Review: Toren (Computer)

Toren: Official GBAtemp Review

Computer 3,459 views 2 likes 18 comments
Reviewed by Tom Bond, posted May 12, 2015
May 12, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): May 12, 2015
  • Publisher: Versus Evil
  • Developer: Swordtales
  • Genres: Puzzle, Platformer, Adventure
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • Also For: PlayStation 4
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Toren brings poetry to life in an epic journey of growth, discovery and overcoming great hurdles. The rich, fantastical atmosphere in Toren is conveyed through colorful and highly-detailed environments. The main character ages from a mere infant to a young adolescent, creating new game mechanics and challenges for each learning experience and phase of her life.
Tom Bond

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Indie Extraordinaire

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"Oooh! Pretty sharp thing!"

Toren is Brazilian indie studio's Swordtales' first game. It's supposed to be a puzzle platformer/adventure game, and I say supposed to because in the whopping 1 1/2 to 2 hours it takes to complete the game I didn't come across a single actual puzzle, nor did I really get a chance to actually explore...anywhere in the game, so I guess it'd be more accurate to just say "Platformer" and leave it at that. 

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The game starts out with a young girl holding a sword and looking pretty badass, giving me a pretty good first impression of the game. You come across an evil looking dragon mo-fo as you continue on the linear path you're given and you try your hand at messing it up...and you fail and die. Great start, eh? You awake anew as a baby, reborn again as the "Moonchild", and are instructed to find a particular sword and ascend the nasty tower known as "Toren" to defeat the evil dragon that your past selves have (seemingly) failed to do. As soon as I'm given free reign over the Moon Child I am instantly blasted with that  "indie game" feel you get when playing a cheap indie game, and it's definitely present in the entire playthrough. 

Cheap Indie Extraordinaire

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This game feels cheap. Visually, it's disappointing. Unlike a lot of other cheap indie games, Swordtales went with a 3D style'd adventure game as opposed to 2D/8/16-bit styled, and the unfortunate side effect of choosing this style of visuals ends up making the game look like it was made in 2005, not 2015. The textures are a mess, with clipping textures everywhere, textures intersect and phase through each other in most of the game's world, the few models in the entire game have very little detail and almost kills the mood at times. 

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Toren does have a few saving graces, the story is quite engaging and the lore you can find throughout the game is quite interesting; learning about the Moon Child's role and the past that sparked the current events of the world kept me going through most of the game. The audio setup, when not repetitive, is also quite enjoyable, and the few songs in the game are put together really well and really flesh out the lackluster environments. Unfortunately, neither of the two is enough to save this game from it's glaring and abundant flaws. 

Verdict
Pros
+ Great story and lore
+ The (small) amount of audio in the game is put together well
Cons
- Game in general is visually unappealing
- When the player has control of the camera, it's horrendous
- When the game has control of the camera, it's horrendous
- The "puzzles" are extremely simple
- There was no real exploration in the game as far as I could tell, everywhere was pretty linear
- Clunky controls, and even worse "combat" controls
2 Presentation
The very beginning of the game is presented very well...but falls flat on it's face 10 minutes after the initial tutorial, with the rest of the game lagging behind the promising beginning.
2 Gameplay
Toren's gameplay is extremely lackluster. The controls are clunky, the combat, while not very focused, is even worse, the camera controls are horrid, there are very few "puzzle" elements at all in the game, and seemingly no real "exploration" that isn't forced just kills the game.
1 Lasting Appeal
I finished this game in approximately 100 minutes, and out of the 12 achievements you can unlock I missed 3 that only appear to be related to items you can pick up. This game has very little "lasting" appeal.
2
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
I've been contemplating the best way to word this part of my review, and I just have to think being blunt and forward is the best way to go. This game is mediocre. It's a nice first try at a game, and the story of it is pretty great, but everything else falls so short I'm forced to simply say unless you're a big fan of indie games and you don't care about quality, don't bother playing this game.
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