The gaming industry is no stranger to games that look to be hopeful, then turn out to be nothing but a bucket of disappointment. While Toren wasn’t a full bucket, I still feel what it looked like was far from what the game actually is. As I was looking at trailers for Toren I thought it looked great, the story idea interested me and the gameplay looked enjoyable. However, even if I hadn’t had seen these trailers and got myself excited, I still would have been disappointed. But seeing as this is the first game from Brazilian developer Swordtales, and is a new entry into the library of PS4 indie games, it wasn’t all that bad.
The story of Toren makes you take control of a small girl called Moonchild who has to escape a tower overseen by an evil dragon, or at least that’s what I picked up. At times the story got a little bit confusing, and the speeding text didn’t help. But for those who don’t have Sonic the Hedgehog eyes, the game allows you to go into the start menu and access the Papyrus to catch up on missed details. While you are completing your aim, you grow into a woman and a warrior. This was the part of Toren I found really interesting.
In Toren you work your way through levels in the form of the tree of life, this is the path of levels that contain optional levels in-between. A downside of this is that the optional levels are quite easy to miss; meaning gameplay is taken away from the around two hour completion time. As well as missing gameplay, you can also miss important story points. While I found this time suitable, because I didn’t really feel much at all while playing, if Toren was a bit more refined it would have been a more enjoyable experience.
I found the gameplay in Toren to be slightly broken, but interesting. At first it is slow, as you are a child, and you only have basic movements at this point. But the game starts to pick up as you age into a sword wielding master. However, overall the gameplay just came off a bit buggy. At times enemies would disappear, and the jump sequences would send me into an unintentional floating state shortly followed by death 15 seconds after that. As well as this there are consistent screen jumps/tears throughout and random points where I got stuck, at times these were tolerable but at others it was tough to make my way around the area. These glitches soured my game experience, mainly because it made Toren a lot more frustrating than it needed to be.
One part of the gameplay I did enjoy was that pressing triangle in an area allowed you to take a cinematic view, meaning you could see the world of Toren in most of its beauty. The aesthetics are probably the best thing about this game; it has a nice style and vivid colours to enjoy in the scenery. But to counter the scenery looking the nice, the silent protagonist didn’t look that great. It wasn’t like Bioshock where the characters didn’t look like normal humans, at points it looked like her face was crushed together.
There were also repetitive points within the gameplay. After completing each section, which wasn’t that long, you would find yourself standing in front of a symbol that you had to cover with sand. It was sort of like a simple Point Blank mini game, but it quickly become tedious. It was hard to control due to the glitches in the gameplay, and you have to cover the majority of it which was also difficult. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if it didn’t happen so often, but unfortunately f or Toren it occurred far too many times.
Overall Toren is nothing special, it had some positives but there are a lot more negatives compared to this. The art is wonderful and the premise is interesting enough to get you curious, but the constant glitches and bugs just make it bad. I think with a little more time Toren could have been really great, but unfortunately it was far from this. For £6.99, I’d stay away from Toren. There are so many other amazing cheap games in the PSN Store, like Home for example. I just feel Toren could have been so much more.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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