Toren
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 9

Toren is an ambitious and enjoyable debut title from Swordtales that will definitely appeal to fans of the genre. The visuals lack polish in certain areas and the controls can be clunky, but ascending the tower and exploring the surreal dreams of the protagonist is quite a memorable experience. It is also a game that doesn’t hold your hand or spell out everything for you, so be prepared to unravel its mysteries and metaphors on your own.

Gameplay: Not as much action as I expected, but still plenty of unique areas to explore and puzzles to solve.

Graphics: A little rough around the edges, but vibrant, detailed and often downright beautiful.

Sound: Features a great soundtrack as well as good sound effects

Summary 7.7 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Toren

Developer: Swordtales | Publisher: Versus Evil | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Indie / Adventure | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Although Toren involves a dragon and a tower you are not playing as a knight in shining armor and there are no princesses to save. Instead, you play as a young girl who is simply named Moonchild. Trapped within the confines of an ancient tower Moonchild must ascend its treacherous floors in order to reach the top and confront the dragon. Even this is not as straightforward as you may think as the flow of time is anything but normal.

Toren is the creation of Brazilian developers Swordtales and quite an impressive offering considering that it is their debut title. The game plays out as a 3rd person adventure where you guide Moonchild, a character chained to an unending cycle of life and death, which can only be broken if the dragon guarding the tower is slain. The game doesn’t spell out the story for you, but instead provides you with optional dream sequences that can be completed to uncover more about the events that transpired. Suffice to say it involves a wizard who angered the sun by being a bit too ambitious with the tower he built in order to reach the moon. You don’t really need to fully understand the story to appreciate or enjoy the game, but it definitely adds to the experience, so I definitely recommend seeking out all the dream sequences.

Thanks to the nature of the tower you’ll find that Moonchild actually ages over the course of your adventure. Although the game will only take about an hour or two to complete in real-time, Moonchild grows from a baby into a strong and capable woman along the way. She also dies frequently, whether through your mistakes or in unavoidable ways, but is always reborn to try again. As far as actual gameplay is concerned, you’ll spend your time running and jumping while avoiding or defeating the occasional enemies. There are also a couple of straightforward puzzles to solve and regular encounters with the guardian of the tower. The platforming elements are a little awkward as jumping can feel loose and imprecise, while the combat also lacks the impact or excitement of similar titles. These issues do detract somewhat from the experience, but are still tolerable.

The puzzles are generally easy to solve and fans of the genre won’t encounter anything here that will leave them stumped for too long. You might be required to trace some symbols using salt, push around statues, navigate landscapes while buffeted by strong winds or survive the freezing cold by lighting torches. Some puzzles are good, such as making your way across invisible pathways by looking at the mirrored ceiling. However others, such as waiting for occasional lightning flashes in the dark to see where you are going or what you are doing are a bit tedious. There are also a couple of stealth sections where you have to dart between cover in order to avoid getting turned to stone by your adversary.

Visually Toren is a mix of good and bad, but one thing is for sure, the game definitely has a very surreal feel. This is especially noticeable in the abstract style of the dream levels, but even the regular tower sections have a dreamlike quality to them. The art style is very vibrant and the environments quite colorful. Graphic options are restricted to selecting the quality level and enabling blur or screen space ambient occlusion. Even at the highest settings some of the textures and models look a little rough around the edges though. The camera, which is fixed and can only be moved around slightly can also be a pain at times. Finally, some of the animations also look a little awkward, especially the ones of Moonchild jumping. However, the lighting is very good and the overall style of the game makes up for the visual shortcomings.

The music in Toren is very good with a moody soundtrack that further enhances the mysterious atmosphere of the game. Sound effects are also quite decent, but unfortunately there isn’t much in the way of voice acting. The developers strongly recommend using a controller to play Toren and I definitely agree. The game uses three buttons for all of its functions, with one for attacking or performing a context sensitive action, one for jumping and one for looking at a point of interest. Even with a controller, jumping can still feel l a little floaty though.

