Game Review: Torchlight

I presume part of Valve’s strategy in releasing Portal for free was to entice more users onto their game delivery platform, Steam. And then, the more users who have this program running… the more chances someone will buy a game.

It didn’t take me long to succumb, as a few days later… I ended up buying a new game from Valve: Torchlight. It’s a dungeon RPG, so we’re talking about swords and wizards and experience points – the whole deal.

Actually, it’s a lot (a LOT) like World of Warcraft. And it perfectly scratches that RPG itch too. You choose from three character types (Destroyer, Alchemist and Vanquisher), and as you progress through the story you gain experience and items (armor, weapons, potions). You meet a small group of NPCs (Non-Player Characters) who offer you a few quests… which you then go about fulfilling.

The main arc of the story is that you are investigating the ruins/mines beneath the town of Torchlight. Check out the official trailer:

The game overall is absolutely gorgeous. All the UI elements looks great, and the whole feel of the game is exceptional. This is the Inventory display for both me and my pet cat (Azrael). Told you it looked a lot like WoW, right?

I was also reminded of the game Diablo, partly because I learned that some of the folks who worked on that game worked on this one. There’s the same kind of feel here, as each dungeon level leads you to some portal or stairs, that then takes you further down into another level.

Here’s a fun aspect to the game: you can feed fish to your pet, and it gives them different abilities. Different types of fish cause your pet to change into other creatures (there’s even one fish that can permanently transform a cat to a dog). To find the fish, you need to go fishing… naturally.

Yup. Exactly like WoW.

Not only is the gameplay beautiful (I love the font choice for battle stats – damage, health), the whole background of the game is dazzling. There’s a depth to these games and a richness to all the textures that’s hard to explain, and to do justice to here.

If you were a WoW fan, I definitely recommend this game. It’s great to look at, and even more fun to play. And what I like most about it is that the game, unlike WoW, is finite – you can play a lot, but you can’t play forever. To me, Torchlight has all the benefits of WoW, without the danger of getting sucked in fully. Like I said, I’m a sucker for RPGs.

The nice part of getting the game through Steam is that it’s currently half off, and selling at $9.99. Also, if there are patches or whatnot, those automatically get installed when they become available. The down side to the Steam approach is that you’ve got an app (and a really well made one at that), showing you all sorts of games that you might not have heard of or seen. Or realized you could just buy and download.

Maybe it’s not altogether a bad thing. Just an unproductive one.

Torchlight Review, Jay Is Games
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