Toren review for PS4

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC
Publisher: Versus Evil
Developer: Swordtales
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I was hooked in by Toren, a new indie title developed by Swordtales and published by Versus Evil from the cover art alone. This indie title is available on the PlayStation 4 and PC as a digital download. Toren is a 3rd person adventure game with a familiar art style.

In Toren, you play as a young girl known as ?Moonchild? and with the help of a Wizard; he gives her a seedling that becomes the tree of life to help ascend the tower (Toren).  Moonchild?s overall design is reminiscent of styles from games like ?ICO? and ?The Mark of Kri.? The game begins with a tutorial, which puts you in a battle with a black dragon on top of the tower. After a brief introduction to the story you begin your journey upward.


During the ascension to the top of the tower, you will encounter statues that give you optional dream sequences and fill in more to the story, which I think is one of the best aspects of the game. These levels include some puzzles which you will need to solve in order to complete the sequence. A little later into the game; you will need to keep a heat source near you because the environment is extremely cold and if you try to progress without it, the screen will begin to freeze and Moonchild will as well.

My first run through the game took less than 2 hours which felt pretty short for an adventure game, then I realized that this game felt more like a puzzler/platformer based on what you are doing to progress in the game. First and foremost, Toren has very nice visuals and the tower itself is unique in its own right. When I first saw Moonchild holding a sword, I was expecting to be fighting some enemies along the adventure. Sadly, the sword is more for show and more tied to the lore of the game than an actual weapon.


To make up for its length, the game does offer some decent puzzle elements when traversing the tower. The puzzles include using stone statues of yourself that are left behind if you die. The platforming aspect unfortunately suffers from bad framerates and significant screen tearing. The controls however, seemed to be the biggest issue for me. Moonchild has a long delayed (princess Peach Mario Bros 2) jump, but not in a good way. You end up misjudging jumps and fall to your doom excessively.

In the end, Toren is a decent indie title if you are looking for something quick to play. For a game with a short completion time, it offered vast amounts of lore being told from a narrative perspective as well as through poetry. For $9.99, it is a good value for the time you will put into the game.

Grade: C+