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A very story-driven mix of classic adventure and even platforming elements with a message about the horrors of war
While most people are usually eager to load up the latest games and just be able to feel the world around them melt away as they enjoy the action or excitement, there are absolutely games intended to move you in the opposite direction. Whether the stories they tell are about more complex emotional problems, family issues, or bigger-picture events filled with adversity, games can be an excellent vehicle for putting players into situations and circumstances they would never otherwise experience. Torn Away, set in Russia at the point Germany invaded them in World War 2, is one such title.Playing the part of Anya, a 10 year old girl, you’ll go on a pretty harrowing adventure that sees her taken away from her home and put in a labor camp. After a few grueling months she’s able to escape, and for the most part that’s where you’ll be pulled into her struggles to survive and make her way back home. What’s interesting, and a pretty big risk on the part of the developers, is how it moves through a variety of play styles over the course of its handful of hours. Sometimes playing more like a classic adventure, sometimes having platforming elements, sometimes trying to be stealthy, and even spending some time in first-person perspective, at a minimum you couldn’t ask for more in terms of variety.Of course, with so many different styles as well as numerous mini games, not everything feels as polished and depending on your specific tastes not everything may have the same base appeal. I do think that variety also helps make you better identify with her struggles and her journey though, making you an active participant in multiple aspects of what she’s going through on the way.Keeping in mind the fact that conflict, war, and tragedy are still very active concerns today, there’s a certain timeliness to being able to take in an experience like this. Granted, the circumstances won’t likely align well in terms of specifics, but the ability to see such world events unfold through more innocent eyes can still be effective. While many may choose to stick to games that help their minds wander away from current tragedies in the world, Torn Away makes a solid case for helping you to better identify with them, even if indirectly.
Justin Nation, Score:
Nindie Choice! [8.2]