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E3 2013: Hands-On With TorqueL


Marcus Estrada

Something I“ve always found interesting about video games is how they have graduated from complex titles utilizing only a few buttons to games that now use full gamepads or a great deal of keyboard buttons. All the same, many games do not have the same level of difficulty as those which were born in gaming“s heydey.

 

I say all this because TorqueL is the kind of game that is incredibly difficult by utilizing only four buttons and an analog stick. With such simplicity it is easy to believe a game will be a breeze, but the titles of gaming's past reveal that this is often far from the truth. Thankfully, the difficulty present here is fun rather than the kind that will make players tear their hair out in frustrated anguish.

 

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In the game, you are a little man with a top hat wedged inside a cube. You“re presented with levels that have various obstacles in them. On the first of the demo, there was lava in the middle of the area, as well as some floating cubes. All that I had to do was make it from the bottom of the screen to the exit on the top. Simple enough, until realizing that TorqueL doesn“t utilize normal platforming mechanics.

 

The cube the player resides in has four different colored sides. Each side color corresponds to one of the colors on the Xbox 360 gamepad. Although it's possible to use a keyboard, it makes more sense to use a 360 controller due to the colors. You can roll left or right in the cube but the only way to get to the goal is to make use of the square faces. By pressing one of the face buttons on the 360 controller a long rectangle pushes out from the side. For example, if you have the box sitting still with the red face facing downward, pressing the red B button causes the box to be propelled up via an extruded face.

 

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If you can understand what I“m saying then it should be easy to recognize the great deal of mechanical fun and trouble this introduces into games. If you want to safely fly over a lava pit you have to build up speed by rolling then press the proper face button to get lifted off the ground in the right direction. Although I am pretty familiar with the 360 controller, I often found myself blanking on which button was the right color when the cube was barreling around on the ground or in the air.

 

With such a simple concept, I found myself struggling but laughing over my sheer ineptitude to barely progress on the level. It“s games where the control is so simple and exact that can pull you in. It definitely did so for me which is why it really deserves some more attention. As it stands right now, the game is not done, but the ideas behind it are already solid.

 

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The only thing that could be improved so far is the graphics but that“s a small complaint as you hardly need fancy graphics for this kind of thing. The game is still being actively developed and is sitting on Steam Greenlight if you“re interested in upvoting it. Those who want a taste for what I played at E3 can now access it via Playism. If you“ve got some free time (and a 360 controller you can use on PC) then definitely give TorqueL a spin.

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