Tower of Fantasy is a messy Genshin Impact with few ideas of its own

The most charitable way I could describe Tower of Fantasy’s relationship to Genshin Impact would be “inspired.” It’s so deeply inspired by Hoyoverse’s anime character action game that it would be easy to shrug it off as one of the many mobile clones you see show up in ads trying to convince you they’re where the real players are at. Its uncanny resemblance to Genshin is the hardest thing to get over in its opening hours, kind of like trying to get over how much Genshin felt like Breath of the Wild when it came out. But if you can grimace through it and restrain your cynicism, the MMO-like systems it introduces could be what sets it apart.

Tower of Fantasy copy-pastes a lot of Genshin’s most impressive aspects as well as its most egregious. Let’s take stock:

  • It’s an open world game where the planet is under attack by monsters and they reside in camps strewn throughout the world.
  • Anime characters—who are, in this case, mostly Evangelion rejects—have to save said planet.
  • The aesthetic is both bright and fantastical, but also sci-fi and grim like the ’90s anime, and Hoyoverse’s other action game, Honkai Impact 3rd.
  • It’s a gacha game where you grind resources and dailies like it’s your job or pay real money to get a chance at earning one of its characters.
  • Even when you get one of those characters, who are linked to their unique weapons, you need to level them up equal to your current progression in the game.

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