With a grim, dark, illustrative style, Tormentum – Dark Sorrow sets an immediate tone with its foreboding presentation. But this point-and-click adventure is about far more than just style, with interesting quest lines that manage to be involving and intriguing without ever falling back on an obtuse internal logic that often dogs this genre.
A side story
I have to confess, as a huge fan of Dark Souls, I found it hard not to look upon Tormentum – Dark Sorrow as a side story within the same universe. The comparisons will be more than apparent to fans, with both character art and tone proving strikingly familiar - albeit with gameplay more focused on puzzle solving rather than fighting and death. This added an extra layer to the game, instantly pulling me into a world I know and enjoy.
Similarities do not end with the aesthetics. Like the popular action game, the lead character has been branded and taken to a far flung land against his knowledge and will. Placed in a dungeon cell, he must formulate his escape – the only difference being the hero of Tormentum must rely on wit and guile rather than brute force.
A dark labyrinth
All of the puzzles your unwilling hero encounters can be solved by items found in the world, and the odd bit of deductive problem solving. This is all executed with an intuitive point-and-click interface, with anything you can interact with conveniently marked with glowing markers. Initially, all the puzzles prove quite straightforward – such as using a flat bit of metal to undo the locking mechanism to your cell – but they quickly get trickier.
I actually got suck for a little while fairly early on (which you can see in the video gallery). Looking at a panel of cogs, I made the incorrect assumption that I should be looking for another cog to fill the gap – not noticing the game’s hints that I should look for a stand in (not a replacement) part. Some deductive reasoning later (not trial and error, I am quite proud of myself for that), I worked out that I needed to use a leather belt to make the connection.
Moving through the game, the hand drawn art of each environment introduces fascinating new areas of the dark world. Each of these also builds in complexity, creating a world with puzzles that layer back on themselves, and that reflect the decisions you made to reach your current situation – yes, maybe you should have killed that guy and not freed him from his cell.
Despite being dismal and oppressive, Tormentum - Dark Sorrow manages to be a refreshing point-and-click adventure. With logic puzzles that make sense (I can’t stress enough how often this isn't the case for the genre), with a world and story that keeps the momentum going throughout, I played the whole game with an unexpected - perhaps out of place - smile on my face.