Tower 57 – Review
Follow Genre: Top-down Twin stick shooter
Developer: 11bit Studio
Publisher: Pixwerk
Platform: PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4, Amiga
Tested on: PC

Tower 57 – Review

Site Score
Good: Retro feel, Story, Humor
Bad: Lack of description, Infrequent checkpoints
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Tower 57 is the product of 11bit Studio, a small developer studio based in Poland. It has developed several indie games before like the award winning Anomaly: Warzone Earth and This war of Mine. This one, in cooperation with publisher Pixwerk, was made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign. They were able to collect around $50,000, which was enough to create the game and also release it on the… AMIGA! The AMIGA is now a niche, but it was the first (back in the eighties) powerful multimedia PC available for a reasonable price. It is representative for the look and the feel of Tower 57, blending nostalgic graphics and sounds with modern technology.

tower 57 logo


In a dystopian fictional future, most of humanity has become extinct. The last remains of human civilization are gathered in giant towers called Megatowers. These towers, which contains all social layers, are governed by supervisors.

Tower 57 is a beacon of scientific progress and political stability, and home to a large production company. One day, the supervisor decides to close down the production hall and the workforce decides to strike, resulting in a standoff between the workers union and the tower’s leadership. Your organization, a supposed ally of Tower 57, can take no open action because the tower’s leaders didn’t ask for any help. So your organization decides to send a team of specialists covertly into the tower and take out the unruly supervisor.

You can pick three characters out of six possibilities, each having their own trademark weapon, tool and backstory. Arriving by train, you start your mission at the lobby of the large tower. After you find a way to get in, you end up at the Amor’s den, an enemy-free hub with shops and mini games designed as a resting place of sorts. From here most missions are introduced and started, as you slowly gain access to the higher levels of the tower. Primarily by doing missions to fetch required keys or finding, interrogating and killing important characters. As you progress the game you’ll learn about the who and the why of the people behind the scenes, and finally reach a Matrix-like conclusion.



Aiming on recreating the look and feel of original AMIGA games, the graphics are based on pixel art and thus by definition they look outdated compared to modern top-down RPG’s. This doesn’t mean however that the graphics are simple and unvaried. All levels are custom made and stuffed with details and even the player’s character walking animation is different based on its direction of movement and its direction of view. Almost every object is either destroyable or damageable, and has different stages of decay. Enemies are varied and they bleed when shot. Smoke, water, electricity and fire are detailed, and objects set on fire behave differently according to the material it’s supposed to consist of.

The maps are colorful, as are the enemies. This makes it a tad difficult sometimes to distinguish the enemies in their background, but that also adds to the challenge of the game. Scenes can contain a lot of distinct NPCs and objects moving. For example your recurring resting place has a main street which is crowded with pedestrians and traffic constantly crossing each-other, the flow regulated by working traffic lights.


Dialogues with NPCs and computers are text-based, in which you click on the desired response or question you want to pose. However, the loading of small text, like the inscription on a painting, feels slower than it should. But one big advantage of this style of graphics is that the system requirements of this game are low. This games runs reasonably on a Netbook with an Intel Celeron processor and 2GB of ram.


The game uses a modern interpretation of 16bit sounds and music. This fits quite right with the game, enforcing the nostalgic feel. As with the graphics, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t varied and complex. Every monster has its own pallet of sounds and characters converse with different voices, speaking a sort of gibberish. Background music consists of cheerful tones, and also the menu music sounds optimistic, inviting you to play (more).

The weapon sounds are also varied and distinct per weapon. The default weapon everyone has gives a soft plop, consistent of the low damage it does. Likewise, better weapons give a more powerful sound effect.



Tower 57 is a top-down twin stick shooter with some RPG elements added. There are some simple puzzle elements, but mostly you’ll need to depend on your skills to shoot and evade monsters and traps. There are all sorts of enemies, and even the weak ones in the beginning can kill you in moments when being inattentive. Monsters might spawn randomly, in formation, ambush you or wait for you at fixed locations. On the end of a mission there is usually a boss waiting, varying in abilities and strengths.

You start the game with your team of three chosen character, playing one at a time – if one dies, you’ll play with the next one. This means you essentially have three lives. If the last character dies, you’ll restart from the last checkpoint with the team as it was at that time. Sadly, these checkpoints aren’t exactly abundant. Often you have one at the start of a section and one before a boss fight. Since dying is really easy in this game, this can really get frustrating because you’ll need to redo large amounts of your quest. A dead character can only be revived by the fortune teller, and you’ll need a rare special item. Should one character die, it is mostly easier to let the rest of the team die as well so you can restart the section with a complete team.


On the other hand, you can lose a limb, losing the specific purpose (your weapon, your tool or your ability to move any faster than crawling) that limb has. This effect can be reversed by ‘fixing’ your missing limb(s) at the Arms dealer with a mechanical counterpart. At the same place you can upgrade any limb to improve the action it is intended for. If your health is not full, you may heal yourself with health packets found across the levels or in the shops.

You start with a set of weapons, some specific for your character and a default one with infinite bullets – but very weak in power. You also get a specific tool. Everything except the default gun uses ammo when used, which you can replenish with ammo kits also to be found across the levels and in shops. You can also purchase and upgrade more weapons and tools, or retrieve them from fallen enemies, often looking like a body part of them. Weapons can have cool effects like creating mini-black holes and harpooning enemies to the wall. In the later missions, you’ll get the chance to ride in a tank and crush through the waves of enemies thrown at you.

To buy these upgrades, weapons and replenishment kits you’ll need money, which you can collect from monsters and objects. You can also earn money with mini-games in the saloon, which all resort in clicking at the right time. Nevertheless they are quite fun. Another, less orthodox, way is to sell a limb at the local butcher…


The game has a large focus on co-op play. Indeed, many missions and weapons are designed to provide some advantage for two players. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy them solo of course.


11bit Studio really succeeded in capturing the retro feel in this game. This is by far not the only thing to appreciate in this game however. There is much humor in the dialogues and monologues, the amount of weapons is impressive as are their different effects and the levels are pleasantly different from each-other and filled with destructible objects. On the other hand, Tower 57 suffers from a steep learning curve. The shortage of checkpoints and a lack of item and tool descriptions makes it required to search online for clues on how to play the game better. But this doesn’t stop the game from being fun to play! It’s tough and varied enough to hook you up for hours and re-playable due to the different characters and extensive maps you’ll find. When you get enough of the campaign, you and a mate or a random player can enjoy the co-op mode for several more hours.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Tower 57 - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

Always having more things to do than time to do them, I like spending several of those precious free hours playing games and rating them.

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