Long time no see, archers. It’s been over 3 years since the last big TowerFall update— the Dark World Expansion! The saga of TowerFall has taken us many places over the years, and with its forthcoming release for Nintendo Switch we want to put a period at the end of that storied history in proper fashion.
Inspired by classics from the golden age of couch multiplayer, TowerFall centers around hilarious, intense versus matches — best played against friends, sitting cross-legged on the floor within punching distance of each other.
The core mechanics are simple and accessible, but hard to master, with a huge amount of gameplay variants, arrow types, power-ups, and levels. And when you need a break from the competition, team up in 1–4 player co-op modes, where you’ll fight off a wide variety of monsters, enemy archers, and bosses.
TowerFall for Nintendo Switch will launch with all the content from TowerFall Ascension and Dark World included. It’ll release on September 27th, and it’ll sell for $19.99 USD. You can pre-order TowerFall in the Switch eShop today. But we didn’t want to simply port the game and call it a day. We tried our best to make this release special for dedicated fans of TowerFall and new players alike.
First off, Madeline from our latest game Celeste is now a playable character! She’s been practicing her archery, which is good, because the world of TowerFall is a lot more violent and unforgiving than the world of Celeste. The cross-over might not make the most sense, but it’s just fun to hop around as Madeline while pinning your friends to walls with deadly precision.
Madeline’s dark reflection is also playable. The two characters are alternates, so if you select Madeline and hit R on the character select screen, you’ll flip over to her dark side. Characters in TowerFall don’t have any unique abilities, so pick whoever suits you best!
The biggest addition on Switch is the new 6-player Versus mode. A few years ago we experimented with an 8-player PC mod which debuted at the 4th annual TowerFall World Championship. Full 8-player support ended up being a bit of a bust (imo), but 6-player worked great! We took what we learned from that experiment and refined it further for inclusion here.
With more players you need more space to fight, so TowerFall now contains two complete sets of levels for Versus mode: the standard 4:3 resolution levels that OG fans know and love, and expanded widescreen levels that accommodate extra players. Every Versus mode stage is available in both sets, and all the variants and secret events work with both, so 6-player groups get the full experience! And 6-player is a blast. The chaos reaches new heights in free-for-all Headhunters mode, with six archers frantically fighting for survival and glory. Team Deathmatch mode gets very competitive with 6 players, and 3v3 team fights have become my new favorite way to play.
You can also choose to play with 2–4 players on those expanded widescreen levels, but we recommend sticking to the classic set when you first start out — the tighter space keeps the action moving for new players. Although, we have to say that we love playing Team Deathmatch mode on the expanded stages, even with 4 players. When the Team Revive variant is enabled (which allows you to make risky plays to resurrect your dead teammates) all that extra space results in some epic back-and-forth battles.
Next up: New variants. For the uninitiated, TowerFall players can open up the variants menu before a match to customize the rules of engagement to a ridiculous degree. Options range from the obvious, such as setting the amount or type of arrows that players spawn with, to game-changers like cursing players to return from the grave as ghosts bent on revenge. You can mix and match these effects to create your own custom game modes, and then save them as presets. On Switch we added a few more variants for you to play with, bringing the total amount of options up to 92:
- Reaper Chalice is the most significant addition. This variant adds a chalice (or two!) to every stage in the game. When an archer stands in front of the chalice, it fills with blood of their color. Fill it all the way, and you’ll summon a reaper bent on destroying your enemies. The reaper is invincible and pursues your rivals relentlessly, so he’s a valuable ally. At first, he’ll likely mow down archers left and right in your name. But as your opponents learn the nuances of outrunning him, you’ll find it more effective to use his presence as a strategic advantage while you deliver the killing blow yourself.
- Keep Your Arrows is a more subtle modifier, where the arrows you’re holding at the end of each round carry over to the next. If you fill your quiver before meeting an untimely end, you’ll start with that arrow advantage in the next round. It adds another layer of strategy to the game to mix it up.
- Pass Through Team was added to accommodate some of the more creative custom team match opportunities that open up with 6 players. It disables person-to-person collision between you and your teammates, so you don’t bump into each other. This is useful if you have some crazy 5v1 match ideas, or maybe you just prefer it that way in your regular team fights!
- No Hypers disables a secret technique called “Hyper Jumping” that has a tendency to sharply separate players by skill level. TowerFall is a party game at its heart, but if you’re the kind of player who loves getting competitive, there are hidden techniques that help make skilled tournament play really exciting. We’ve noticed that it can sometimes be awkward introducing new players to TowerFall when the rest of your group has already mastered these difficult moves. The Nintendo Switch release of TowerFall is a perfect opportunity for veteran archers to introduce the game to people who haven’t played before, and this variant can help smooth out that experience for everyone involved.
That’s all the exciting new stuff! Aside from getting it running on new hardware, we’ve also been hard at work on general polish, bug fixes, and even some balance changes. We took it apart, greased all the gears, and put it back together. But those things aren’t as exciting to talk about, so I’ll leave them for you to uncover organically.
If you’re new to TowerFall, we hope you’ll enjoy discovering its world together with your friends. If you’ve been here before, we hope these new features will help you rediscover what you love about the game, and squeeze some more magic out of it. This is our farewell to the world of TowerFall, and it has been a wonderful place to revisit.
Thanks for playing.
You might be left with a few questions, so we prepared some answers…
Why is the title simply TowerFall if it includes all the content from Ascension and Dark World?
We like those subtitles, but they were always born of necessity. Throughout this game’s messy development history, we often needed to communicate that new content was being added, and these subtitles were chosen to show that our baby had grown from its previous releases. The graceful simplicity of TowerFall alone was always our favorite, so we’re sticking with that for our definitive release on the Nintendo Switch.
What’s the dashboard icon look like?
← Like this!
Can I play with GameCube controllers using the Smash Bros USB adapter?
Yes! We made sure this is possible. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to automatically detect whether you’re using a GameCube controller or not. But if you hold X when you select your character, you’ll switch to GameCube controller-specific button mappings.
Is the Map Editor from the PC version included?
No, the map editor isn’t included in any console editions of TowerFall. The editor was designed for keyboard and mouse input, and doesn’t really make sense on consoles where sharing custom stages is pretty much impossible.
You mentioned “balance changes.” Go on...
A few levels here and there have been tweaked — if you’ve played a lot of TowerFall you’ll probably notice these changes when they come up. We also played around with how some secret stages and characters are unlocked. I’ll leave those changes to surprise you.
I will get specific, however, about a couple gameplay tweaks we made:
- Mud in Dreadwood is a bit stickier now. Not only does it slow your movement speed like it always did, but now it also lowers your jump height as you try to escape it. This makes it a lot riskier to be in.
- Hot coals in TowerForge have changed quite a bit. Previously, they made players who step on them bounce on contact. That effect is gone. They now simply light archers on fire who venture across them. Fire doesn’t mean a lot in TowerFall, but it will burn wings off if you have ‘em. But here’s the real kicker: any explosive arrows that come into contact with hot coals will immediately detonate.
The Dark World Expansion used to be DLC, but now it’s included… so will I start with all those stages and characters unlocked, or are they hidden?
The Red Archer was a new combatant in the Dark World Expansion, and you have to unlock her now. I won’t spoil how you’ll find her.
Dark World also added an alternate skin for every archer, and those all begin unlocked.
You’ll have most of the Dark World stages available from the start, except you’ll have to figure out how to unlock Cataclysm, the procedurally generated finale stage.
What about Celeste? Are y’all working on anything new in that world?
Only time will tell.
There’s a good chance this is Matt Makes Games Inc.’s last full game release… but we’ll talk about that more later.