyria.
Pandora’s Tower is set in 511th year of the Unified Era. It has been two years since the end of the sixty-yearwar between Elyria and the three-countries opposing it: Athos, Certes and Thena. An uneasy peace lies between the two factions; skirmishes frequently break out along the borders of Elyria, and only the wandering Vestra merchants are permitted to travel between the neighbouring kingdoms.
To the far east of the continent lie the wastelands of Okanos. Within Okanos is The Scar, and sitting inside The Scar is a single tower surrounded by twelve smaller ones. Together, these comprise the thirteen towers that Aeron must climb in order to rid Elena of the Beast’s Curse.
Aeron is the main character and the hero of Pandora’s Tower. He is on a mission to save his girlfriend, Elena, who has been struck down by a wretched curse. In order to achieve this, he must scale twelve towers to defeat the Masters at their peaks, before ripping out their hearts to feed to Elena.
Aeron was born in the country of Athos, which is known for its powerful army. He is a man of few words, skilled in the ways of combat and able to use many different kinds of weapons. He needs to draw upon all of his skill and courage if he is to rescue Elena.
Elena is Aeron’s girlfriend and the heroine of Pandora’s Tower. The beginning of the game sees her afflicted by a horrible curse which slowly causes her to mutate into a monster. To have her curse lifted, she must consume the hearts of twelve different beasts that lie atop twelve different towers. Oh, and did we mention that she’s a vegetarian?
Elena hails from the kingdom of Elyria and lives according to The Way of Aios. This religion forbids the consumption of meat, which is why she’s a vegetarian. Elena is a kind young girl who lived with her parents and Aeron until she was struck by the Beast’s Curse. During the course of the game, she offers Aeron encouragement and tries to make their new home as comfortable as possible using the things that he gives her.
5. The Beast’s Curse
Pandora’s Tower opens with images of Elena being attacked and then marked on her back, between her shoulder blades. This mark is a sign that she has been afflicted with the Beast’s Curse. To cure herself of it, she must consume twelve pieces of Master Flesh, taken from the Masters at the tops of the twelve towers sitting in the Scar. Otherwise, she will slowly turn into a beast.
The Beast’s Curse imposes a time constraint on the player. A timer is constantly running out at the bottom-left corner of the screen as you play, signalling how long you have before Elena turns into a fully-fledged beast. This timer can be reset by giving her either Master flesh or, if you wish to explore for a little longer, the flesh of lesser beasts.
Mavda is a mysterious old hag who carries her husband around on her back like a giant backpack. She acts as Aeron and Elena’s guide; it is she who leads them to the thirteen towers and then takes them to the abandoned Observatory nearby. Mavda offers advice and, being a merchant, is able to sell useful items to Aeron. These items can be put to use upgrading weapons, creating items, buffing Aeron or having Aeron give them to Elena.
Mavda is of the Vestra tribe; they lived settled lives in their own country before their land was stripped from them five centuries ago. Now they are a nomadic people, roaming the land of Imperia as merchants.
7. Character Development
There are few, if any, interactions with NPCs in Pandora’s Tower. This is due to the developers wanting to keep the main focus on their three main characters: Aeron, Elena and Mavda. Ganbarion took special care to make sure their characters were well written, continually changing fine details, facial expressions, and doing multiple voice recordings to make sure they would have just the right effect for any given moment.
The constant timer in the bottom-left corner of the screen serves to keep Elena in the player’s mind at all times, and creates a sense of urgency. The developers did not want to make this a drawback of the game, so they took steps to ensure Elena was a sympathetic character rather than a burden. Having Elena eat something she so clearly despised also helped in achieving this. As Ganbarion’s director, Toru Haga, pointed out: “Eating is an ordinary action for absolutely everybody, so I thought it would have been an element with which players could identify.”
Pandora’s Tower has five different endings, which will change according to Aeron’s affinity level with Elena at the end of the game. You can increase their affinity throughout the game by continually going back to visit Elena, bearing gifts.
The endings all have at least one major change made to them. Obviously I’m not going to tell you how they vary, but it’s certainly an incentive to finish the game multiple times for all the different endings.
Gifts can be found within the towers, and can be also bought from Mavda. They come in a wide range of shapes and forms, and one of my personal favourite features in Pandora’s Tower is that gifts are not just given and then forgotten.
Give Elena a bracelet, and she’ll wear it. Give her some berries, she’ll bake a cake, which happens to be an incredibly useful healing item. She can grow flowers in the front yard if you give her some seeds. Elena can even increase the size of your bag if you give her a strip of leather, and will decorate the house if you give her some drapes or a tablecloth. These are only a few of the things she can do; keep giving her items, and she’ll help you out where she can!
10. Items in the Towers
Although some items can be bought from Mavda, leots, the currency of Imperia, are hard to come by. The vast majority of your inventory will be found within The Thirteen Towers themselves. This includes two new weapons which we will discuss in another couple of weeks.
The types of items found in each tower differ between each, and even changes according to the time of day. So what you find at the crack of dawn will not be exactly the same as the loot acquired in the evening, throughout the night or even in the afternoon.
While most items have a place in multiple towers, there are twelve items which can only be found in a single tower, in a certain room and at a certain time of day. These items are very rare, and generally make great gifts for Elena or are used in the later stages of upgrading weapons.
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