Torchlight Review


The fact that Torchlight plays a lot like the Diablo games is no coincidence; the designers behind Torchlight were also the creative minds behind Diablo and Diablo II. The Diablo games certainly inspired a lot of clones that paled in comparison to the originals, but Torchlight comes from the people that practically invented the action-RPG genre and it shows. Torchlight not only encompasses everything that makes action-RPGs fun, it streamlines the whole package so that you can spend most of your time doing what you love to do best: killing monsters and collecting loot. And to top it all off, the game is only $20, can run on a system that's several years old, and comes with a free level editing tool. I could just end the review at this point, letting you know that if there is any inkling of fondness for action-RPGs in your heart then you should just buy this game and spend tonight in Torchlight's dungeons staying up way past your bedtime. However, I know that gamers tend to be the curious sort when it comes to knowing what they're getting themselves into and that developers love to read about what people liked about their games, so let's dig into it a little deeper...

Torchlight takes place in the town of the same name - a mining boom town sitting on a rich reserve of Ember. Ember is an element that can power magic and is thus highly sought after, but it's quickly becoming apparent to the citizens of Torchlight that it has a mysterious corrupting influence on those who come near it. Adding to Torchlight's woes is the fact that their mine has broken through to a large series of mines that go deep within the ground, and are teeming with all manner of monsters and evil creatures. The people of the town are now forced to stay out of the mines, and are in desperate need of adventurers to clear out the mines, investigate what is going on down there, and to take on the tasks they need to accomplish down below but can't do so because of the monsters. Not too surprisingly you're an adventure who has just made his/her way to Torchlight, and motivated by a mix of altruism and greed you begin to help the townspeople with their problems...

As for the type of adventurer you are, you have three choices at the start of the game: Destroyer (melee warrior), Vanquisher (ranged thief), and Alchemist (petmaster battle mage). You may be a bit disappointed that you can't select the sex of your character (the Vanquisher is female, the other classes male) or do anything about their looks, but the look of your character changes to reflect the gear currently equipped and so it will be changing often enough throughout the course of the game. When creating your character you'll be able to choose his/her name and whether his/her companion pet is a cat or a dog. Once that's all done you're off to the town of Torchlight...

The game eschews Diablo's dark gothic look for one that's closer to that of World of Warcraft, with cartoon-like graphics with vivid colors. Monsters have a cartoon monster look to them as well, and many are intentionally more humorous than they are scary. The world of Torchlight has an almost Steampunk meets medieval fantasy quality to it, with guns and robots occupying the world alongside broadswords and orcs. It all gives the game a great look and atmosphere, and certainly gives the game a lot of character.