Operation Rainfall: Success
The gist of the story is as follows: Aeron's sweetheart, Elena, gets cursed, and she will soon turn into a monster unless Aeron can gather the flesh of the 12 masters of the Thirteen towers in order to break the curse. Besides Elena, there's Mavda, a mysterious old woman who serves as a shop, there are no other NPCs. As Aeron traverses the towers, he'll come across notes and letters that further explain the mystery behind the towers and how the 12 Masters came to be. While it's not the greatest of stories, it delves into some pretty dark subjects.
The moment you step into the towers, a gauge on the lower right part of the screen starts decreasing, this is Elena's curse. If you let it deplete, you automatically lose the game. Beating each tower and the boss on your first go is nigh impossible, so you'll have to return to Elena and give her flesh from normal enemies in order to increase this gauge. While it sounds as artificially extending the game's length, returning to the observatory is actually beneficial, as you have limited space on your inventory, plus you get to heal, so it's not as annoying as it sounds, plus, you can activate shortcuts to the exit on the towers themselves, so going back and returning to where you were is not much of a hassle.
Combat is very basic and simple. The A button is your attack button, you can also charge it for slower, rhythm based blows. Eventually your charge attacks will become your go-to attacks, as they are so much stronger than your normal attacks with the added bonus of interrupting most enemy attacks, and since the clock is ticking, there's no better way to off your enemies. There's three different weapons, and an extra joke weapon, a Sword, two Knives or the Spear, and they function the same, but with different combos, damage and speed, heck, they also affect your moving speed. Aeron also gets a block button, and moving while holding it down produces a dodge, and you'll better get used to, as enemies later on deal quite a hefty amount of damage.
While Aeron starts off pretty weak, as you defeat enemies you earn experience and level up, which gives you higher attack power, a longer life bar and occasionally more room to equip items. Regardless, the game has a very clear emphasis on puzzle solving rather than combat, at times it's even encouraged to avoid it altogether. Occasionally you'll also come across enemies with purple auras, these are more resistant and deal even larger amount of damage than common enemies, earlier in the game it's better to just stay clear away from them, although by the time you can tackle them, they will grant you a large amount of experience points.
While nothing too fancy, the game does look very pretty. The thirteen tower are visually appealing, and the 12 Masters are pretty unique. Character designs are pretty alright, Aeron looks like any other anime-hero, who likes to bare his midriff for some reason, and Elena is pretty basic as well, Mavda's design fares much better though. The music serves the game well if anything, and voice acting gets the job done. Aeron's voice isn't very convincing, but he hardly gets any lines so it's no biggie. The game lasts a solid 14-15 hours, with about 5 endings, and finishing the game unlocks a key to open up previously locked red doors, the rewards aren't really worth it(Besides the joke weapon), but it's something. There's also a New Game plus that let's you pick up from different moments in the game, so getting each ending becomes easy.
Bottom line: Pandora's Tower is a really good game, it's not the game that could've saved the Wii, but it's a great swan song for the system. But as good as it is, the end-game bugs can't be excused or forgiven, which is why I can't give it an 8.0, as much as I would've liked to, as I really enjoyed the game, up to that point.
6.5 out of 10.