Adventure games aren’t dead, and Tormentum – Dark Sorrow is determined to prove it. Thanks to a successful Indiegogo campaign fronted by developer OhNoo, this beautiful, twisted point-and-click adventure is gracing the screens of PC and Mac users. Inspired by the artistry of H. R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński, Tormentum – Dark Sorrow is a dark and otherworldly look at hells both universal and personal.
Despite Some Emotional Hiccups, Tormentum‘s Story is Wonderfully Warped
Like most adventure games, Tormentum is a ‘story first, action second’ kind of game. You play as some kind of hooded figure, and you’re immediately dropped into a prison from which you must escape. The game doesn’t provide you with much information other than that you’re a depraved criminal who has committed an unnamed crime. Along the way, you meet a variety of other characters—other prisoners, a jester, talking trees, and reptiles—and must complete a series of challenges to advance the story.
Tormentum is dark fantasy—the game is rife with images of graphic torture and a perpetual air of sadness and hopelessness lingers throughout. Though point-and-click adventures might be thought of as appropriate for younger audiences, that’s definitely not true of this game; it’s dark from beginning to end, forcing the player character to make some chilling moral decisions. It’s pretty easy to tell the “bad” decisions from the “good” ones, though the game does make a point of explaining that the character can’t know if they made the right decision in the long run.
It’s hard to explain exactly what the world of Tormentum is like—it’s a vivid hellscape of torture, pain, and anguish, but it is also strangely beautiful in its artistry and inventiveness. While it does occasionally stray into Linkin Park-esque angst, the creatures, characters, and scenery of Tormentum are vivid and memorable, weighing players down with titular, dark sorrow.
Tormentum‘s Art is Breathtaking, If Mostly Static
To put it simply, Tormentum is one of the most beautiful point-and-click adventure games in existence. Those familiar with the work of H. R. Giger will see some strong similarities between Tormentum and the artist’s weird, biomechanical humans, as well as Zdzisław Beksiński’s somewhat disturbing post-apocalyptic landscapes. But just because it’s weird doesn’t mean it’s not gorgeous—the artwork in this game is stunning, if largely static, and will often leave you staring at the screen slack-jawed.
That the character doesn’t move around the screen might be seen as detrimental, but it does eliminate the tedium of watching your character slowly walk back and forth as you click your way across a puzzle. There are many dynamic elements to the game—most notably a torture scene where a knight repeatedly stabs a prisoner with spikes—that keep it from feeling too static. Overall, the effect is rather like an animated storybook, albeit a storybook for a very, very twisted child.
Though Tormentum Doesn’t Break Genre Boundaries, It Doesn’t Fail Either
Tormentum‘s gameplay is fairly standard for a point-and-click adventure. None of the puzzles are particularly difficult, which isn’t really a detriment to the game’s quality. Unfortunately, Tormentum does feature multiple slide puzzles, which are more of an annoyance than a test of skill.
The game’s puzzles fare a little better. You have multiple individuals you can give items to, and each option bears its own set of consequences. They’re also a little tougher, as the chain of quests can often leave you forgetting who asked for what first and why and that confusion makes things more difficult. Your mileage may vary as to whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Mild Complaints Don’t Diminish Tormentum‘s Appeal
Overall, Tormentum – Dark Sorrow is a gloomy and fascinating take on the point-and-click adventure game. While it’s not perfect—the puzzles could be a little more inventive, and the writing sometimes feels a little like angsty high school poetry, the breathtaking artwork, and well-developed world more than make up for it.
Tormentum – Dark Sorrow is available now for Mac and PC for $11.99.