Tauronos – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Indie
Developer: conradproteus, cavalie.ro, S.C. 16 BIT NIGHTS S.R.L.
Publisher: S.C. 16 BIT NIGHTS S.R.L.
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Tauronos – Review

Site Score
7.3
Good: easy to learn
Bad: hitbox issues, some minor audio glitches
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Tauronos is based on the myth where Daedalus designs a maze for the king of Knossos to contain a vile creature within. It’s basically a prison with no hope of getting out alive, seeing as you’ll never have any chance of finding the exit, nor are you capable of escaping the half man half bull named the Minotaur that resides in the bowels of the labyrinth. That one person that’s stuck in the maze now is you, and you’ll have to find a way out of it. Good ole times in ancient Greece, where everything is just fun and games.

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Story

You are like Theseus, someone who hopes to find the centre of the maze and find a way to escape the half man/half bull madness that’s chasing him. That should be enough motivation for you to want to get out of there. That doesn’t mean that the character is just a bunch of pixels running around with merely a singular mind-set. The character has a monologue that describes his mood or his physical state. Sometimes he’ll even toss what he’s noticing around the environment. Nothing too hand-holdy, but enough to make  you believe the character you are playing as is a cognitive being, instead of a bunch of ones and zeroes, under your control. It’s rather nicely done, and it adds to the oppressive atmosphere Tauronos is aiming for. Like how the character slowly descends into madness with every staircase he successfully reaches.

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Graphics

The game is going for a retro arcade feeling when it comes to its design. The pixel art adds to the experience and it somehow breathes the whole ancient Greek theme. There are however some issues with the hit detection, there are times where obstacles will hit you and then there are times where it looks like they are going to hit you and you’re fine. It would be fine, but in a game that’s as unforgiving as this, having hitbox issues really isn’t a minor detail to overlook. Tauronos starts off as a ‘just brown’ game, but adds different colours into the mix as you progress. It might look samey in the beginning, but it pays off to keep going.

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Sound

What Tauronos holds up its sleeve as a surprise is voice acting. The protagonist is fully voiced. This makes the atmosphere of the game even more oppressive when you think about the fact that he’s completely alone and so lonely that you can almost hear his mutterings echoing off the walls. The sound of the Minotaur as he closes in is also ominous and makes you want to get out of the maze as fast as possible. The music is both calming when you are out and about solving puzzles and clearing rubble, but when you are in danger, Tauronos has no problem conveying it to you. You’ll know quite well when it’s time to run and put as much distance between you and the Minotaur. There were some audio glitches where the dropping of rocks sounded off, and the speakers might blow out at any second.

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Gameplay

Tauronos is an adventure game where you are to find a way into the heart of the maze. The controls are really easy. There’s the W,A,S,D for control over your character, and the character looks in the direction of the mouse. E is for interacting with items, rubble and levers. Shift makes it possible for you to run. The object of every part in a chapter, of which Tauronos contains six, is to get to the stairs on the level. Things start off easy with you just being able to walk to the stairs without even the smallest of hitches. Soon though you’ll have spike traps to avoid, swinging wrecking balls ready to turn your face into mulch and arrow traps which’ll turn you into a porcupine. Mix in a Minotaur from whom you can only run and not defeat and you’ll be sweating bullets with the task of escaping.

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Tauronos has traps, but that doesn’t make it so you are bound to walk into them, if you pay attention to the environment you’ll find out a way to dodge the arrows, spikes or even what the pressure plates are that’ll arm traps. As you progress, and explore, which is often the opposite of what you want to do with an invincible monstrosity on your heels, you’ll unlock power-ups that’ll carry over between levels. These will make you run faster, help you clear out rubble faster and even give you extra lives. There is however the choice you have to make between hunting for them, and potentially dying or just making a bee line for the exit. The reason why it’s such a difficult choice is because of the permadeath mechanic. It’s not something that rewards exploration if you know that dying 10 times means you lose all your progress. Then again having power-ups carry over between levels means you do have to make players conscious about their vulnerability and making it more tense when choosing between exploring or fleeing.

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If you do manage to find yourself at the heart of the maze, you’ll be happy to find that’s not where the fun stops, as Tauronos has a level editor, for your amusement in watching other people run around like headless chickens avoiding death traps and a bovine creature.

Conclusion

When it comes to tension and voice acting, Tauronos has it beat. The controls are easy and the main goal is also kept simple, it’s when the game starts combining traps and its mazelike environment that it really shines, if you are looking for something that is easy to learn but takes effort to get the maximum out of, then this game is something for you. If  you aren’t a fan of permadeath, then best keep on looking for another game.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Tauronos - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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