The Tower of Beatrice
Switch version tested
Review code provided
I put a spell on you
Apart from having to pay a fairly hefty fine of £12.60 when I failed to return a library book once (I seem to remember it being a Goosebumps book and not a very good one at that). I’ve never been in any serious trouble where volumes of fiction are involved. Then The Tower of Beatrice, a point and click room escape game from Sometimes You and Fairy Forest came along!
The troublesome book in question is a sentient and sometimes incoherent spellbook which you are asked to steal by persons unknown at the start of the game. Given my apparent lack of climbing equipment, or fair maiden with lusciously long locks, it’s remarkably easy to infiltrate said Tower of Beatrice and get the book.
Picking up the book however, unleashes a security system of six rooms which you must escape your way out of, using items to craft recipes, or solve various puzzles to unlock doors and barriers.
From the outset, the game is very similar to the multitude of hidden object and escape room games littered across mobile games stores. You’ll need keen eyesight and low-level OCD to hunt out the ingredients to make potions which will make rocks float, fix buckets and create portals to the mirror dimension. Unfortunately Dr Strange and Wong are nowhere to be found and your only companion throughout this trial is Beatrice herself. I admit I was never entirely certain if Beatrice was either talking to you through the book, or actually was the book, but she appears as a constant irritation, either mocking your progress or giving the occasional “hint”.
The irritation is more to do with the obtrusive nature of her dialogue than anything else. If you don’t click exactly on the right area or come up with the correct solution, you have to click through the dialogue before you can do anything else. This also leads me neatly onto the controls, and as a point and click adventure I generally found myself using the touchscreen on the Switch as trying to do anything with the controllers was insanely janky.
While there is a glowing cursor to move about with the control sticks, I found that it either flitted about the screen or didn’t budge at all so in the end I ended up having to use my digits! Even this method of control wasn’t fully reliable as I may have killed a few pixels furiously jabbing the screen trying to select an area which was previously accessible, or trying to back out of an area and see the full puzzle.
The puzzles themselves ranged from fairly simple to outrageously incomprehensible. So yes I did look up how to complete two of the puzzles as despite the garbled “hints” from the book of doom, the solutions to these made no sense to me whatsoever!
For the most part though The Tower of Beatrice was faintly entertaining. It was short enough that I wasn’t bored and I stuck with it to completion. Some of the humour fell a bit short and in some cases wasn’t really that funny, but I don’t want to steamroller through all the whimsy of the game. Having a spider granny knit me a blanket was quite cute and giving a snail a spicy speed potion raised a bit of a smile. Although I was faintly annoyed that the game wouldn’t let me create and administer the potion that gave the snail rampant diarrhoea!
Apparently the game is littered with various easter eggs and references to other games, movies and books, but if I’m honest I missed all of them except one which was so glaringly awful I’m wondering whether to report it to the H.R. Giger estate!
One thing I didn’t expect from an escape room game of this type was a boss battle. Well, boss battle might be a bit of an overstatement, but your final challenge before you can escape the tower is to take down some sort of goblin type thing dressed up as a Sith Lord.
Because this is a puzzler not a fighter, and you are without weapons of any kind, you have to use the obstacles you have just beaten to beat the bad guy up. There’s no real threat in this section as you’re not timed and you don’t take any damage, so if you were feeling particularly passive-aggressive you could leave it as canon that you both eventually die, trapped in a tower with a petulant recipe book. But it’s not a difficult boss to beat so you might as well take Darth Gremlin down.
Your reward? Well, I guess it depends on how much you like books.
As far as escape room puzzles go it’s a half-decent attempt, but there’s nothing especially groundbreaking here that makes it stand out from other examples of the genre. With 6 levels it’s a relatively brief affair and the puzzles are varied enough to keep you on your toes. If anything this game falls into my category of “train journey games”, a minor distraction for long journeys, or a palette cleanser when a triple-A game has beaten me into the ground again.
Treat it like a mobile game and you shouldn’t be too disappointed.
TBG Score: 5.5/10
Platform: Steam, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 30/07/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Other, Puzzle
Developer: Fairy Forst
Publisher: Sometimes You
Download link: eShop