Serious Sam: Tormental, or just Tormental, is an upcoming top-down shooter and rogue-lite and game developed by Gungrounds and published by Croteam Incubator. The game was made by fans of other roguelike shooters, such as Geometry Wars, Nuclear Throne, Binding of Isaac, and Enter the Gungeon. The game was made available in early access in April 2019.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Deep in an abandoned temple of Egypt lies a cursed artifact; an ancient device called the Mentaloptican, which is capable of the unthinkable. With this item in hand, Serious Sam could ultimately use it against Mental to defeat him once and for all. This may also be his only chance to dive deep into the twisted world of its mind, the Mindspace, where Sam's quest will lead him against reckless hordes of monsters that are the product of Mental’s wicked imagination.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Enemies[edit | edit source]

Weapons[edit | edit source]

  • Baseball Bat: A powerful melee weapon that can swing enemies around and has better range than the sledgehammer.
  • Bomber: A weapon that fires bombs in a similar fashion to a grenade launcher. Useful for clearing out rooms of enemies and obstacles.
  • Boomerang: A throwable weapon that can pierce through several enemies at once. It will return back to the player once thrown, but it is vulnerable to enemy fire and explosions.
  • Bouncer: A weapon that fires a big projectile which explodes into a cluster of smaller projectiles that ricochet off walls.
  • Buddy Replicator: Fires small yellow flying buddies called Hunters that track down and fire at enemies.
  • Discs: Weapon that fires large blades that can travel at fast speeds and bounce from walls, but disperse relatively quickly.
  • Electric Shotgun: Electric weapon that can temporarily stun enemies, but has a very short range.
  • Flamethrower: A weapon that sets enemies on fire for a short period of time that also damages them. It has a short cooldown before it can be used again.
  • Freezegun: This weapon has a chance to slow down or freeze enemies upon contact. It has a slightly low damage output and ammo capacity, but useful in some situations.
  • Ghostgun: A weapon that can instantly kill nightmare enemies. The projectiles track enemies and deal a lot of damage, but can also damage the player upon contact.
  • Grenade Launcher: A weapon that fires grenades when the fire key is pressed. These grenades have limited range and explode on impact with the ground.
  • Harpoongun: A ranged weapon that uses harpoons. The harpoons impale enemies which can get them stuck in walls.
  • Machinegun: A submachine gun with a rapid fire rate, but has terrible accuracy and high spread.
  • Mini Cannon: A portable artillery weapon that fires cannonballs that can pierce through enemies.
  • Multi-crossbow: A weapon that fires 8 arrows in quick succession. The arrows can be collected after they have been fired, but not if they hit an enemy.
  • Pistol: A highly customisable handgun and the first weapon acquired in the game. Weak damage output and somewhat low rate of fire but has infinite ammo.
  • Rapid Circlefire: An automatic weapon with a high rate of fire that fires bullets in a 360 degree radius.
  • Rocket: Rocket launcher that fires unguided missiles. The missiles have a wide blast radius and deal high damage to enemies.
  • Shotgun: Pump-action shotgun with a tight spread and high damage output.
  • Sledgehammer: Melee weapon that can whack enemies at close range to deal a lot of damage and to keep them away from the player.
  • The Energy Gun: An energy pistol that deals rapid damage to enemies and shocks nearby ones. Uses HP as ammunition.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

The Vault.

Tormental is a 3D roguelite shooter. Like other roguelite games, the dungeons are randomised, so the map layout and enemy spawns are different with each playthrough. This is to give the player more of a challenge as they progress through the game. Unlike other games, there is no quicksave or autosave feature, so if the player dies, they restart at the beginning of the dungeon with the default weapons they started with. Any weapon mods or new weapons they picked up at the time, along with any keys, will also be lost.

While most games in the series are set in real-world locations, Tormental is set inside of Mental's mind. The main aim of the game is to eliminate all enemies in a dungeon while at the same time trying to survive and making progress throughout the game. The game has similar aspects to that of I Hate Running Backwards and Serious Sam's Bogus Detour, with destructive environments and the ability to dash as well as jump. Several enemies make a return in Tormental, such as the Gnaar. Another enemy, the Bombhead, is the game's equivalent to the Beheaded Kamikaze. Most enemies in the game can be several colors, such as red, green or black; red enemies use ranged attacks, which consist of firing bullets at the player, while green enemies will charge into the player to damage them, and black enemies will blow up after death.

There are two main features in Tormental: the Vault and the Mindmap. The Vault is the final area that contains many secrets and links to revealing Mental's true identity, giving the player more goals than just to "defeat the final boss". Here, they will need to beat many challenges, which rewards the player with Vault keys; items that are required for unlocking the Vault. In the Mindmap, the player can discover hidden ideas inside of Mental's mind, as well as the enemies, weapons, and items he is imagining to use in the real world.

