Serious Sam: Tormental is a top-down rogue-like twin-stick shooter. It’s developed by Gungrounds and published by Devolver Digital. Serious Sam: Tormental is colorful, fun and addictive. Starting with the first joke made, the game puts you in a Serious Sam mood and it only gets better from there.
The game follows procedurally generated levels with a rogue-like formula. There are 4 different biomes as you progress through levels in your run. Each biome ends with a boss and players gets to move on to the next biome. There is a different theme and different type of monsters in each biome. As you might have guessed each time you defeat a boss and progress, the game gets harder. Without spoiling much, it is fair to say the challenging nature of this game doesn’t stop there.
To overcome the challenges Tormental throws at you, player has two options. There is the primary weapon, which stays the same every run and can get upgraded at the end of biomes. And then there is Serious Weapons. These are stronger guns you come across during your run. They have limited ammo to balance them being stronger than your primary weapon. There is a good variety of serious weapons around the biomes. Each type is useful at a different situation, and they are all equally fun to play with. The feeling of weapons in this game is superb. You can feel every hit, and see the impact of it. Overall, I was very satisfied with the gun play.
Even though canonically Serious Sam is our main character in this game, you can also play as other characters you find during your runs. Each different character has their own unique abilities and bonuses. While I mostly stuck with Serious Sam, being able to choose from a pool of other characters adds a lot of variety to the game.
Unfortunately, there isn’t too much variety to the bosses in the game. There are about 5 different bosses, and you kill the same boss every time you finish a biome. But credit where it’s due, every boss fight feels distinct from each other. It should also be noted that there is no permanent upgrades to unlock in the game. Only persistent progress is the characters and weapons you find, and the achievements you unlock during your runs.
The basic outline of the story is, you play as Serious Sam as he makes his way through the tormented mind of Mental, demigod of destruction. I’ve never really been a story and dialogue person. But I should say that the dialogues in Tormental are quite funny and beautifully written. The characters you meet feel fleshed out and the comedy never loses a beat. But since this game is more gameplay focused, you shouldn’t go in expecting a grand storytelling experience.
The game looks great, the color palette is amazing, environments are fitting, and each biome genuinely looks different. While some monsters look a bit alike, it is easy enough to differentiate them from each other. Thanks to the design choices you never get lost between all the bullets flying around.
The sound design is also pretty good. Weapon sound effects hit just right, the music is a perfect accompaniment to the gameplay, provides a great hype feeling.
I have encountered no bugs while playing. However, I did have a few frame-rate drops during some boss fights when there were a lot of projectiles flying around.
Serious Sam: Tormental is a great take of the rogue-like twin-stick-shooter genre. The theme of Serious Sam fits perfectly with this gameplay type. The dialogue is funny and the game is very addictive to play. If you played rogue-likes like Enter The Gungeon before, I believe you will love Serious Sam: Tormental.