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

Sword Daughter

Sword Daughter

Follow Tyrna the Sword Daughter on a quest that might lead her to vengeance, treasure, glory, death or even love in this adaptation of the original gamebook. Although short, the 22 different endings add a lot of replay value and the game is worth it for the beautiful art style alone. It is a little heavy handed when it comes to romance and some of the story elements definitely shows their age, which is no surprise as the original gamebook was released way back in 1984. Despite its flaws the game is still quite enjoyable and well worth checking out. Gameplay: The story is straightforward, but has plenty of branching routes and a whopping 22 different endings. Graphics: The fantasy artwork might not be very animated, but it is quite beautiful. Sound: Not many tunes, but the ones on offer are very good.

A Rose in the Twilight

A Rose in the Twilight

Help a young girl and her giant companion navigate a treacherous castle while unraveling the mystery of the thorns in this unique puzzle title. With its somber visuals and blood drenched gameplay, it is probably not a title that is going to appeal to everyone, but puzzle fans are in for a treat. A Rose In The Twilight can be a little frustrating at times, but makes up for it with challenging puzzles and captivating characters. If you don’t mind your puzzle titles infused with equal measures of cuteness and creepiness then this one comes highly recommended. Gameplay: Making progress requires teamwork, puzzle solving and some light platforming. Graphics: Dark and moody, but very stylish. Sound: No voice acting, but the music is suitably somber.

Cat Goes Fishing

Cat Goes Fishing

Cat Goes Fishing is a simple fishing game featuring a bunch of fish with different behaviors. As players catch and sell fish they earn enough cash and experience to upgrade their gear and go after even bigger species. The game can be very grindy at times and catching some of the fish on "Realism" mode might make you want to pull your hair out, but overall it's a decent game. It's not the best looking or sounding fishing game on the market, but it is easy to pick up and play. Beware, though, as it is also easy to get hooked and spent hours trying to catch some of the more elusive fish. Gameplay: Simple, but quite addictive. Graphics: Nothing to write home about, but the 2D sprites are not without charm. Sound: Decent enough, but eventually the music does become repetitive.

Aaero

Aaero

Aaero is a rhythm shooter that sees players flying through stylized environments while blasting enemies to the beat of electronic music. It is a very challenging and unforgiving game, but also very addictive, and depending on your musical taste has a great soundtrack. The lack of support for things like Steam Workshop and custom songs limits the replay value a bit, but mastering all the songs should keep most players busy for ages. Gameplay: Challenging, intense, and very addictive. Graphics: Beautiful and varied. Sound: Features a great electronic music soundtrack.

The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac

Very simple to play, but the difficulty varies greatly depending on your luck. There is reason for multiple playthroughs which, along with the random elements, give this game some longevity. It's a good game, but definitely won't be suited to everyone's tastes. Gameplay: Randomly generated dungeons, tons of enemies and loads of loot gives this a lot of replay value. Graphics: Cute in a sick, twisted kind of way. Sound: Nice soundtrack and disturbing effects.

Omega Pattern

Omega Pattern

Omega Pattern is a visual novel where you follow the story of a young man named Shaiel who is on the run from a ruthless organization called Bioagora. His psychic skills make him an important target for Bioagora, who has a history of turning gifted people into brainwashed agents to do their bidding. The game doesn’t just tell the story of Shaiel in the present, but also features plenty of flashbacks where you actually get to make choices that influences the route you take to the ending. This gives the game some nice replay value and the different routes are actually quite different and not just minor variations. Unfortunately, Omega Pattern is also quite short and since it is only the first part of the full story, it ends in a “To Be Continued,” which might annoy some fans. Gameplay: The story is genuinely intriguing and the choices you get to make actually impacts the story, which is a nice touch. Graphics: Nothing really special, but gets the job done. Sound: No voice acting, but the soundtrack is really solid.

Leave a comment

2 × five =