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Video Game / Tower of Heaven

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May heaven grant you fortune.
I saw the traveler make his way toward the monolith,
That thin gash amidst the clouds;
An open seam between heaven and earth that eluded the Eye of God.
Or perhaps it had not; perhaps it beckoned from one realm
To the other, wedded And ruled as one;
For look how clean it splits the horizon 'twain, absorbs it,
Makes it Strange,
An indomitable beam,
A tower of heaven.
Journal of an unknown traveller

An indie platforming game made in 2009 by askiisoft. Also known as 天国の塔 (Tengoku no Tou, same meaning).

In this game, you play as a humanoid creature who attempts to scale a gigantic tower against the wishes of the tower's resident god. Said deity attempts to put an end to your progress by enforcing certain laws, such as "Thou shalt not walk left" or "Thou shalt not touch yellow blocks." The player must not only time their jumps and navigate platforms of varying difficulty, but must ensure that they adhere to the laws brought forth by the deity.

The game's overall feel was designed to invoke old Game Boy games, with a deliberate greenish monochrome colour scheme and 8-bit style music. Oh and difficulty as well.

Can be downloaded here. A Flash port of the game with a few extra features, including a Level Editor, can also be found on Newgrounds here.

It later received a sequel/Spiritual Successor, Pause Ahead.

This game contains examples of:

