I've been playing a lot of indie games lately. One of them has not been talked about much: Toren. Toren is a platformer about a girl that has to climb a tower to defeat a dragon and revive her world. This is probably the least polished game I have played in a long time. Animations are janky, controls are imprecise and clunky, and there are loads of little glitches. Yet, I really enjoyed this.
There is something about this world that feels honest to me: As you climb the tower, the child grows from a toddler to an adolescent, and is gradually introduced to more and more mature concepts. I didn't understand much of the iconography of this game, but it felt oddly cathartic to climb this tower of life, and overcome it's challenges.
I particularly liked how death played such an integral role in this story and some of the puzzles. The tower is a monument to a dead people, and yet the story and game mechanics are as much about dying as they are about rebirth and not giving up. This is underlined by the wonderful art style of this game, which contrasts vivid colors with brooding, dark architecture.
At just about two hours, Toren is not a long game. Instead of exploring one particular game mechanic, it mixes it's game up every few minutes. Every sequence looks different and beautiful, and yet it manages to tell a cohesive and effective story. ★★★★☆