Title: Torn
Platform: PC – it’s a text based MMO
Developer: Joe Chedburn
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Remember Neopets? Like Neopets, but with less stuff to do, and you can stab people
Price: Free!
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

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I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed text based MMOs. I played Neopets for years, and I was surprised to find out that’s exactly what Torn was, albeit a tad more gritty. I sorely miss this type of game, and while Torn was a pleasant break from the usual crappy pixel games I seem to review so often, I feel it’s not quite as good as it could be.

Torn is all about crime, basically. You start out as a petty criminal, looking to rise up through the ranks and become the ultimate criminal in Torn City. It’s an interesting medium to set this MMO in, because there’s always going to be a lot of text. You’re not relying on graphics, and as a result, aren’t competing to make it look like the prettiest game of 2016.

Everything involves reading and clicking buttons – join the gym, buff your stats, get a job, attend an education class… there’s not a whole lot of actual gameplay. It’s sadly a dying breed of game that’s kind of like The Sims, in a way; a life simulation, but in 2D. And maybe not quite as sanitised.

Unfortunately, Torn runs on an energy meter. You’ve got your standard stuff like Happiness, Energy, Life, and then an interesting mechanic called Nerve. This is the one that allows you to commit crimes, and therefore boost your level and gain stats, earning some money along the way. I suppose this stops players burning out on the game too quickly, but I’ve become accustomed to this kind of thing being a time sink.

You’re supposed to grind for hours, and I like to do that on my own terms. Plus, a lot of the stuff seems to rely on you joining factions, which isn’t entirely single player friendly; yes, that does somewhat contradict the idea of an MMO, I realise it’s meant to be social, but I don’t entirely like the idea of relying a lot on other players, especially when I’m trying to build a character on my own. I don’t really want to be sponsored by someone, I want to play around and earn money in a few different ways. The only thing I really did appreciate was being able to attack other players in a PvP style, but by clicking different body parts and landing hits. It’s interesting and fun, and most importantly, works with the medium.


This is the main issue I have with Torn – everything is extremely long haul. The jobs only give you money once a day, you have to wait five or so hours before your Nerve is all the way filled before you can try earning more money, and the Education classes to improve your stats last full days, as opposed to a few hours. My Psychology class is taking five days for a handful of skill points, so what do I do in the meantime, if my Energy and other stats are almost depleted? Apparently the idea is to go and join a faction, where they sponsor you to take on more work through them, which isn’t really something you can do alone. If they don’t want to hire you – or perhaps the leader of the faction has gone away for the weekend so can’t reply to posts – what do you do in the meantime? Once your energy bars deplete, there’s nothing to do.

It also doesn’t have much of a range in terms of what you’re doing. It’s all crime related, which is a given, but the main objective of the game is apparently “be the best.” Have the nicest house, have the best weapons, be the best crime boss… and that’s it. It seems a shame there’s not a lot in the way of storyline missions, it’s just total free roam, because I totally could have gotten more into Torn. It has a thriving player base and has gone through a reboot of sorts, all of which could have been really good things, but ultimately, it isn’t for me. Something more substantially fleshed out, though? That’s a definite maybe.

If you want to try it out for yourself, go here!


The Good

  • Great idea
  • Fresh genre for a dying platform
  • Has potential

The Bad

  • Courses running in real time, which is up to a week
  • Pretty much can’t play alone
  • You have to be in it for the long haul to actually get anywhere


Family Focus

While this game doesn’t have a rating per se, it’s all about shooting people and committing crimes to rise up in the gang world. I’d probably say 15+, but use your discretion; after all, you’re only reading descriptions of blood and stabbings…


This review is based on a code supplied by the developer. For the purposes of the review, we received an in-game of $10k TCD, AK47 + Ammo, and 31 days donator status