review
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POSTED 21/6/15


TOREN

Swordtales/Versus Evil



Girl, youíll be a woman soon...

Very soon, for Toren can be completed in a handful of hours. But as we always preach, quality trumps quantity. Weíre happy to play a three-hour game if itís engaging, fun and competent.

Which makes Toren an interesting case.

But first, exposition! Toren is a tower. Moonchild is the girl to whom we referred in our opening plunderisation of Neil Diamond (or Urge Overkill for the more ignorant). She starts life a curious infant, and we experience her growth as she searches for her place in the world. This place is, apparently, climbing the tower while sharpening her horticultural abilities and playing cat and mouse with something altogether more burny than feline or rodent Ė a sizeable red and black dragon.

Toren is a platformer, but it isnít. Itís a hacky/slasher, but it isnít. Itís an adventure, but it isnít. But it is.

OK, that was as clear as custard. Toren is as much an experience as it is any combination of gaming mechanisms, much like the lovely Never Alone was.

Unlike Never Alone, however, thereís a distinct lack of slickness to Toren. The visuals can be stunning, then they can stutter, go wibbly-wobbly and poor Moonchild will partially disappear into backgrounds. They have a naÔve, PS2ish look Ė akin to the likes of Ico, which was likely an inspiration. With more love they couldíve blown every sock on every foot the world over offwards.

Then thereís the wandering camera and imprecise controls Ė notably with jumping. You will die (and a monument will be erected to remind you. Ouch!)

These glitchies can really kill the vibe, which is otherwise beautifully created by fascinating, almost spiritual storytelling (although it can rabbit on) and a stunning cinematic soundtrack.

Toren is frustrating, as thereís much good and much bad. Forgiving types will be rewarded, but itís hard not to rue the lack of polish, for this couldíve been an absolute diamond.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.