Last week, Alex and I took part in a roundtable discussion with Operation Rainfall about how Pandora’s Tower may be released here in North America. This week, discussion on that game veers into a slightly different area.
Why does Pandora’s Tower matter? It’s a good question, and one we decided to tackle.
If you’ve any experience with the Wii’s library, you have probably seen that it has an extensive collection of niche games. From Little King’s Story to The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces, the white-brick-that-could has a surprisingly extensive library of cult classics (Fragile Dreams is a particular TNE favorite). Pandora’s Tower would fit nicely alongside those games, but it has a more notable neighbor in Nicheville – Suda51′s ode to otaku, No More Heroes.
NMH is, first and foremost, a particularly bloody and violent exercise in gaming. It has a distinctive style, but you won’t confuse it for having the most glamorous or beautiful graphical presentation this gen. It has cleverly-implemented motion controls, but they are used judiciously and do not feel tacked-on. A few friends of ours have already gotten their hands on Pandora, and all of these traits seem to be a part of Ganbarion’s latest, too (although the gore quotient is somewhat subdued in combat, the game makes up for it in other respects).
There are, of course, some big differences between these two titles. NMH is a satire, a self-aware “gamer’s game” that pokes fun at the very videogame excesses it revels in. There’s also a dash of social commentary thrown in for good measure (look at who Travis Touchdown duels: a bad father, an alcoholic, a raging narcissist, a misandrist, etc.). Few games are both so blunt and so subtle at the same time.
On the other hand, Ganbarion’s plot is of a much more tender variety. Whereas Travis was out for bloody thrills and nookie, the protagonist of Pandora is on a quest to save someone he loves (in this respect, the plot somewhat resembles Team ICO’s Shadow of the Colossus, another cult classic). It’s simply a more earnest game. However, in being so, it almost stands out for its earnestness as much as NMH stood out for its cynicism.
Perhaps the most tantalizing prospect for Pandora, though, is if it can legitimize its developer in the way that NMH finally broke Suda51 to the masses in a way that his previous games (like Killer 7) never could.
Drop by Operation Rainfall’s website for the full roundtable. Tell ‘em TNE sent you.