Retailing for $US19.99, Torchlight is easily among this or any holiday season's best gaming value among new releases. Far from a stocking stuffer, this is easily a game most fans would expect to pay twice as much for. The addition of the free and easy to use TorchED editor extend Torchlight to become a versatile learning tool for the most budget-strapped of aspiring game designers.
You'll barely scratch the skill tree during the initial storyline and likely be in your 30s when you defeat Ordrak, the final boss, on your first playthough. With a reported level cap of 99, there's plenty of room to grow from that point.
Phase portals like this one extend the game beyond the story.
When you get bored of your character, you'll likely want to check out how the other classes play, doubling or tripling the flavor and fun. You can also "retire" your character and pass down one enhanced heirloom item to a descendant, but you won't be able to play the retired character again.
Aside from that, dungeon crawlers define replayability with randomized, procedurally generated dungeons (purchasable as "map scrolls" from vendors), and given Torchlight's small disk requirements, this is a source of gaming fun many will return to long after you beat the scripted game.
Pros and Cons
- Capitalizes on the core of the crawler RPG: loot and levels.
- Torchlight's environments, music, and pace make it easy to forget you're playing a button-masher.
- Side quests, your pet, transmuting, gambling, and a tall, tall skill tree help keep the experience fresh.
- Click to move, with no controller support, can be a tough thing for WASD players to learn.
- More enemies isn't always more fun, and fighting through stacks of baddies occasionally makes for dull, formulaic gameplay.
- In crowded areas (and even with rimlights on), particle effects are so pervasive that they tend to totally obscure targets, leaving you clicking blindly.
More than a few of Torchlight's developers at Runic Games - the brothers Max and Erich Schaefer and composer Matt Uelman - were originals at Blizzard North on Diablo I & II. With such an explosive pedigree, we expected a high quality game built on well-established (if not extremely innovative) game mechanics. We didn't expect a highly addictive, chock full of glorious OP-ness dungeon crawler whose miniscule pricepoint ($19.99) and hard drive footprint (550 MB) make it the kind of game that's easy to recommend to just about any type of gamer. If you like loot and levels (and who doesn't?), you should definitely give Torchlight a shot.
- Game Name: Torchlight
- Review Date: November 24th, 2009