Torchlight screenshot
Torchlight screenshot

Torchlight, originally released for PC in 2009, was a successful addition to a genre of Diablolikes. For anyone who spent the noughties waiting for Diablo 3 to turn up on shelves - for anyone who's still waiting for a bloody release date - Runic Games' title was a stopgap, one of a few in the last decade. Now little Torchlight is all grown up and making the move from PC exclusive to XBLA game. And impressively it's done this without losing anything in translation - a surprise for the fans who thought it could never exist without a mouse.

As in PC version you choose from one of three characters. There's the melee Destroyer, a Lou Ferrigno-sized warrior; a ranged Vanquisher whose strategy largely involves laying down traps – a slightly more tactical approach to combat than your melee pal; and a magic focused Alchemist who can summon imps and golems.

Although you have these three very specific character types there's some overlap between them. The Destroyer, for instance, has the option to unlock magical abilities. Even beyond class-specific abilities, any of the characters can use scrolls to learn spells regardless of their individual talents.

The town of Torchlight itself is essentially a standard RPG village-cum-mining town built directly above a monster infested mine. The villagers dig for Ember, a type of ore that can be used to enchant objects and also lusted after by the magically-inclined, but naturally the Ember has a dark side. The storyline is utterly secondary to the gameplay, but what follows is a series of quests that have you travelling continuously deeper into the mine to find the source of the monsters clogging up the place. The mine is comprised of 35 floors of randomised dungeons à la the original Diablo, offering a veritable buffet of the old classical locations - you have your necropolis, you have jungle ruins, and there's your classic grey-brick castle. While the game relies on the tropes of a bygone era it perfects what dungeon crawlers specialise in: OCD gameplay, constant rewards, and floors blanketed with loot.

But Torchlight isn't impersonating its peers as much as collecting a few of the genre's best features in one place; features the team previously had a hand in. Travis Baldtree, the high muckity-muck of the studio had previously worked on the MMO Mythos and before that on Fate - a game that Torchlight borrows heavily from - and the use of pets, for example, is there largely thanks to Baldtree's Fate.

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FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

CheekyLee gave me a heads up on Torchlight for XBLA a couple of days back, I was instantly hooked from the demo and now have the full game installed to the 360.

For anyone who ever wanted Diablo II on console, this is the closest I've seen in terms of gameplay (graphically it's a whole different ballgame, but a decent one), even includes lots of familiar guitar riffs and other sound bites that fans will recognise. Then there's enchanting, socketing, colour-coded items, set items, town portals, waypoints, mana/health shrines - all instantly recognisable.

I guess no multiplayer is the biggest downside, nobody to show off all your shinies to, but it has leaderboards, albeit the usual suspects are at the top of it as with most leaderboards on XBox Live.

There's also a decent fame system (the more quests you do and the more special bosses you defeat the higher your fame goes) although I've yet to see a reason for fame other than an achievement and title.

I remember back when Diablo came out for the PlayStation, it just didn't have the right feel to it and was a bit hard to get into from a control point of view, with Torchlight they got every thing just right, especially if you love melee which is a case of keep the X button pressed and wade in there, button mashing not required.

Overall, it's an endless grind, and if you like endless grinds it should be right up your street.
Posted 15:28 on 18 March 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
8
Out of 10
Torchlight
  • Obsessively addictive.
  • Near-perfect port.
  • No multiplayer.
  • Frame rate issues.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 09/03/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Runic Games
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 430 8
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