I’m a fan of Greek mythology. I enjoy reading, watching, or playing pretty much anything in the genre. So, when I was asked to take a look at Tauronos I happily agreed to. This is a game where I can’t really pinpoint a specific gaming genre, but “rogue like” does come to mind. However, it’s so much more than that.
I’ll be honest here. I’m not a fan of this type of game, but don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy playing Tauronos. There’s no “hack and slash” through endless mobs trying to kill you. It’s just you, your environment, and one beast that can kill you in an instant. The adrenaline starts pumping pretty early on, and it’s a good feeling. Few action games these days has me holding my breath in anticipation of death.
Tauronos has a pretty deep story, at least from what I could tell in the short time playing it. It tells the tale of a Greek hero, Theseus from what I’ve been told. He explores the Labyrinth anyone even remotely versed in the mythology knows. That’s right. Our hero is being hounded by the fabled Minotaur. However, that’s only one of his many worries. If you get caught, you die. However, there are plenty of traps strewn along the way that could hinder or even kill you.
The good news is that you can get power ups. From strength boosts to stamina regeneration, and much more, you can fight off the Minotaur better. That said, it won’t be an easy flight. You can’t attack the beast. You can only run. But beware of the aforementioned traps as they’ll slow you down or worse. Don’t get caught and you’ll move on to the next stage. And there are a lot of them.
I almost got through the first two chapters of Tauronos, and there are six total. So, I barely scratched the surface of the full game. Unfortunately, you only have a limited number of lives to get through and there’s no continue if you use them all up. Thankfully, there are 1-ups you can get through entering secret passages, but it still doesn’t seem like enough. Each stage is pretty hard, even on the easy mode I was playing with.
Here’s the thing. The gameplay is a bit addictive, even for someone like myself who doesn’t normally like this sort of thing. I found myself wanting to play “just one more” stage. It’s frustrating that I only have a limited number of lives as I’d love to get to the end. Unfortunately, I suck at titles like Tauronos. Being able to start at any stage you’ve cleared would have gone a long way to ease the pain of having to start a new game each time.
That said, what really had me hooked on Tauronos is the story. There’s more to this than just outrunning and outsmarting a giant bull dude. If you pay attention to the hero’s story you’ll find that this is also about self reflection and what it means to be who you are. “Dare you know yourself” is a tagline I was told, and it most certainly fits here. Just to know what happens by the end makes me want to trudge through every level to get to the credits. It’s rare to see a game like this offered.
In all, Tauronos has the makings of a good indie game. If you’re a fan of “rogue likes” that don’t focus on combat but rather internal reflection, then this one might be for you. Even if you’re not, there’s something here to enjoy. I just wish there were unlimited lives to see it all.