“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” This Oscar Wilde quote perfectly conveys my feelings about Hotta Studios' newest addictive MMO, Tower of Fantasy. However, despite the game's near-instant virality, some critics claim it's but another Genshin Impact lookalike.
In this article, I’ll highlight Tower of Fantasy's similarities and the unique aspects that make it worthwhile to play. I'll do my best not to dissuade anyone from relishing the newly-debuted MMO but rather guide gamers’ expectations regarding everything the game entails.
Why Tower of Fantasy's Critiques Aren’t Unwarranted
The most common sentiment regarding Tower of Fantasy is that it is a “Genshin Impact clone.” While this claim isn't entirely untrue, there's more to this MMO than meets the eye. Following Genshin Impact’s release, early reviews slammed it as a distant inspiration (or blatant copy) of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
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Now, it seems critics have similar things to say about Tower of Fantasy, claiming that it takes more than just inspiration from Genshin Impact. But is it a blatant clone, or is it instead heavily influenced by Genshin's success? It took a brush off the shoulder for Genshin Impact to move past harsh critiques, and assumably, the same will happen with Tower of Fantasy.
Similarities Between Tower of Fantasy and Genshin Impact
Perhaps one of the more striking similarities between Genshin Impact and Tower of Fantasy is the storyline. Admittedly, some dialogues and missions were dissimilar, but its narrative felt a little too on the nose in Teyvat.
Unlike Genshin Impact, Tower of Fantasy is set in a dystopian, futuristic world where I played as a "Wanderer"; this is oddly synonymous with Genshin Impact’s "Traveler." Nevertheless, this Wanderer has a sibling, but they lose contact during pre-game cinematic travels.
In comparison, both the Traveler and Wanderer face some form of amnesia. As the plot unfolds, the Wanderer falls unconscious after being chased by dogs (some with several heads) plagued by the virus Omnium, which transforms animals and humans into beasts.
From there, the Wanderer awakens, dazed, and in a settlement trying to grasp their bearings. I won’t spoil too much, but generally, the journey starts similar to Genshin Impact’s Traveler: to find their lost sibling.
Interestingly, Tower of Fantasy's customization mechanic features an impactful difference between both games that alter the flow of the story. Specifically, I could model my Wanderer to my liking. Compared to Genshin Impact’s usually black-and-white protagonist, this customization immersed me more into its narrative because it involved something I created.
Tower of Fantasy Gameplay - More Verticality, Same Combat
Tower of Fantasy's gameplay mechanics are similar to Genshin Impact (this might be an understatement). Both games have the standard hack-and-slash combat and abilities, and the fighting’s also fairly rapid and dynamic.
One comparison Genshin Impact Travelers would instantly notice is Tower of Fantasy features lootable chests, monsters, and interactive environmental areas. Reaching these places or beasts requires traversing hills, rivers, mountains, and like Genshin Impact, climbing vertically.
Fortunately, adventuring is made easier with jetpacks and flashy motorbikes, which allowed me to zoom and fly across the world of Aesperia. Notably, combat generally feels much more invigorating, especially considering I was able to utilize two (with a third unlockable later) weapons with their unique combos, abilities, and dash animations.
Like Genshin Impact, Tower of Fantasy's fighting system is presented differently but follows the same formula of hitting and charging up special moves to blast away enemies. I dare say I enjoyed this system immensely.
Tower of Fantasy Gacha - F2P but not P2W
A notable feature in Tower of Fantasy is the game's generosity. Of course, it’s not absurdly giving away tons of resources. Still, if I played long enough, I don’t think I’d have any trouble saving up for my favorite banner—similar to how Travelers stack their Primogems for two months and lose pity to Qiqi.
If Genshin Impact’s microtransactions take the form of exclusive characters, Tower of Fantasy molds its gacha rolling system through Simulacra and Matrices.
The pity system also allows Wanderers to hit the rarest item on the banner at eighty pulls, with the first thirty pulls on an account guaranteeing an item. Like Genshin Impact, the amount of pulls doesn’t reset, meaning Wanderers can continue reserving their pity for an approaching banner.
Is Tower Of Fantasy A Genshin Impact Copy?
I wouldn’t say it’s an exact copy, but I can see why many critics would think so. On the other hand, saying Genshin Impact inspires it would be equally scandalous, especially considering the game’s many carbon-copied gameplay mechanics. But this doesn't make it a terrible game.
Instead, it seems Tower of Fantasy is built with a legacy blueprint with the potential to expand its originality as it progresses. Moreover, it’s beautiful and quite refreshing. Similar to how critics branded Genshin Impact as a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Tower of Fantasy seems to be facing the same dilemma.
Of course, I can't deny both games didn’t feature some similarities to previous other titles. Still, most agree that Tower of Fantasy will evolve to become even more unique, as every game does. The only question is, what would its evolution look like in the future? I hope it's nothing short of marvelous.
For more on the game, check our section dedicated to Tower of Fantasy news, guides, and features.
All featured images are courtesy of Hotta Studio.