Tormentum: Dark Sorrow is a game that revels in surrealistic sensation. While a more by-the-book horror game might get its kicks by jump scaring the player or drenching them in copious streams of blood, Dark Sorrow aims to make them as disconcerted as possible through the sheer unrelenting intensity of its disturbing atmosphere. Aesthetically, the game is like stepping into the wet dream of an H.R Giger fanboy.
Developer: OhNoo Studio
Release Date: 4 Mar, 2015
There is a story, but just barely. It’s more like an excuse to be able to put the player in the game’s twisted world, and with locales as horrifyingly gorgeous as this, that’s totally fine. You take control of a faceless, robed man who suffers from (wait for it) amnesia. He arrives in a ghoulish castle where the wicked are tortured for their sins in a whole manner of uncomfortable ways. That’s about as far as context stretches here, but it’s all one needs really. This game is more about the experience than the story and what an experience it is.
Tormentum is a point and click adventure right down to its malevolent core. The game has a lot going on for its genre, always keeping you on your toes in the best possible way. You will be following clues to and fro around the castle, solving puzzles and completing frantic mini-games in order to progress. The game is smoothly paced, and you’ll find yourself bobbing back and forth between rooms. That might raise the collective eyebrow of back tracking naysayers but the game thankfully seals off areas you’ve cleared for good, pressing you perpetually onward in the right direction. This razor sharp streamlining means you’ll always know what to do and where to do it. Of course this can be a double-edged sword at the best of times and it shows here. Dark Sorrow flounders on the easy end of the difficulty spectrum. This is largely down to NPC characters often outright telling you what you need to do for you to achieve your goal. Point and click puzzlers often struggle with replayability since when you figure a puzzle out once, you’ve figured it for life. Dark Sorrow’s effortless difficulty only amplifies this problem.
The game is beautiful. Like, really beautiful. It won’t show many pretty things, but its art style and assets flawlessly bring out what the developers intended to convey. Gaming has seldom looked so genuinely hellish or nightmarish. Dark Sorrow is perhaps a truer exhibit of the horror game than the Pewdiepie fodder we’ve come to associate with on Youtube. The scenes, the sights and the sounds of this point and click adventure will linger with you far longer than the jolt of an animatronic bear attack or the appearance of a suit wearing mannequin in the woods. Just remember to leave a light on when going to bed after playing.
The only negative to the game’s scrumptious presentation is that rather than directly moving the avatar, you simply click on the edges of the screen to shunt him from room to room. Consequently, he is almost always a static piece of artwork on the screen. It is understandable as to why this is of course, as diverting attention away from what would be menial moving around animations really allows for the environment to pop in all its spooky splendour.
Tormentum: Dark Sorrow is something that really ought to be played. It doesn’t have a particularly long lifespan, especially with its easy difficulty, but it remains entertaining throughout. And of course if you’re really craving some nightmare fuel for the old tanker, or want to see an aesthetic feat often attempted but rarely achieved in gaming, you need look no further than this absolute pearl in the point and click oyster.