Game Opinion – TorqueL
TorqueL feels like a prototype of a very interesting mechanic that has never really left the stage of being a prototype and sort of became a full game. The point of the game is that you roll around in a box, and instead of jumping, you extend one or more of the box’s sides to do the platforming.
I really like the concept and find it interesting. And as a prototype, TorqueL is a great proof of concept. It is not, however, a great game in my opinion.
The main controls are incredibly frustrating over time, the main reason being that each button is fixed to a particular side of the box. So, for example, if you want to extend the green side that happens to look down, you need to press the upper controller button (triangle on the PS4 controller). This discrepancy isn’t a big problem on earlier levels, but as levels become trickier and faster reaction is needed and more complex uses of extending sides, controls become a nightmare. And even an hour into the game, I still couldn’t get properly used to them.
And there is no visual style to speak of, so the game gets incredibly tiresome to look at. And I’m not saying that TorqueL should include amazing art. A game like Thomas Was Alone is proof enough that you can have very pleasantly looking game with only boxes. And a treatment like that would certainly help TorqueL.
However, all that said, these criticisms pale in comparison to what I think is the biggest problem of the game. Every time you die and restart a level, it repeats the intro animation that shows the endpoint of the level, then pans through the area to the starting location, and then a second passes for your character to appear. And this may sound trivial, but in a game where you can die a lot, instant restart is a must. This is one of the key points that makes games like Super Meat Boy and Trials feel less frustrating to repeat over and over. Because when you die you can instantly try again. In TorqueL, every time you die you need to wait a few seconds before trying. And that is just infuriating.
In the end, if you’re interested in TorqueL’s concept, I would still recommend to check it out, just because I really think that its main mechanic is very interesting. However, to me TorqueL doesn’t provide the feeling of a finished and polished game, which is why I don’t really find any enjoyment in it.
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