Halls of Torment First Impressions: Diablo Survivors


Halls of Torment

By: Jason Siu


4 min read

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Halls of Torment is a fantastic "survivors-like" game

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Try as I might, I just can’t seem to get myself to enjoy Diablo IV like I’ve enjoyed its predecessors. There’s just too many issues with the game to keep me engaged, and worst of all, I just can’t seem to have fun with it. In fact, I spent more time and had more fun playing Diablo III’s Season 28 with its Altar of Rites than I did with Diablo IV. But you know what else I’ve had more fun playing? This $4.99 game called Halls of Torment that’s still in Early Access.

It’s another entry in the ever-growing “survivors-like” genre, thanks to the surprising success of Vampire Survivors last year. While it’s clearly not a full-blown action RPG like Diablo IV, Halls of Torment features the aesthetics of the original Diablo game, along with its music and sound effects. The environment, graphics, and even the starting classes hearken back to a time when things were simpler. But it’s not pure nostalgia at work here, Halls of Torment takes what Vampire Survivors made fun and adds a compelling layer of depth to the formula.

If you don’t know what a survivors-like game is, imagine a bullet-hell type experience, except you only have to control the character. The game takes command of attacking and aiming for you, if you choose to in the case of Halls of Torment, so you only have to focus at avoiding monsters. As you kill enemies, you’ll get experience and level, which unlocks upgrades you choose. Essentially, each run is different because of how you decide to build your character and what perks you’ve unlocked from previous attempts.

There are pieces of gear you can actually equip onto your character for bonuses

There are pieces of gear that you can equip onto your character for bonuses

I’ve only managed to log eight hours in Halls of Torment so far, most of it in a day, but I’ve already had more fun playing it than I did in my 35 to 40 hours in Diablo IV. Considering this game completely lacks any sort of plot or storyline, I don’t know if it says more about Halls of Torment or the current state of Diablo IV. But if you enjoy everything Vampire Survivors has to offer, you’ll absolutely love Halls of Torment. The game features at least three stages, 7 characters, 11 abilities, a dozen unique bosses, 30 unique monsters, 14 blessings, and over 150 quests to complete.

Leaning more into its RPG influences, Halls of Torment does have equipment for your character. There’s also a clever system where once you obtain a piece of equipment, you can “retrieve” it through a well, and after paying some gold you’ll be able to start each run with that piece of equipment. It’s just another layer of upgrades that make each subsequent run easier, increasing your chance of success in surviving 30 minutes for a complete run.

The Scroll of Mastery are essentially passive skills that help enhance your damage

These abilities are essentially passive skills that help enhance your damage

Admittedly, I haven’t managed to do a complete run yet, since I’m still busy experimenting with the three classes I have access to and all the different skills and level up perks that are available. Unlike Vampire Survivors, you do have options in Halls of Torment to auto aim and auto attack. I found it most comfortable to have it auto attack, but I prefer having control over aiming. But like Vampire Survivors, you don’t have to do a “successful” run to unlock perks to make future journeys a lot easier.

You’ll gather gold throughout your playthroughs, which allows you to enhance your starting stats. I’m sure there are more things to unlock throughout the game, but I haven’t gotten that deep into it just yet. I’m also avoiding everything on the internet about it, as I believe a lot of the fun and enjoyment in these survivors-like games is discovering those hidden quests.

Halls of Torment's Elites actually have mechanics, making it a lot more interactive than being just a giant bullet sponge

Halls of Torment’s Elites actually have mechanics, making it a lot more interactive than just being a giant bullet sponge

My favorite part of Halls of Torment are the Elites that spawn at timed intervals. These elites are more than just being giant bullet sponges with a huge pool of hit points. Instead, they actually have mechanics you’ll have to figure out and avoid. It’s such a simple feature, but it adds a lot of depth to an otherwise simple game. The survivors-like formula is very basic at its core, so these additions in Halls of Torment are welcomed. It does ramp up difficulty quite a bit when you compare it to other entries in the genre, but it’s still so satisfying to play.

If you own a Steam Deck, it runs well on the handheld system and is arguably a perfect game for it. Again, each playthrough maxes out at 30 minutes, if you manage to survive that long, so each run won’t take up a lot of your time. But if you’re like me, you’ll have a hard time stopping at just one, or two, or even five runs. You’ll keep wanting to unlock more upgrades and enhancements. Currently, Halls of Torment is on sale during the Steam Summer Sale at $3.99, but if you’re still unsure, there’s a demo you can check out.

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With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of Tunerzine.com and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

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