Torchlight was originally released on the PC in 2009. The game was recognized as being in the same vein as the Diablo series, borrowing the questing and looting elements. Recently, Runic Games has ported the title to XBOX Live Arcade, a venue that could use more action adventure RPGs.
DUNGEON CRAWLING HAS NEVER BEEN AS FUN
Does Not Pretend to be Anything Else - Typically, Role Playing Games that focus heavily on the gameplay experience are criticized for underwhelming stories. Runic Games has proven with Torchlight that the dungeon crawling experience can exist outside the confines of a story. While Torchlight does have a loose framework of a story that involves the dangers of ember and the pursuit of a villain, the game constantly reminds the player that his or her attention should be placed on the gameplay. The gameplay involves killing monsters and finding better and better loot. There are few feelings that overtake the pure joy one feels in finding a rare and strong piece of equipment for the first time.
Simple, Yet Strong Gameplay - The gameplay is simple but possesses an inner depth at the same time. The left bumper uses potions, the x button attacks, and so forth. However, short cuts can also be utilized in the game. With the Alchemist class for example, you can assign up to four spells to four different buttons that can easily be accessed at any given time. With so much action going on at once and with so many different actions one can take, there is surprisingly no slowdown, it is all fluid. Furthermore, the age old leveling up system remains intact and points can be assigned to any of four of different attributes after they are earned after every level gained. To further matters, there is also a skill tree in place that adds even more depth to an already rich experience. Every class is also accompanied by a pet that can not only aid in battle but can transform into other powerful forms, both permanently and temporarily. Pets can also travel to town to sell items while you remain in the dungeon to continue your quest.
A Soundtrack That Sucks...You In - Every dungeon crawling experience is best enhanced by a strong soundtrack. Torchlight definitely delivers on this level, and I found myself leaving the game on while doing other tasks just to listen to the music.
NO FRIENDS TO ADD TO THE FUN
Single Player Only - With more and more titles incorporating a multiplayer component in today’s gaming industry, it is rather surprising to see a game in a community settling like XBLA that does not use it. While I found myself rather addicted to going further and further into the dungeons, I could not help but feel that some of the later monotony would have been lessened with the help of a friend.
Annoying Sound Effects - While this may seem like a rather minor gripe, some of the sound effects in the game were rather loud and annoying such as the movement of the mechanical golem that the Alchemist has the capacity to summon. While there is an option to both increase and decrease the sound effect noise level, I felt frustrated in having to lose all the other immersive sounds because of some random annoyances.
Torchlight is a simple game to understand. If you’re looking for a rich storytelling experience, look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a fun game to play that provides surprising amounts of depth despite a few setbacks, then Runic Games’ small title is right up your alley. For only $15 to boot, you can’t go wrong with the price either.