Ladies and gents, I don’t how I missed this one last year, but Tormented Souls is the perfect palette cleanser we all need after 3 months of stacked AAA releases. Borrowing heavily from the likes of classic Silent Hill and Resident Evil, this title meticulously pulls on those survival horror chords so well, it almost made me forget that Chris literally punched a boulder in Resi 5. However, if you are thinking of picking up Tormented Souls on Nintendo Switch, just know that your experience will be terrible and buyer’s remorse will almost immediately set in after about five minutes. But before we jump into the issues on Switch, let’s see what this game has to offer.
A Dark, Compelling Story
Tormented Souls places you into the leather jacket-clad shoes of a young woman named Caroline. Upon receiving a mysterious letter in the mail about an alleged missing twins case, she soon goes off to investigate the seemingly abandoned Wildberger Hospital in the hopes of finding some answers. But like you’d expect, things go very wrong, very fast. As before long, she finds herself fighting for survival against nightmarish-looking creatures, scrapping for resources and teleporting into parallel dimensions. Yep, it gets wild, folks.
That all being said, the core mystery surrounding the twins is handled surprisingly well and will keep players guessing right up till the major reveals. Plus, the horror staple notes and journal entries further immerse the audience with some rather intense descriptions of horrible horribleness that could easily match up with the best of the best in the genre. The only thing Tormented Souls really gets wrong in terms of story presentation would be the voice-acting, which is a bit of a shame. But luckily, there’s none of that B-level ‘Woah! You were almost a Jill Sandwich’ kind of dialogue. Although it definitely comes close, that’s for sure.
The Retro Horror Style of Tormented Souls
Gameplay-wise, Tormented Souls is a pure love letter to the survival horrors of the original PlayStation. Right down to the fixed camera angles, limited file saves, fun cryptic puzzles and optional tank controls. While it can still feel like jank city running in between said angles – even with the more modern style movement option – the dynamic swivel of the camera works really well to heighten the fear and dread. Having to stand in place, ready to take down what can only be described as BDSM fever dreams is often hyperintense. Especially with the sounds these guys make, good grief. Grab a hand towel, stat!
Thankfully, the tank control style of shooting is pretty straightforward, as it automatically adjusts a weapon’s vertical aim to line up with enemies. Therefore, Caroline won’t miss many of her shots, besides the occasional error here and there. About an hour into the game though, you’ll start to realise that ammo and health pickups are a very, very scarce resource. Almost to the point where players should avoid fighting entirely, just to save up for a rainy day.
You can cheese the enemy AI a bit if you know what you’re doing, for sure. Although, it’s this type of structure that makes Tormented Souls feel like a true survival experience, and I just cannot praise it enough. Every encounter forces the player to carefully consider their limited resources, how they’re going to move from point A to B and when they should use their saves for the most optimal peace of mind. I know that last part sounds hilarious, but it’s true. Not many survival horror games can balance this level of powerlessness as well as Tormented Souls, and it should absolutely be applauded for this feat. However, these are also where the near game-breaking issues on the Nintendo Switch rear their ugly heads.
Avoid Tormented Souls on Switch Like The Plague
Since the game is mostly confined to tight corridors and hallways, it’s already difficult enough as is to avoid enemy slashes and stabs with the tank control-like setup. But once you add in the Switch port’s ridiculously dark picture quality – even with the brightness cranked up in-game and on TV – it becomes nigh impossible to see what’s ahead of you. One part of the game had me practically running blind like a headless chook, while I somehow narrowly avoided a monster’s attack in a panicked frenzy, rather than with any real skill of my own. Obviously, the whole map isn’t like this, although these sections will definitely grind your gears when they appear.
Also on the Nintendo Switch are some horrendously slow loading times, around 8 seconds long on average between doors. Meaning that players will be staring at a tonne of black screens throughout the entire game, and even more so if they get lost. While it does run smoothly enough in terms of performance, expect to get sick of constantly waiting, post-haste. Another aspect that isn’t too great is the graphics themselves. The gameplay visuals are decent, albeit one cutscene in particular, looks like it was lifted straight from the PS1 classics, and not in a good way. What was the QA team doing here? I have no idea.
But all things considered, nothing – and I mean nothing – will max out your frustration more than the persistent crashes and soft-locks that occur on an almost hourly basis. No joke, it got so bad at one point that I became more afraid of the game freezing up, than the actual monsters themselves. Because if I couldn’t find a save tape in time, I knew that I’d lose around an hour of progress on each reset. So instead of playing with a thoughtful, considered approach like I mentioned before, I just ended up running around in a manic state like a child that had eaten one too many chocolate bars. Don’t you just love it when the game actively works against itself? Because I surely do not.
If you’re a fan of old-school Silent Hill or Resident Evil, I’d definitely recommend checking this one out. While there aren’t too many memorable moments like the games Tormented Souls is based on, the general horror elements work incredibly well in heightening the tension and keeping you on the edge of your seat. The puzzle segments aren’t mere throwaway either and do serve as a great change of pace from the adrenaline-pumping fear. The story is quite intriguing too, although the voice-acting does leave a lot to be desired. Overall, Tormented Souls is an exciting retread into the classic survival horror titles of the 90s and early 2000s that does deserve your attention, just not on the Nintendo Switch.
Tormented Souls is a highly satisfying throwback to several iconic survival horror titles. The story, gameplay and visuals effortlessly merge to create a consistently frightening atmosphere. A few more standout sections would’ve made this title soar, but the final product is still a wicked good time.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by PQube. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.