Cornerstone: the Song of Tyrim quickly descends into mindless hack-and-slash monotony with little reward.

Game review: Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim – a boring and bloody Zelda clone

A blatant rip-off of The Legend of Zelda, this disappointing game fails to reach the heights of that pioneering franchise. Instead, it quickly becomes a senseless bloodbath

Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim

Overflow Games

2/5 stars

When it comes to classic games, The Legend of Zelda pretty much takes the cake. Many would argue that some plumber’s side-scrolling, mushroom-eating adventures laid much of the groundwork, but no other game before it had explored the vast possibilities of a virtual world: fantasy realms, fascinating characters and massive maps to explore. It’s of little surprise that even to this day, developers are trying and failing to recreate the series’ magic.

Just look at Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim, a blatant rip-off of the pioneering franchise, with a few touches of the more modern Dark Souls thrown in. Available for the PC, Mac and Linux, the third-person game is generally one of crafting, combat and dungeons. Gamers take on Tyrim, a Viking boy on a quest to find and save a group of warriors who’ve gone missing from his village.

You’re given the ability to journey to various neighbouring islands and, to be fair, the game starts off decently, with the freedom to explore and create, and initially involving tasks pulling you into this Zelda-like world. It’s only once you start to truly get involved, each environment and conversation harking back to the Wind Waker’s adventures, that it all starts to fall apart.

A scene from Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim.

Honestly, Dark Souls is a terribly hard game to replicate – it’s not all about dungeons and difficult challenges; the series has mastered its control, combat and countering systems, and Cornerstone largely ignores those aspects. It’s often a struggle to move Tyrim at all, and without having to suffer the consequence of death, the game quickly descends into mindless hack-and-slash monotony with little reward.

As the game progresses and you finally find a bit of adventure amid the bloodbath, what do they do? They put a bunch of obstacles in your way, thus ruining the exploration aspect that was marginally fun during the initial hours. Smart move, guys.

Cornerstone started its life as a Kickstarter project, and we can imagine the sneaky coffee-shop meeting before they unleashed it on unsuspecting fans: “Let’s slap together two much-loved franchises, one classic and one modern, give little thought to the actual gameplay and watch the cash roll in.” Week after week, I make an effort to champion indie games, but sometimes, it’s a matter of naming and shaming.