Review – Serious Sam: Tormental

Serious Sam is a franchise I should have been a fan of. I love Doom, I love Quake, I love almost every single dumb shooter out there. Yet the last time I truly enjoyed a game in the franchise was way back in 2017, with the release of Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour, a retro-styled twin-stick shooter with not a lot of similarities to the first-person shooters that made the franchise so famous. After the release of the disappointing Serious Sam 4, its console counterparts, and the average-at-best Serious Sam collection on Switch, I was ready to give up on it altogether. It would take another indie twin-stick shooter, Serious Sam: Tormental, to reignite my interest for the franchise. Maybe they should start to solely focus on this particular gameplay style. Just sayin’…

Serious Sam: Tormental Prepare to Die

…prepare to die.

To sum up, Serious Sam: Tormental is actually quite simple. It’s what you get when you want to mix the camp and insanity of that franchise with the hottest new trend in the indie scene: twin-stick shooter roguelites. It’s the Hades or the Dandy Ace of its franchise. Venture through procedurally-generated, top-down levels where you’re told to blast everything in sight until you reach a boss by the end of the maze. Kill it, go to the next area, all while collecting power-ups, visiting shops, and (most likely) dying. Keep leveling up with every new death in order to improve your stats for the next run. It’s a tried and true formula at this point.

In fact, it almost feels too “generic”. There are dozens upon dozens of similar games out in the indie market. I can’t even blame the devs themselves; the game was first released in early access almost three years ago. They had a vision, they worked hard on it, but they just so happened to take a bit too long to release it in a 1.0 state… right after the launch of the aforementioned roguelite gems that are currently the top of everyone’s mind in this ultra saturated genre. I’m mentioning this because that’s actually Serious Sam: Tormental‘s main flaw, it being yet another roguelite shooter. There is very little to complain in terms of its design and performance, which is a good thing.

Serious Sam: Tormental Bosses

Boss battles aren’t THAT hard, especially when compared to other roguelite shooters. Fine by me.

Sure, nothing in it is jaw-dropping, but at the very least it feels pretty competent. I did appreciate its focus on shooting left and right without ever losing your momentum. Sam has two weapons at his disposal at any given time. One of them is a pistol, with infinite ammo and no reloading. The other one is a “Serious Weapon”, which packs a much larger punch (it can even break walls), but at the cost of slow recharging times and having to look for ammunition throughout the level. Combine it with the wide assortment of passive and active power-ups, and there is quite a lot of room for experimentation.


Every enemy is so adorable in this game. Can’t believe it’s the same franchise that regurgitated Serious Sam 4 two years ago.

One of the most noteworthy aspects about Serious Sam: Tormental is its presentation. This will be a bit controversial to some, because this is the… cutest… Serious Sam has ever looked. Yep, it’s cartoonish, colorful, and devoid of blood and gore. I didn’t mind this cute art style at all, as everything was well-animated and pleasing to look at. Sure, I would have liked a bit more variety in the level design, but it was good for the most part. I would have also appreciated more one-liners, as the game doesn’t feature as much voice acting as you would imagine from a Serious Sam game. With that being said, this is a clear case of quality over quantity: Sam doesn’t spout out that many one-liners, but when he does, they do land.


The pun game is delicious in Serious Sam: Tormental.

Serious Sam: Tormental is not mind-blowing, but it’s way more fun than it looks like at first glance. In fact, its main issue is the fact that it’s yet another indie roguelite in an increasingly saturated market, not any technical or design flaw of its own. Furthermore, it’s probably the best Serious Sam game released in years, now that I’m thinking about it. If you’re a fan of the franchise, this will most certainly please you. It’s infinitely better than the utterly disappointing Serious Sam 4, that’s for sure.


Graphics: 7.0

It’s cute. Not overly detailed, not ultraviolent, just cute. It also runs decently enough.

Gameplay: 8.0

Your standard twin-stick (or mouse + keyboard) control scheme, with responsive aiming and interesting power-ups. It’s not very inventive, and the inclusion of a jumping mechanic was absolutely unnecessary, but it gets the job done with honors.

Sound: 7.0

Not as many one-liners as you would expect from a Serious Sam game, but they are funnier than anything Sam spouted in his last mainline game. The soundtrack is just decent at best.

Fun Factor: 7.5

It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s way more fun than it looks like at first glance. In fact, its main issue is the fact that it’s yet another indie roguelite in an increasingly saturated market, not any technical or design flaw of its own.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Serious Sam: Tormental is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Serious Sam: Tormental was provided by the publisher.