In Toren you follow the journey of the Moonchild as she grows from a baby into an adult. She’s tasked with ascending the tower, taking down a fierce dragon, and ultimately gaining her freedom. Throughout the game you’ll receive advice from a statue of a man no longer living and through short poems that appear throughout key moments in the game. The story remains pretty abstract and there’s some interesting thematic undertones, but unfortunately Toren ends right as it starts to hit its stride.
Throughout most of Toren you’ll solve basic puzzles, avoid the petrifying gaze of the dragon, and occasionally fight off small bug-like creatures. The controls are pretty simple as the Moonchild can jump, interact with objects, and swing a sword if the situation calls for it. For the most part they work well enough, but there were times where I found the controls to be rather clunky. (There were a couple instances where my character couldn’t move for a few brief seconds for no apparent reason.)
At one point early in the game you’re able to use the dragon’s petrification in order to progress to the next checkpoint. It’s a pretty cool way of using death as a means to progress, but it’s never really used again. For such an interesting concept I found myself wishing that the game used it more. I think that ultimately plays into my disappointment with how short the game is as well. (It took me a little under 2 hours to finish.) It’s hard to grow attached to the Moonchild in such a short time especially when you reach the adult stage so quick. Slowing down and fleshing out each portion of her life would have gone a long way in helping to make her journey more meaningful.
Everything from the tower to the dream sequence environments in Toren look really great. (The style kind of reminds me of Papo & Yo.) The Moonchild’s design from child to adult also does a really great job of showing her mature throughout the game. There’s some technical issues, the occasional screen tearing/frame rate drop, but they’re not enough to spoil the experience.
I didn’t like Toren as much as I was hoping to, but there’s still some pretty neat ideas that make it worth checking out. It’s just too bad that the game ends as soon as it does. There’s plenty of room for something longer that gives the game some time to breath and allows for Moonchild’s character and relationship with the dragon to grow. Instead Toren, much like the tower you climb, feels a bit too empty.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Great art style
- Playing a character that grows up over the course of the game
- Some interesting puzzle design and the final encounter
What I Dislike:
- Ends way too soon
- Some technical issues (frame rate, camera, controls)
- I wish they did more with some of the puzzle ideas that only get used once