As a thief for hire, it can be a tricky life; sneaking around and finding ways to infiltrate any security measures in order to acquire whatever the contractor desires. No job seems as straightforward as the most recent one though, with a mysterious client wanting you to steal an old book from a decrepit tower. Simple enough, right? Wrong. It’s a book of recipes and it belongs to a powerful sorcerer who isn’t going to give it up so easily. This is The Tower of Beatrice.
That’s the premise of The Tower of Beatrice, the latest low-priced title to arrive on Xbox One courtesy of publishers Sometimes You, which looks to deliver a point-and-click experience that’ll really tax the brain. Despite possessing a small price tag, it cannot be overlooked that it’s a game that falls a tad short when compared to the many other offerings within the genre. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.
The Tower of Beatrice sees the aforementioned thief trapped inside the tower, with only cunning wit and a book full of recipes to aid in escaping the dreaded place. There are six floors to work your way through and each one aims to offer a different atmospheric themed room to get your head around. Whilst on this journey to freedom, you’ll encounter a lot of strange beings and creatures, including a lovely old spider, a chilled-out devil and a massive ball-shaped thing that’s snoozing and blocking your path. There’s also some fun banter to be had with Beatrice, however the conversations are lacking depth and done via text only. It’s disappointing though that the dialogue occasionally doesn’t make sense, with mistakes in grammar seemingly slipping through the net in development.
Nevertheless, as is the norm for point-and-clickers, gathering items from these floors for the inventory will be the key aspect in finding solutions towards making progression. Life is made slightly easier by being able to cycle through all clickable spots, instead of searching every nook and cranny. As such, the acquisition of items is very simple, but what you do with them is the hard bit.
When it comes to using the stuff within the inventory, logic is the first port of call, like using a knife to slice open a bag. But the solutions won’t always make a lot of sense, so trial and error is then the best method – trying to interact with anything and everything. What’s quite cool though is that the book of recipes you’re stealing actually has useful potion ideas in it which will help to overcome various obstacles. For example, if you’ve got a fair few feathers at hand, some coal and have access to hot air, stick them all in the on-screen cauldron and it’ll give you a levitation potion.
In regards the puzzles, these do a decent job of testing the old grey matter as you attempt to correctly organise cogs, create colours by mixing paint, recognise and recreate patterns or shapes in order to problem solve, and more. A lot of the solutions to the puzzles are simply a matter of using information found around the room, which is perfectly fine as it’s still making you think, but there’s nothing groundbreaking concept-wise. The only issue I’ve had is the game sometimes failing to distinguish the correct answers to the problem at the first time of asking; it’s a real pain, especially when you aren’t sure you’ve even got it right, for it to then work when input again.
Let’s just say The Tower of Beatrice is a little rough around the edges on the technical front and the same can be said for the visuals. The designs of the rooms cannot be knocked as there’s real character in each floor to ensure they don’t feel samey, with one having an artistic vibe while another screams ‘torture room’, however the visual clarity is lacking and wouldn’t look out of place on the previous console generation. In the sound department, the background music is fairly repetitive without coming across as annoying, which is a blessing because you will hear the endless loops for quite a while.
Overall, The Tower of Beatrice manages to present itself as a cheap and mildly enjoyable point-and-click offering that’ll last a couple of hours. Sure, the puzzles aren’t overly adventurous and the inventory-based conundrums are lacking ingenuity, but there’s still enough here for a slightly challenging experience. Its strongest asset is having different themed rooms and a host of oddball characters to add a few memorable moments. On the flipside, it’s let down the most by the failure to recognise the correct solutions from time to time and it’s visually unimpressive for the current standards.
Because of the very small price tag though, The Tower of Beatrice is worth considering if you’ve got a penchant for the puzzling point-and-click genre.