Top Critic Average
Despite that, Toren really is about its narrative, and that is arthouse gold. Like the finest of foreign cinema, this game challenges how the wisdom behind blockbuster design would dictate a game should be put together. It's constrained by budget and, perhaps, a lack in confidence to go all the way and risk complete innovation, but it's a beautiful, emotive, and powerful experience, and it's going to be one of my games of the year. If not one of my favourite games ever.
Toren is a short but satisfying video game that plays like a movie. Imagine the emotion and style of Ico, mixed with the presentation and progression of Journey, and you get a good idea of what Toren feels like.
Regardless of my complaints, Toren still successfully brings home an intriguing experience, rife with beauty and intrigue. Its technical merits or lack thereof may frustrate some, but I feel no worse for wear. If you're looking for a short, colorful adventure to entertain you for a few hours, it's hard to go wrong here. Just watch your step.
Toren has great style and a compelling story to tell. Though it's dragged down by its gameplay, it's still far more than worth the asking price for the experience it offers.
Toren is a short but sweet game about growing up, climbing towers, and fighting dragons, all shrouded in symbolism and cosmic metaphors. While it has its flaws - including a noticeably limited playtime - it's an incredibly unique outing from Swordtales that's well worth playing.
Because it's such a small game, there isn't all that much to it; it's not a game with something for everyone. Still, even if you're interested, remember that the game is only two hours long, even though it's a very focused two hours, some people may feel they have overpaid for the amount of content they are given.
For now, Toren is suited for someone looking for a story-centric game for the weekend, a younger audience looking for an easier game, or anyone looking at getting into game design. This game is a great example of what you can hope to accomplish early on, and should act as a great portfolio piece for anyone involved. It's worth the $11 though just barely, and will delight anyone looking for a great art style to enjoy as they sort of mindlessly solve simple problems.
It's either going through an identity crisis or in dire need of a chest with a boomerang in it, but for what it's worth, Toren is a strange and beautiful little adventure. Give it a look, but don't expect anything special.
It's an enigma of a game, its visuals compel you to want to play, to explore and see what happens next, but the game play and delivery… from the controls to the camera view system seeks to sabotage the experience. It's not a bad game at all, it's just another game in a crowd. Once played through there is not enough there for a revisit. But there is enough there to visit at least once.
Toren is the first release from Swordtales, and I feel the game could have used a little bit more time to iron out any of the technical issues. There are optional important story sequences that are easy to miss, so you may want to fully explore regions. Randomly falling through the floor randomly, and being able to see through the character models at times is inexcusable, but the narrative of rebirth and completing one's destiny no matter the adversity is well put together.
If the mechanics were tighter and there was a bit more actual gameplay, then I would give this a more general recommendation, but as it is, only buy if you can tolerate lacking gameplay for story and setting.
Toren is very rough-around-the-edges, but there is some charm during the few hours it lasts. The stylized aesthetic and narrative take the best parts from fables and mythology, giving them a poignant sense of presence.
Toren is a very cool concept that's held back by its rough presentation, especially on the PC platform. Truth be told though, I think developer Swordtales should keep making games and simply refine its touch, as the studio clearly has the knack for it.
Is it worth a try? Actually, it's worth several, as long as those that will give it a shot can enjoy a video game that favours feelings over gameplay, and can stomach the fact that this is like a glimpse of something much grander. The rest can safely pass Toren by…
Toren is a great idea. As a lover of the arts, its focus on artistic impression and intriguing spirituality is something I'll always support. I'm also not one to condemn the length (Journey was only a few hours long, too).
Toren is an imaginative game with an interesting narrative and beautiful game world. For every moment of striking art or good design, however, there's something wrong with the game technically or in terms of its moment to moment gameplay. Ultimately, like Moonchild herself, Toren would have benefitted from a bit more time in the tower, exploring its own design and ideas before rushing to the top. There's very few things that are more ironic than a game that plays with the notion of time feeling incomplete.
Despite some strong world design and a compelling soundtrack, Toren just can't keep up with the other great platformers on the market, even from the previous generation. The miserable visuals, combined with technical problems and loose gameplay, leave this journey coming up way short – and making us wish that The Last Guardian would surface sooner rather than later.
There's nothing majorly wrong with Toren. Although barren, its gameplay systems operate well enough, going hand-in-hand with developer Swordtales' minimalist approach. That said, mechanically, it fails to do anything that truly immerses players any more than the game's pretty visuals.
The game is beautiful in many aspects, but with multiple glitches, slightly broken mechanics, short play time ,and performance issues, it is hard for me to say pick it up at full price. In fact, I would say give this game a shot once it goes on sale. Until then, hold off on this rather unique title.
Toren felt like it was just trying to check things off of a "how to make a video game" checklist. Monsters? Check. Armor? Check. Jump button? Check. Scrolls? Check. A dragon? Check. Platforming? Check. Varied environments? Check. I could go on, but I'll spare you. Each of these things were only half thought out and glued together haphazardly. No thought was given to creating an enjoyable experience that uses all elements of a video game to form something incredible. There's a good game hiding deep down inside Toren, but it missed the mark in almost all ways and failed to fully realize any of its ideas, leaving it as much less of an experience than it should have been.
Terrible textures aside, there's a beauty to Toren's art and audio direction that's worth beholding. The problem is that outside of these assets, Swordtales' two hour adventure falls short. A plethora of technical problems and uninteresting level design win out over the positive aspects, and this experience is below par as a consequence. Listen and look at it by all means – just try to avoid actually playing it.
I've been contemplating the best way to word this part of my review, and I just have to think being blunt and forward is the best way to go. This game is mediocre. It's a nice first try at a game, and the story of it is pretty great, but everything else falls so short I'm forced to simply say unless you're a big fan of indie games and you don't care about quality, don't bother playing this game.