The Moonchild's sole purpose is to exist in times of trouble and end the dangers of the dragon that lurks atop Toren; a large tower. You are born a child and moments later are told that your childhood must be sacrificed in order for you to have the strength and ability to succeed in ridding Toren of its plight. This leads to some interesting gameplay experiences that ultimately leaves a little to be desired.

Initially you are atop the tower; sword in hand and dragon ahead. The dragon's breath will turn any living thing it touches into stone; your sword has the power to repel this attack and protect you. You reach it and battle with it but alas, to no success. Sword broken, the dragon's breath covers you and you become a statue. Born again; the Moonchild returns as a baby at the base of Toren.


Toren is a third-person action game with a focus on puzzle solving. The camera is fixed in each location with a little bit of control with the right analogue stick. You have a jump and an interact button, also to attack when you have the weapon, and movement is generally smooth. The jump is very floaty and sometimes hard to gauge distance; a generous and constant ledge grab prevents you from falling to the depths on the majority of occasions.

The puzzles are lacking in challenge but are varied. As well as the tower there are several vignettes throughout the game that take place in different locations; under names such as 'Mercy'. These are a nice break from the main area and include more interesting puzzles. A lot of the rest of the time you'll find yourself pulling switches, standing behind obstacles avoiding the dragon's breath and jumping from platform to platform. Due to the game's length about two hours there isn't a feeling of frustration from repetition.


There are a number of occasions where a puzzle is unsolvable without sacrifice. The Moonchild succumbs to dangers numerous times and there is an interesting moral take on using the corpse of your previous self in order to advance. In one occasion you use the corpse as a literal stepping stone, crumbling parts away with your foot. I felt a certain unease at these moments that the game mainly conveyed well.

A graphical inconsistence runs throughout Toren that I couldn't get my head round. The tower itself, and the areas that you move through all look great; with a wide variety of presentations. An impressive feat considering most of the game is set in the one tower. However, the Moonchild looks vastly different across her various iterations. I was disappointed with the lack of detail on her for most of the game, her face especially. She appeared somewhat like an emotionless doll. That is, until one of the scenes in which she dies, where she clearly shows fear. Near the end of the game there is one in-game shot which looks so different from the rest of the game. The Moonchild is much, much more detailed, showing various emotions and idle animations. There is a depth of field effect as well. It was a shame the rest of the game didn't have this level of detail. A fitting finale though.


A comparison between character models at different parts of the game

I felt a sombre mood throughout Toren mainly due to the Moonchild's purpose and frequent sacrifices and the soundtrack fitted it very well. As you get closer to the summit the music becomes more focused and important, matching the importance of the imminent battle. The audio during the final fight in the game was especially great: effectively highlighting the battle.

Toren took me just under two hours to finish and I enjoyed it. Despite being a little rough around the edges it is a worthwhile play with several moments that will remain memorable. I wish it proved a little more challenging and the Moonchild's thoughts and emotions were explored in some way but the puzzles and spectacle that is there make it recommendable. There are several standout moments and an excellent soundtrack accompanies your adventure.


In Short

  • + Great design of your surroundings
    + Vignettes are a nice change of location
    + Fitting soundtrack

  • - Lacking in challenge
    - Inconsistent character model quality
    - Doesn't explore the existence of the Moonchild enough


Posted at 6:54am on Friday 21st July 2017


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