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Tower of Fantasy misses the mark in a place Genshin Impact succeeds

It’s exhausting playing Tower of Fantasy.
tower of fantasy characters riding bikes
Credit: Hotta Studio

Tower of Fantasy is the latest massive gacha game on the market, and people have been clamoring for its release. Now, the game is out and we’ve been sinking our teeth into the mobile MMO. But, something is missing. Well, actually, the opposite is the problem.

The problem with Tower of Fantasy is information overload. The game suffers from the same problem too many mobile games suffer from – a ridiculous number of menus, submenus, and in-game currencies.

I’ve enjoyed the combat loop and movement mechanics in Tower of Fantasy. I think Hotta Studio got a lot right there.

In fact, my early impressions of the game were promising, but after spending more time in the game, I find myself struggling to continue due to these glaring problems.

tower of fantasy gameplay showing menu notifications everywhere
Credit: MobileBytesGG

It’s exhausting playing Tower of Fantasy due to its menu system. Plain and simple.

From the seemingly endless amount of items and currencies used to update your character just a tiny bit to notifications from the cash shop that don’t seem to stop, it all becomes too much while playing.

On top of that, ToF struggles with presenting menus in logical ways. It often feels like you just have to click around blindly until you land on the thing you are looking for.

Clunky menu design, for me personally, is one of the biggest turnoffs in a mobile game, and Tower of Fantasy has become one of the worst offenders in recent memory.

Tower of Fantasy’s menus are terrible, and that’s by design

tower of fantasy menu showing red dots everywhere
Credit: MobileBytesGG

Mobile games need their players to be embedded in the game as much as possible. Developers need to be able to say their players spend X amount of time in-app.

One way to do this is by conflating and obfuscating in-game systems to the point where players spend less time playing and more time planning currency spend and searching for specific things.

Additionally, those red dots notifications not only alert you of new things in your game, but they also become the scab you have to pick.

For many, it can be nearly impossible to focus on the game when you have a notification taunting you constantly. Again, that pulls you from the game just so you can clear a notification out.

What does all of this have to do with Genshin Impact?

jean from genshin impact sitting on a rock enjoying the scenery of teyvat
Credit: MobileBytesGG

I understand many of the mobile games out there are going to be inundated with this stuff. That’s fine. But when you position yourself as a Genshin Impact competitor, you must offer a similar experience across the board.

Genshin built its success partially by breaking the norms of many gacha games on the market.

It featured a huge, open-world game and graphics that competed with the latest AAA, $60 releases. Of course, it manages to be a free-to-play game thanks to its gacha mechanics, which can be a bit rough, admittedly.

But, regardless of how you feel about the pull system in the game, it’s hard to argue that the rest of the game doesn’t feel like a polished “traditional” title and not a mobile/gacha game.

Playing Genshin, for the most part, is a relaxing experience, and HoYoverse doesn’t push a ton of menus and sub-currencies on players.

While there are a couple of things you’ll have to become familiar with, it’s pretty straightforward for the most part and what I miss most when playing ToF.

Does Tower of Fantasy have time to fix itself? Possibly, but it will take a lot of work (and time), and the mobile market is quick to drop a game.

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