Tormentum – Dark Sorrow is an otherworldly and twisted point-and-click adventure game by developer studio OhNoo. The art style is heavily inspired by the works of H. R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński to create the uniquely dark and depraved world.
This is not a game appropriate for younger audiences, as the game is filled with images of graphic torture (I still cringe seeing that torture chamber) and a landscape that is covered in perpetual air of hopelessness. Tormentum begins dark and depending on your ending, will either end with a chance of redemption or damnation.
Tormentum focuses heavily on the story, with action and puzzles taking a secondary position. You play as a mysterious hooded figure. The game does not give you any hints, other than implying you have been marked by ‘evil’ and committed an unknown crime. Either way, you need to escape the prison, preferably alive.
As such, there is an element of moral dilemmas. Your choices will influence the game’s ending and the interactions with other characters. There is no clear way of knowing which decision you make is the ‘right’ choice. Or how your decisions will affect you in the long run. Normally you can see the result of your actions from the other characters you interact with, or at least immediate reactions to those decisions. While a good part of the moral decisions you make in the game are ambiguous, there will be some moral decisions that felt blindingly obvious in which was a ‘good’ or ‘evil’ decision.
To make any sort of progress of the story, you will be splitting your time between solving puzzles and interacting with other characters to gain valuable information. Other than backtracking a lot between locations.
The gameplay is fairly standard for a click-and-point game. None of the games puzzles are difficult to solve, although the game does not have a hint system. If you get stuck, your best bet is to either look at your journal or searching for an online guide to solve certain puzzles. If you are the type to go for 100% achievements, one of the achievements involves you to never look at the journal once for one entire playthrough.
One drawback of the game is that you need to keep track of the ‘quests’ you are doing. You interact with various characters who all have their own agendas, who can be given items. Choosing which character to give the items will influence the story and your eventual ending. It can be confusing at times trying to remember which character wanted which item and why. However, while playing the game I found it relatively easy to keep track of the ‘quests’ with ease.
Earlier on, I mentioned that the world of Tormentum was heavily inspired by the art of H.R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński. You can heavily see how Beksiński’s art style influenced the game in creating the landscape, and Giger’s influence on the humanoid characters. Their combined art styles create a vivid landscape (technically its hell….so hellscape?) of torture, pain and betrayal. Despite that, the memorable and vivid scenery is beautiful in its own dark twisted way.
The game is mostly static with few exceptions where some characters/scenes have animations. While that may sound like a negative, it does have the benefit of eliminating the need of watching your character slowly walk around, as you click your way through the game.
Besides the art, we also have the music. The ambient soundtrack is subtle and the music is haunting yet mechanical. Amplifying the desolate feel of the apocalyptic land and sense of hopelessness. With the direction in art and music, it helps set a darker tone that you would expect from point-and-click games. Or the ‘casual’ market for that matter.
In the end, Tormentum – Dark Sorrow is a gloomy and nightmarish take on the point-and-click games. The puzzles could have been more inventive and perhaps have a hint system, to help players who get stuck. The story was interesting overall but the twist at the ending felt somewhat bland.
It is a shame that the unknown greater powers who basically conducted an experiment to see if your soul was capable of redemption, after you committed a crime then selfishly commit suicide to avoid facing your crime felt so bland. If they allowed your soul to enter a projected world created by your memories and everything, should the game not made it harder for you to make moral decisions? Especially since you already committed a crime and selfishly decided to avoid judgement for your crime by suicide? It would made sense to make the decisions feel more selfish based on that, since your soul already failed to do good while alive.
Yet ultimately the decisions were easy to make. You were not punished for making either choices. You could play the entire game, choosing only the ‘good’ choices and not be punished for it. This applies vice versa as well, in hindsight I suppose eternal damnation would be a punishment for choosing only the evil choices.