When a dark cult abducts his sibling, there’s nothing else Killian can do but to comply with their demands. In order to save his sister he travels to the mysterious island of Esha - a place forgotten by even gods themselves, where an unspeakable ritual is about to take place. Theatre Of Sorrows is a Lovecraftian-inspired roguelite where it’s up to Killian to journey through Esha and dive into dark secrets of its inhabitants; lead Killian through the unknown with only a handful of hints that might lead him to a dangerous discovery about things that should have been consigned to oblivion.

The Good

Theatre Of Sorrows’ art style perfectly conveys the creepy unsettling feeling that comes with the island of Esha. While Killian’s depiction is of a clean and well presented man, everything around him is dark and dirty, portrayed beautifully with a very manic, scratchy shading style.

The game divides its gameplay nicely into small bite-sized pieces. Each main objective can be completed within 10-15 minutes, giving it that “just one more run” feeling that roguelites thrive on.

TL;DR

  • Beautifully creepy art style
  • Quick and snappy gameplay

The Bad

Theatre Of Sorrows’ tutorials are misguided. While the game will go into full detail on how to navigate the menus and the world map, it refuses to elaborate on how to actually play the game. It took four runs for me to figure out what I was meant to be doing to progress.

A major aspect of Theatre Of Sorrows’ gameplay is crafting and resource management. However, with the vast amount of things you need to craft to progress and the player’s lack of inventory space throughout, it makes searching for items less of a meaningful choice and more of an annoyance.

Encountering enemies is just not fun; they are just a drain to your precious resources. At the beginning of the game, you don’t even have a way to fight back and all you can do is run (which costs you a good chunk of your stamina) but even then, running away has a chance to fail. You can eventually fend off enemies but you only learn how to do so one enemy at a time, leading to situations where you know how to fight zombies but the game will constantly assault you with spiders instead.

TL;DR

  • Unhelpful tutorials
  • Frustrating resource management
  • Unwelcomed combat

Final Score: 3/10

I can see what the developers had in mind for Theatre of Sorrows and how it could have become a great game but in execution, it ended up becoming a boring and annoying experience. I do believe this idea can be salvaged but it’d require a major overhaul and the final product would end up being unrecognisable from the original vision.

Thank you for checking out our Theatre of Sorrows Switch review, thank you to Cat-astrophe Games for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:

For more reading, check out our review of Blackwind.