There are four playable characters to choose from, each with their own unique ability. For example, Sam has a jump boost that can assist the player while navigating through obstacles, while Bomb has the ability to remotely detonate bombs from a distance. These abilities can either be helpful or have consequences, depending on the player's actions. To be able to play as another character, the player has to rescue them from inside the dungeons. Once they have been rescued, the player can switch to play as them at any time back in the starting area called the Frontal Lobe. Occasionally, the player can switch to another character in the further levels. In the first few levels, it starts simple, where the player can learn the basics. Overtime, as the player unlocks more content, the game becomes more complex, with new enemies, bosses, dungeon modifiers, weapons, upgrades, and characters.[1] In each run, the player can gather & combine random gun parts to construct unique powerful weapons.

When enemies are killed, they drop figments, which are the game's main form of currency. The player can use figments to purchase power-ups that aid in the player's survival or increase their weapon's usefulness. Keys also randomly appear throughout dungeons or when the player completes challenges. Keys are needed for various things, such as unlocking chests, rescuing playable characters or buying weapons.

A unique feature to the game is that the player can perform 'brutal' kills on a large enemy by dashing into them when their health becomes low. This is indicated by a flashing yellow color that surrounds the enemy. Performing a brutal kill will grant the player with a bonus of coins, ammo or keys, though sometimes several bombs will go off after performing this move, requiring the player to think quickly.

Tormental features loops, which in-game are called iterations. If the player manages to survive a run, they are sent to the Vault. Once they have left the Vault, Mental will create a new, harder iteration of Mentalspace to make things more challenging. If the player dies and goes back to the Frontal Lobe, Mental will figure he's beaten the player and make things easier again. Changes in iterations include enemies having more health, firing projectiles faster, dealing more damage, and a chance of a special 'elite' variant of an enemy being spawned. In the second iteration, it becomes even harder, with multiple waves, which spawn after a certain amount of time. This will force the player to kill enemies as quickly as possible, and avoid being overwhelmed. In the second wave, enemies can spawn anywhere, making it harder to find 'safe spots' , as the arena is constantly changing. Altogether this creates a completely different gameplay experience with lots of action and surprising events. After the third iteration, there is a chance that any enemy spawns in any area, but the chance is low enough so that the current area still feels original. The stages still remain the same, but with added randomness of various enemies from other areas.

Modes[edit | edit source]

There are two game modes to choose, which is single-player and local co-op. In co-op, players can work together to fight stronger bosses, compete or share XP gained from defeating enemies, and revive each other with ankh potions scattered throughout the levels.

Development[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam: Tormental was developed by Gungrounds, a Croatian indie game studio.[2] It was the studio's second game after Rocking Pilot, which was co-developed and published by Mad Head Games in May 2017.[3][4] Kristian Macanga and Guy Unger initially developed a game titled Spitfire or Spitfire Inferno, which they modelled after Geometry Wars. They had previously collaborated on a game for the "Indies VS PewDiePie" game jam, which was held in November 2014.[5] While exhibiting Spitfire Inferno at the Reboot InfoGamer conference in Croatia, it was acknowledged by members of Croteam, who tracked the team's progress across further events—Reboot Develop, the Slovenian Games Conference, and the Central European Games Conference—and eventually invited them to Croteam's business incubator programme.[6] The Gungrounds team grew over time, adding programmers Ivan Gabriel Juričić and Goran Tomašić, as well as artist Ana Marija Lončar, who the team met at Reboot InfoGamer 2018. Additionally, Croteam's Roman Ribarić, Andrej Smoljan and Damjan Mravunac acted as producer, sound effects artist and composer, respectively. Gungrounds used the Unity game engine since the team members were already familiar with it and because it supported multiple platforms.

As the expanded team was unhappy with Spitfire Inferno's theme, Ribarić suggested that Gungrounds shift the game to the Serious Sam universe. After choosing Mental's mind as the target setting, the game was renamed Tormental. It drew further influence from Nuclear Throne, The Binding of Isaac, Enter the Gungeon, and other Serious Sam games. Croteam's incubator programme was formally announced as Croteam Incubator in March 2018.[7] At this time, Gungrounds was based in the same Zagreb office as the five other studios in the programme. A prototype of Tormental was exhibited at the April 2018 Reboot Develop conference in Dubrovnik to attract the attention of game designer Rami Ismail, who, after extensively playing the game, gave his detailed impressions to the developers.

Tormental was due to be launched in early access on Steam in August 2018 but was delayed to allow for quality assurance and the completion of some existing features. The prototype from Reboot InfoGamer was released as freeware via Itch.io in March 2019. The early access version, now renamed Serious Sam: Tormental, was launched on 2 April 2019 for Microsoft Windows, with Croteam Incubator acting as the publisher. This version introduced John J. Dick as the voice actor for Sam.[8][9] The game was initially intended to remain in early access for 6–12 months, depending on player feedback and prospective further features. Upon the initial release, Gungrounds announced a shortened prospective period to 2–3 months, though noting that it could change based on internal milestones. The studio anticipated bringing the game to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, should the first release be successful.[10]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Various enemy sounds from Serious Sam 1 can be heard when entering the next part of a dungeon.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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