The most exciting thing about Halls of Torment is that the action rogue-like genre finally has a real alternative to Vampire Survivors. While Halls of Torment will likely never come close to the success of Vampire Survivors, the fact that we have a game that is inspired by Vampire Survivors without being a near complete 1-for-1 copy of the former gives me hope that the genre will expand in future to encompass multiple variations of the formula.
When looking at the FPS genre, there are clear leaders (Call of Duty, Apex Legends, Battlefield, etc.). Still, there are also clear differences between many of the biggest games in the genre, despite all sharing similar mechanics important to the genre.
While all action rogue-like games need to offer players some way to level, enemies to kill, and a strong progression system, I feel the genre is mature enough to “let go of mummy’s hand”, and it’s time developers start getting more creative and stop playing safe.
While a clone of Vampire Survivors and its very enjoyable formula may get a few sales, to find true success, developers will need to find a way to not only compete with Vampire Survivors but offer a product that is demonstrably better, cheaper or simply offers something that Vampire Surivors does not.
I have played plenty of action rogue-like games, and I often ask myself variations of the same question: “Why play this game when Vampire Survivors exists, offers more content, and has a far greater chance of being updated for many years to come?”
This is a question I Do not need to ask myself when playing, say, Destiny 2, Apex Legends, Battlefield 2042 or Call of Duty, as while all of these titles are first-person shooters, they all offer something unique that makes them worth playing, despite the success and widespread appeal of their rivals.
While I can see what the developer was looking to achieve, pre-rendered 3D/2.5D visuals are one of the worst aesthetics in the history of gaming. Honestly, I would much prefer quality pixel art over what we currently have.
This, however, is very much a matter of personal taste, and perhaps you will not be put off by action Halls of Torment’s simplistic and often ugly visuals in the way that I am.
That being said, I still enjoy Halls of Torment and will continue to play it, even if I find its visuals unattractive and, at times, distractingly bad.
Halls of Torment combines traditional bullet hell mechanics with the core mechanics of the action rogue-like genre, and it is certainly a new take on the action rogue-like genre and a gamble that paid off; however, as a fan of both genres, I cannot help but feel that I would prefer Halls of Torment as either a full-fledged bullet hell or action rogue-like title despite the hybrids mechanics making Halls of Torment better game overall, and one that I will be returning to often.
I must clarify that this is unlikely how the average gamer will feel about this; as to someone who only played one genre or the other, the addition of bullet hell/action rogue-like mechanics will be a welcome change and help to keep gameplay engaging and ultimately thanks to Halls of Torment robust progression system, very rewarding.
Action Rogue-like games live or die by their progression system, and progression is one area in which Halls of Torment excels; while it’s not as robust as the one found in Vampire Survivors, Halls of Torment quest-based progression system sets before players a wide selection of challenging, but ultimately achievable objectives to gauge their progress as well as unlock new characters, items, and most importantly abilities, in addition to a more traditional gold-based upgrade system that allows players to increase the base stats of every playable character.
While this system is nothing groundbreaking, it works perfectly and is one earmark of a very high-quality action rogue-like game, with many low-budget titles forgoing progression entirely or implementing a bare-bones system that somehow manages to make progression feel more like a chore than a reward.
Halls of Torment is priced very competitively for the amount of content currently in-game, and considering that it is still in early access and new maps, heroes, monsters, and abilities will be added in time, I feel the developers have priced their title very fairly, and it is unlikely to struggle to sell through, despite the widespread appeal of Vampire Surivors, and its near total dominance of the genre.
Halls of Torment offers rock-solid performance, and I never saw FPS dip below 144 FPS when running at 1080p, no matter how many enemies or projectiles were on screen. And as you can imagine, there was an awful lot at times.
While this could be attributed to the simplistic pre-rendered aesthetic, I feel that would be unfairly taking credit away from the developers, who have done an excellent job of optimising Halls of Torment despite still being in early access.
Halls of Torment is a action rogue-like video game developed and published by Chasing Carrots, it was released on 24 May 2023 and retails for $4.99.
Halls of Torment is available exclusively on PC.
The following peripherals are officially supported:
Halls of Torment is unrated and contains the following:
Halls of Torment is an excellent Action rogue-like title; however, I would not recommend purchasing it without watching some gameplay, as while its unique mechanics help it stand out in a genre that is dominated by Vampire Survivor clones, those very same mechanics may make Halls of Torment unpalatable to fans of action rogue-like games who prefer area-of-effect or idle builds.
Overall, Halls of Torment is an excellent and, most importantly, unique game in a genre dominated by thematically similar and often mechanically identical titles.