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Jan 24, 2011

Torchlight Review

Lights Off
5 Incredible
Retails for: $19.99
We Recommend: $19.99
  • Developer: Runic Games
  • Publisher: Runic Games
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Released: Oct 27, 2009
  • Platform: Windows
  • Reviewed: Windows

It’s been some time since Torchlight was released, and yet I am STILL coming back to this game using different classes, ratcheting up to harder difficulties, and using different skill trees.

Torchlight is created by Runic Games. The team contains some of the original creators of Diablo from that company that has something to do with a very windy and heavy snow storm. Once you play the demo of Torchlight you’ll see where it’s inspirations and mechanics derive from. This game takes place in the one-town, one-dungeon model that we saw in Diablo. The town is called Torchlight, and the little mining town has some issues with the magical element known as Ember. It has some powerful magical abilities to inject it’s magic into people and items. The town itself is a sanctuary to the horrors you uncover once you enter the Dungeon at Level 1.

Starting the game takes only about 30 seconds. You’ll create a character from 3 Classes: The Vanquisher (female assassin), The Alchemist (male wizard), and The Destroyer (male warrior). Each character has unique skills, skill trees, and spells. Each class can wear any type of armor or carry any weapon as long as carries the requirement to do so. You’ll pick a name for yourself and one of three pets you can have with you. The Pets are: Lynx (Cat), Wolf (Dog), and Ferret [recently in boxed copies of Torchlight and via mods]. The pets have their own inventory, spell slots, and can run to the vendors while you’re in a dungeon to sell your garbage loot. Once you’ve then named your pet, you click START and you’re in the town of Torchlight and immediately thrown into the story.

The story is minimal, but enough to get you into it for the haul. The Dungeons change tile sets every 5 floors and are topped off with a boss battle. The tile sets vary from mines, caves, jungles, prisons, and so on. Each tile set provides a varied and drastic difference as you progress. The final battle occurs on Dungeon Level 35. This will take you about 10-15 hours to get to, depending on whether or not you take on Side Quests. Side Quests are available in the town, allowing you to defeat a certain special boss at a certain level. Once completed, you can teleport back with a scroll/spell or way point to collect. You’ll gain a special item, XP, and some Fame. With each level of Fame, you’ll gain an extra experience point. When you level up, you’ll be able to put points into Dexterity, Strength, Magic, and Defense. Once the main story is complete, you’ll have access to 2 new people in Torchlight to give you quests and be able to enter the Infinite Dungeon.

The graphics for Torchlight are simple, yet effective. The chunky art style is similar to World of Warcraft where the characters and other models are chunky. Though the game is not for kids, plenty of gore and blood to be seen and enjoyable. The game is amazingly scalable, you can check a box to play it on a Netbook and still get great enjoyment out of it. For me, I was able to max Torchlight with full settings and have absolutely no stutter with all the chaos and particle effects going on. Sound goes a long way here as it has the classic Diablo composer Matt Uelmen. The sound effects are great, and sound like you’d expect them to. Controls are classic keyboard and mouse; the mouse doing the killing, looting, and moving while the keyboard is for the hot-keys.

If you love games where you click and loot – you will love this game. The art style I can’t recommend this game more. I purchased the game full price $19.99 and cannot help but feel I didn’t pay enough for it. If you grab the demo on Steam, your save game will carry over WHEN you purchase the full version. And trust me, you will.