  • Animal Motifs: Butterflies. The deity himself is one.
  • Badass Normal: The main protagonist, using only his jumping ability and little else.
  • Catchphrase: "May heaven grant you fortune," as said by the deity of the tower, though he will twist it a couple of times.
  • Collapsing Lair: The tower falls to pieces at the end of the game.
  • Cutscene Boss: Once you finally reach the deity (who appears to be nothing more than a simple butterfly), he surrenders, having nothing else to throw at you.
  • Deadly Walls: The second rule, "Thou shalt not touch blocks or walls from the side."
  • Death Course: Almost all of the game.
  • Death Is Cheap: Unlimited lives are in effect. The game DOES tally up the number of player deaths at the end, though.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The game's Retraux design uses a Game Boy-like color scheme, except for the ending.
  • Determinator: The protagonist defies the will of god to satisfy his own goals.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Yellow blocks, spikes, buzz saws, block sides, grass, butterflies , and walking left can all kill you, once the laws are active. Except the spikes and saws, which are always lethal.
  • Exact Words: One infamous law: "Thou shalt not walk left." That does mean walk — moving left by any other method is fine.
  • Fake Difficulty: The Book of Laws invoke this. Eventually you get a law that forbids you from re-reading the book of laws. The deity DOES mention that he's never had to utilize the book before. The book shatters on the last stage thus permitting you to walk left and touch the sides of blocks once more. Also, see Interface Screw.
  • Fission Mailed: Fakes out an Unwinnable situation in one room, where the deity loses its temper with you and proclaims you'll suffer fiery torment. It's a simple room that would normally involve just a short trek to the level exit as usual, but the exit is caked in vegetation and by that time, you're forced to obey a law that forbids you from touching living things, which includes said vegetation. The solution? One of the window sills has no vegetation present and is the real level exit, since you can land and walk about on it, unlike other windows in the game.
  • Floating Platforms: Naturally, given it's a platformer. Most are static, but some move. One even transports you to a secret.
  • Gainax Ending: It's hard to tell what the ending symbolizes. The tower falls and not much else is seen other than the hero letting a butterfly touch his finger, which either symbolizes that he no longer has to abide by the Book of Laws, although it could also symbolize that the protagonist has mastery over the deity, who was also shown to be a butterfly. It could even mean that by conquering the tower, the hero gains the deity's respect.
  • Gratuitous English: In the Japanese version, the god's Catchphrase, "May heaven grant you fortune," remains in English.
  • Green Boy Color: The use of monochromatic green is mostly an artistic choice used to evoke melancholia, coupled with a restrictive old-school gameplay.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The deity tells you the controls in the first level and how to save your game in the third. In the Newgrounds version, it doesn't do either of these things. Both versions have it tell you how to review the rules.
  • He's Back!: "The Book of Laws shatters." A possible moment for the player, mostly.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Played with by the deity, who declares that if you're going to scale the tower and claim the reward, you must "shed your humanity", and thus, a law forbids you from touching living things, which amount to the vegetation and roaming butterflies.
    • The ending reinforces the knowledge that the laws were revoked with the book's destruction, as he tenderly lets a butterfly rest on his finger with no ill effect.
  • Homage: To the Game Boy platformer games of old, right down to the colour scheme consisting of only black and greenish-yellow. Except for the full color ending. The music is also 8-bit classic. Except for the ending's piano solo of "Atop the World".
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Since it's a tower, you only go upward to reach the next stage(s).
  • Jerkass Gods: Seriously, some of those laws are just malicious.
  • Leap of Faith: Required to obtain the third secret, right before the end of the game.
  • Level Editor: The Flash port comes with one, which unlocks upon clearing the game. In order to share the level you make, though, you have to beat it first.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • At one point, you are forced to obey a law that forbids you from walking left. Of course, the player is meant to discover that the law never says anything about not jumping or falling left.
    • More significantly: as soon as you pick up the Book of Laws, the deity tells you "Within the walls of this tower, you must obey what it commands, or I will smite you." When you exit the tower via a window and climb from outside, you cease to be within the tower's walls, causing the Book of Laws to shatter.
  • Mad God: The Tower God starts slipping into this as you ascend the higher levels of the tower.
  • Meaningful Name: The level editor for the Newgrounds version reveals the protagonist's name as Eid, which is "Die" backwards. Now, what does the deity want you to do? What are you probably going to be doing a lot of the time in this game? That's right...
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on whether you found both the secrets or not, the deity's final words may change. That is to say, finding both secrets results in an ending that describes you "emerging with vast riches". In the Newgrounds version, beating the game with all three secrets will add an additional screen after the result screen.
  • Nintendo Hard: Since it invokes old Game Boy games, this is in effect. You have to combine Platforming skills with adherence to the laws. Said laws also escalate in cruelty, from simply not being allowed to touch yellow blocks, to not being able to walk left, not touching blocks or walls from the sides, not touching living beings and eventually not being allowed to look at the Book of Laws again. At least until the final level destroys the book and revokes all but one of the laws. In the Newgrounds version, all the laws are revoked, but the obstacle remains (albeit changed).
  • No Name Given: There has been no name given for the deity. The protagonist was also unnamed until the Newgrounds Flash port. According to the level editor, his name is Eid.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Contact with a spike or saw or breaking one of the laws will result in instant smiting.
  • Platform Hell: Basically the whole game. There's two levels where, if you don't make a move within the first second, you die. The first of those levels has an exit to the mere left of you. But this is the same level where you're forbidden from walking left. How do you beat the level? Abuse the loophole.
    • And then the final level combines spike traps, skull blocks, saw blades, various other vicious traps, and a classic Bottomless Pit, and is one of the longest levels to boot.
  • Press X to Die: Later in the game, one of the laws is "Don't open the Book of Laws".
  • Recurring Riff: Most of the songs have the same recognizable motif. According to the composer's Bandcamp page, "Atop the World" was composed first, as a piano improvisation, and all the other songs are based on that melody.
  • Retcon: The Newgrounds version changed the golden blocks in the final level to skull blocks, in order to fill the Plot Hole of golden blocks still killing you after the Book of Laws is broken. The composer explained this (spoilers in the comments) on Youtube as well:
    Rur 539: Huh... I know in the newgrounds version in level 11 the golden blocks were skulls, but since they are gold/yellow in the playthrough and the Book of Laws shatters, wouldn't that mean you could have walked on them?
    flashygoodness: That was a problem in the original game. The yellow blocks still killed you after the rules were nullified in the original version, hence the decision to change them to a different type of block in the new version.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The main character's name: Eid, which is "Die" backwards.
  • Shout-Out: One of the achievements is Tenacious Eid.
  • Spikes of Doom: Well, they're here.
  • Suddenly-Harmful Harmless Object: Butterflies and plants once the fourth rule, "Thou shalt not touch a living thing," comes into effect.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Majority of songs use the same melody at different speeds and tempos.
  • The Tower: It's right there in the title.
  • Timed Mission: Invoked in-universe. At the start of the game, the deity tells you they have no patience for slow workers, giving each stage a time limit. This doesn't apply in the treasure rooms or the rooms between areas, however. The timer goes out the window for the final level - by exiting the tower, you free yourself from the deity's power.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The final level has all the laws repealed and so features the most upbeat incarnation of the main theme, Luna Ascension.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The deity gradually gets more desperate to stop you the further you get into the tower, enforcing crueller laws in his anger. Particularly notable is this line:
    "How dare you... [How dare you continue to live? Is it merely to spite me? You damn fool. Those covetous enough to seek my reward deserve only fiery torment. You will share that fate soon enough."
  • Your Head A-Splode: When you get smited.