Anyone who has watched a single film in the Alien series will be at least somewhat familiar with the work of surreal artist H.R. Giger – whether they realise it or not. Most famously responsible for designing the titular Xenomorph in the Ridley Scott original, his entire portfolio of work consists of ghastly organic-cybernetic monsters and nightmarish environments. These fascinatingly detailed works of art have long inspired other creative minds – including the disturbing 1992 graphic adventure game Dark Seed and it’s subsequent sequel. It is no surprise therefore that another adventure game has chosen to take inspiration from his artistic horrors, as the aptly-named OhNoo Studio has done with its first ever release: Tormentum: Dark Sorrow.
It may not be the most revolutionary graphic adventure ever put together in terms of its puzzles design and gameplay, but few other titles could match the unsettling tone that has been created in Tormentum. There is little in the way of story set-up – you take on the role of an unnamed and hooded figure, whom we cannot see their face. Awaking to find yourself in a cage, suspended in mid-air, being carried by an airship to an unknown destination, things aren’t off to a good start. A fellow prisoner tells you that your captors kidnap those that they think have “sinned”, under the auspices of punishing them to cleanse their soul of their misdeeds. You are soon alone, locked in a cell, and must use any means necessary to escape before you too are tortured and cleansed.