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Toren Review

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Brazillian developer Swordtales recently released their first game, Toren, and it is an interesting choice of title. I love seeing new developers try something different, and this is certainly different in visual style. It fits comfortably in a relatively new trend in indie games. While the trend isn’t necessarily bad, I can’t help but notice its growing popularity. The last five years for indie games has been full of melancholic, likable/cute main characters facing a challenge that they are too naive for. Toren falls into this category along with Max: Curse of Brotherhood, Never Alone, Child of Light, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

You play as Moonchild, a small girl destined to climb a mysterious tower known as The Toren. Moonchild is alone on her journey with only her dreams and the wisdom of mysterious men who appear to her through visions. As she climbs the tower, Moonchild must overcome monsters and challenging puzzles that will test her willpower until her destiny is finally revealed.

The story is not too bad. The lack of voice acting reminds me of older games where the music and sounds were more important and conveyed a deeper existential meaning. Most of this game’s story is told through poetry that will make any hipster jump for joy. While that alone isn’t bad, at some points the dialogue is so vague you are left wondering what was said.

toren screen 1When you boot up Toren it lets you know that the game plays better with a controller, and man that is the truth. This game controls poorly on a keyboard. Performing some of the puzzles where you have to walk in precise lines are so difficult. Thankfully controllers to use on your PC are cheap. While I feel as though this game could have been altered differently to be optimized for both and not just one method of play, this is the way the developers wanted gamers to play.

Visually speaking, Toren is incredibly unique and it stands out with original artwork as most indie games these days do. Look at Never Alone and Child of Light. Their art is what makes them stand out and Toren is no exception. The cutscenes are pretty great as well. The musical score is lovely to listen to, but not all that memorable.

toren screen 2The puzzle quality is evenly paced and consistent. For the most part, the game gives you enough visual cues to solve them, though the controls can be frustrating sometimes because despite using a controller, the movement animations can be really stiff and annoying.

Toren is an “artsy” game. It isn’t for everyone. Gameplay wise, there isn’t too much to Toren. Exploration is pretty fun due to the clever level design.  Adventure title enthusiasts can appreciate what Toren has to offer and I suggest fans of the genre immediately pick this game up.

About Zach Martinez

Freelancer here at Armed Gamer, North American Video Game Correspondent for Following the Nerd, and a regular on Examiner.com, Zach has made somewhat of a name for himself at the age of 23. He has been writing professionally for just over 5 years now. He doesn't care about resolution or frames per second, he cares about what matters most, the games. You can reach reach him directly at zach.martinez09395@yahoo.com.

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