Some trailers are made to show off a game in the utmost beauty, showing detailed vistas and true to life facial animations. Some capture the heart of a game and hit you right in the feels, while others might try to shove as many explosions, gunshots and dubstep beats into 90 seconds as a futuristic war between Skrillex-bots and David Guetta drones. And then there’s Tormentor X Punisher. A game introduced to me through a trailer that left me speechless, shocked and in a fit of hysterics, and at this year’s gamescom I got a chance to see it behind closed doors, before it’s official announcement.
Tormentor X Punisher is the brainchild of Joonas Turner (who has worked on the likes of Broforce and Downwell previously) and as he told me, it was a project that started as a game jam but slowly evolved and developed into the product shown off at gamescom. At first glance, Tormentor X Punisher appears to be a straightforward, top down, scored based, arena twin stick shooter, and while you can instantly tick those things off the list, the longer you play, the more in depth it becomes.
You only ever have two weapons in Tormentor X Punisher, an automatic rifle and a shotgun mapped to RT and LT. What I found really unique about it was that once you run out of ammo (and trust me, it happens a lot) with one weapon, the only way to replenish ammo is by using the other one. Not only does this is stop you getting comfortable with your favourite tool of destruction, it also encourages different styles of gameplay, giving you variety in totting up your score; and this is where Tormentor X Punisher comes into it’s own.
The longer you last, the more the game begins to match your play style, helping you rack up your score with more points and more multipliers. Say for instance, you’ve worked out that bouncing your shot off the wall seems to be keeping you alive for longer, you’ll get huge points the more you do it. Similarly, if you keep killing groups of monsters with one shot, you’ll start to see your score rocketing skywards, it’s designed in order to benefit each player individually and you can see it becoming one of those games where you set yourself your own challenges.
Joonas told me he doesn't want any menus, or tutorials and wants to throw the player straight in in order for them to slowly grasp everything, gifting them the freedom of self discovery and development. The minute you press start, you are thrown into a single room, armed with two guns, and a sense of anticipation; pentagrams are scorched onto the floor in various locations around the room, summoning hordes and hordes of demons of different shapes and sizes, all vying to be the one to take your single HP and it’s up to you to decide how to cleanse the purge.
Everything about it screams 1980s heavy metal. From the guitar riff theme music itself, the screech of ‘Let’s Fucking Do This’ to get you started or the blood, gore and remains left scattered on the floor, it’s like an over the top album cover come to life. If you’ve played Smash TV, it feels very similar, but mix that in with a hint of Hotline Miami’s gore and rag-doll physics, as well as Doom’s pure, in your face demon attitude and you get the jist of what to expect from Tormentor X Punisher.
What I saw was still a relatively early build of the game, not expected until sometime next year, but Joonas has promised the likes of ridiculously big boss battles and more variety in enemy types by the time it comes out. He also told us you can expect the environment to slowly change the longer you last in the arena, remains will form walls of flesh as the body count rises, bosses can throw rubble, altering the layout and enemies will slowly loose their footing around the corpses of their peers. It’s all shaping up to be a highly addictive, yet punishing, score chaser; perfect with a group of mates and a sense of ‘Let’s Fucking Do This’, one that you should definitely keep a look out for.
Tormentor X Punisher has no official release date, but you can expect it on PC, Mac and Linux sometime in 2017 with console versions set to follow.