Toren PC Review
Very cool environment
There’s a dragon in it.
Laughable character model
The baby cousin of Skyrim and Devil May Cry 3.
From the country of Brazil, we have this new adventure puzzle platformer experience set in a fantastical world with a structure reaching to the heavens, where you play as a young girl destined to climb the tower (known as Toren) on a hauntingly solitary journey to find your purpose.
This somewhat odd game from Swordtales definitely sets the mood by having the player “born” and awaken in a pool of blood as a baby who then grows slightly for the next scene. Not exactly the same as the Fallout 3 opening as a baby, but whatever. This strangeness continues when you find out from someone who looks like Odin that you are destined to save them from the evil dragon even if it costs you your life. Remember, you are roughly 5 years old at this point, so no pressure.
The tower itself is actually pretty cool, with some neat setting that mix the rainforest with medieval architecture. As you progress through the game the tree in the center grows, sometimes just being a path to another part of the tower, other times giving you weapons like your first sword. This central part of the environment being vital to each “level” is actually well thought out, and a neat way to show your progression. The outside of the tower is just as, if not cooler than the inside with some awesome backgrounds that assert the fact that you are not in Kansas anymore and immerse you in this new world. The details in the environment are impressive, which makes the terrible character model stand out even more than it should. It has a total of 3 expressions, seems to glitch out all the time, and actively takes away attention from the otherwise good looking game.
With all the beauty in this game, it would normally overwhelm any gameplay issues you might encounter, but not in this case. Right from the first moment it’s unclear what they want you to do to progress the story, and events just seem to happen for no apparent reason. It’s okay to be a non-linear game, but this is just obtuse. A good example is when I used a telescope that was outside the tower and after looking up, I saw a painting of a warrior which then cracked the lens of the telescope slowly. Why this happened, or why I have to wake up as a baby in a pool of blood every time I die is just some of the many questions that arise from play this game.
Poetry abounds in the games, and the art is great to look at, but it seems that the artists in this studio ran rampant with symbolism and style and then forgot they had to make a game. The dragon is tiny and funny looking rather than scary, the player model is an emotionless doll, and I need directory commentary to even follow the story. But if you’re into a more artsy game that is excellent for the eyes, but not the controller then this is for you.