I didn’t have a ton of context going into
Torchlight. I knew that its development was headed up by action RPG vets that had worked
on Diablo and Fate. To be honest, I’ve barely played those games, but I did know that they
were fun and critically acclaimed, so I had an inkling of how Torchlight should turn out.
Fortunately, Torchlight lived up to those expectations.
Torchlight is, first and foremost, addicting, as most games of the genre are. The dungeon
layout, side quests, and loot and leveling systems all contribute to this addicting nature.
The simple story, despite some interesting plot points, isn’t what drives you forward.
No, it’s the loot. If you’ve played the previously mentioned Diablo and Fate, you’ll know what
to expect with Torchlight. The point-and-click action plays like much of its inspiration,
and that’s great. Torchlight may be derivative, but it’s so fun that it’s hard to fault it
for that. And while Torchlight is inherently all about that gameplay fix, its aesthetic,
environments, and enemy designs do enough to set itself apart visually.
Upon selecting one of the three classes, you set out to save Torchlight, a town that has
some major subterranean problems. As you can probably see, I chose to play as the general
hack and slash class, the Destroyer. In addition to the Destroyer, the game features a mage
class in the form of the Alchemist, and a rogue class in the form of the Vanquisher.
And, of course, I chose a dog over a cat for my pet, because, ya know, dogs are unquestionably
better. In any event, the pet system of Torchlight serves to add an interesting dynamic into
the formula. Fish can transform your pet into a special creature for a short time, and your
pet fights alongside you, armed with spells and stat-boosting jewelry. And while that’s
certainly awesome, the ability to send your pet out of the dungeon to a vendor is a convenient
and smart feature when your pack is stuffed with items that serve better when translated
into gold. Because, again, this game is all about the loot.
While crushing, shooting, and incinerating is incredibly fun in the moment, the promise
of eventually better equipment gives Torchlight its powerful draw. Optional dungeons and sidequests
fuel this materialistic desire, and the feeling of equipping that immensely better mace or
helmet is quite satisfying. The leveling system and new abilities that come with it also serve
to change the gameplay up enough to combat the repetition, because Torchlight certainly
is repetitive. But its loot-focused nature lessens any negative effects of whaling on
giant rats, spiders, and the undead for hours. Ultimately, Torchlight is just fun. It’s an
enjoyable crawl through the dungeons for hours, and it never really ends. Upon completing
the game, an infinite dungeon is unlocked, with scalable enemies and numerous sidequests
to give you the action RPG fix you need long after the main game is completed.
Just make sure that Torchlight doesn’t turn your gaming area of choice into a dungeon.
Go outside every once in a while.