Video games are really interesting. Especially when you get other people involved. Anyone who’s played community based games like Garry’s Mod, will know you can find a variety of people online. A few years ago Gmod used to house Gmod Tower. A hub world where people could gamble, play mini games, and customise their own condo. It was big enough to be it’s own game within the Gmod world. Now Gmod Tower is dead, but it lives on in its own steam game, Tower Unite.
When you load up the game you are invited to create an avatar. You can select between Male, Female, Milk Carton or Skeleton. From this you can tell this is going to be that kind of experience. As soon as you walk outside you are introduced to a hub world that looks like a theme park, with a tower overlooking it all. Going into the tower will allow you to rent out your own personal house. You can open the house up to everyone in the server, your friends or just you. But in order to fill up your house with belongings, you have to earn some cash.
Heading into the hub world you can find a range of shops and games to interact with. I walked into a bowling alley to see a group of people all surrounding one of the lanes with their names filling up the score board. I played next to them and talked over the local chat about TV and games. I was racking up coins as I stayed there, Earning around 20,000 coins by the time I went on to explore elsewhere. That’s when I realised this wasn’t a game where you log in and do daily tasks for no reason, It’s a social experience.
You find yourself trying to buy furniture so you can make it look cool for strangers who might visit. The game has a lot of external support, being able to play YouTube videos on in game screens. If you go to the cinema complex you can find a group of people watching a playlist of rap music most of the time. The other 10% of the time you might have an actually funny video to laugh at with a bunch of strangers.
Nearly everything you do in Tower Unite will give you coins and allow you to keep climbing the social ladder. The most crowded area however is always the Casino, you’ll see people on the chat talking about a range of topics while they gamble away. It really does feel like an environment suited for most types of video game players. My favourite way to make money is through the fully developed side games like mini golf. Mini golf has a range of courses and is almost like a separate entity to the main tower hub.
There’s a range of other games to play besides golf, including a super monkey ball type game. But aside from all the distractions, what are the people like in this game? On a late night I asked a server what made them attracted to this sort of social hub environment to typical video games:
My take away from Tower Unite is that it’s an experience that suits a range of people, but may not be attractive to most gamers. Some people might be deterred away with the chance of meeting a loud 13 year old on the mic. But from my experience people seem to be quiet outside of the text chat, making conversation an optional component. If you’re like me you’ll log on for some golf every so often so you can eventually buy one of the larger houses.
If you are the type of person to stay on voice chat for hours with friends while not doing much. Then maybe Tower Unite could be what you are looking for. Something to casually play in the background or a social hub for you to watch YouTube videos together in the comfort of a digital house. The game is currently on Steam Early Access and runs pretty well for the EA title. Do be sure to look out for it if you want a brand new video game experience.