Although there are a lot of things about this game that can be criticized, it is still well worth the low price tag. It definitely draws a lot of inspiration from PS2 era classics such as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, but also adds its own unique style to the mix. The game is quite short though, so I definitely recommend not skipping any of the dream sequences when playing. While Toren could have benefited from a bit more polish it is still an enjoyable and thought provoking game. Fans of the genre should definitely check out what it has to offer and experience its unique gameworld.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: 2 GHz dual core processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD3000, Nvidia GeForce GT8600 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • OS: Windows 7, Windows 8.1
  • Processor: Quad core CPU: Intel Core i5-750, AMD Phenom II X4 955
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM: nVidia GTX 480, AMD Radeon HD 5870
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space

Related posts

Xpand Rally

Xpand Rally

Awesome graphics if you have the hardware to run it and some challenging gameplay makes this one a winner if you are a rally fan. While Colin McRae still beats it when it comes to pure entertainment but if you are a rally purist then get this. Gameplay: Good but not for the easily bored. Graphics: Great looking cars and tracks. Sound: Average

Imprint-X

Imprint-X

Imprint-X is a unique entry in the puzzle genre that not only requires memorization and pattern recognition, but some quick reflexes as well. The entire game is based around the concept of pushing buttons, although accomplishing this feat is a lot trickier than you might think. It is a game that leaves it up to you to figure out what is required to succeed, but sadly it is not quite as addictive as some of the best titles in the genre. Regardless, it is definitely different and well worth checking out considering its price tag. Gameplay: The game starts off very easy, but later levels will thoroughly test your memorization and reflexes. Graphics: The cut-scenes and art style probably won’t appeal to everyone, but the overall look of the game is quite nice. Sound: The background music is great and never becomes annoying.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad is one of those games that I just had to play after hearing about the concept and I can say that I was definitely not disappointed. The game loses some of its momentum towards the end due to forced stealth sections but overall it is a blast to play. Grabbing a few friends and playing the co-op mode where everyone is given a different limb to control is also a definite highlight. Gameplay: Mix tricky controls with a physics engine and watch the ensuing hilarity. Graphics: Charming and colorful. Sound: Pretty good overall.

Memory’s Dogma CODE:01

Memory's Dogma CODE:01

Memory’s Dogma: CODE1 kicks off with a very interesting premise as far as visual novels go and initially seems like it is going to be an epic science fiction yarn. While the story doesn’t exactly live up to expectations, it remains interesting throughout and doesn’t end on a cliffhanger as one would expect from an episodic release. The visuals and audio in the game are surprisingly good for an indie title, so it is definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre. The characters and story didn’t’ exactly blow us away, but does have a lot more depth than all the fan-service oriented slice of life visual novels that are all the rage these days. Gameplay: No branching paths and the story doesn’t quite live up to its initial premise, but overall very decent. Graphics: Polished, detailed and featuring some nice character designs. Sound: The music is varied while the Japanese voice acting is top notch.

Monster Slayers

Monster Slayers

Plunder dungeons, dark forests and dank swamps in this addictive new rogue-like deck-building RPG adventure from Nerdook. Thanks to the charming visuals, stellar audio and fiendishly fun gameplay, this is a title you can easily lose yourself in for hours. It packs a ton of replay value and there is always another level of fame, a new deck strategy or better equipment waiting for you to draw you back in. While it might seem very simple at first, the game has plenty of depth without sacrificing accessibility. Fans of the genre will love every minute and even newcomers shouldn’t hesitate to grab this game. Gameplay: Deceptively simple, but extremely addictive, this is a game that can keep you busy for a long time. Graphics: Features the charming art-style that Nerdook titles are known for, but much more polished and detailed than previous titles. Sound: Great soundtrack and some unexpectedly nice sound effects as well as speech.

TankBlitz

TankBlitz

If you have a hankering for jumping into a tank and blasting everything in your path to smithereens then TankBlitz has got you covered. This 2D, top down shooter looks and feels like an arcade game from the nineties, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s got nonstop action, tons of different enemies to shoot at and enough upgrades to keep you coming back for more. Three difficulty levels and plenty of achievements add to the replay value, but we would have loved to see more than 12 levels. Nevertheless, the game is entertaining from start to finish and we had a blast with it. Gameplay: Shoot things to earn cash for upgrades so you can do it all again with even more powerful weapons. Graphics: Not as sharp as we would have liked in high resolution, but packed with detailed. Sound: No speech, but the effects sound like they’ve been plucked straight from an arcade.

Leave a comment

6 + twelve =