Torchlight by Runic Games is an isometric game for the PC that keeps in the tradition of Diablo, Diablo II, and Titan Quest, among others. The premise is simple: control your character as they fight their way down a very deep dungeon below a besieged town. When most video games are trying to cram in as much stuff as possible, Torchlight keeps things simple. And unlike those epic games, Torchlight won’t break the bank at $20USD.
Torchlight is a fun, one-dimensional game that happens to fit right into my gaming style right now, and I highly recommend it. Here’s why.
Ars Technica has an awesome write-up about Torchlight, so I won’t recap most of it here. However, here are the most important tidbits about the game:
- Single player only.
- Choose from three classes (melee, ranged, or mage). You cannot change the look of your character.
- Each class has three skill lines to choose from. You gain one skill point when you level, and one when you ascend to a new “fame” level. You accumulate fame by killing unique monsters and completing quests.
- Gameplay is said to run between ten and twenty hours. I will probably get more out of that, as I am playing on Hard and tend to noodle around a bit when I play.
- All characters have a pet (dog or cat) that:
- fights alongside you
- picks up, carries, and sells loot for you
- can turn into a number of other creatures (including a carnivorous treasure chest) for a limited time
- can wear limited equipment, like magic rings and pendants
- Plays on a wide range of computer hardware.
- Is your typical killquest-type game.
My Destroyer taking out five enemies with a point blank area of effect spell.
Some of you may groan at single player only, or the short game time. However, these two attributes make Torchlight a winner for me. I can fire the game up in the morning, play for fifteen minutes, and stop playing guilt-free. I also know that I don’t have to devote large blocks of my schedule to grind through 100+ hours of storyline like some epic RPGs out there. There’s nothing wrong with those bigger-scale storylines like Dragon Age: Origins, but I just don’t have the time or inclination to play those games these days.
The game runs pretty smoothly on my AMD Athlon X2 5000 machine that runs Windows 7 on 8GB of RAM and is backed up by an 1GB ATI 5770 video card. My Destroyer (melee class) has a few area of effect spells, and when I kick off the PBAoE and kill a lot of enemies the game can stutter. There are creatures that summon other critters, and the pauses seem to be the worst when I PBAoE and they are doing their summoning PBAoE at the same time. I have the game’s settings cranked at 1680×1050.
One of the technical aspects of the game that I really appreciate is that the game knows I am on a triple monitor setup and confines the game to the center display. I can still mouse outside of my primary display and check my email, remote server session, or look up how to finish a quest without ALT-tabbing. Pretty sweet, and I wish more game developers would think about multi-headed environments.
Torchlight is available electronically via Steam and a few other venues. I bought mine through Steam and the download and purchase experience was easy and flawless. I won’t recap the gameplay too much, but I will comment on how well the music and art direction works together. The game is very pretty, and I enjoy watching my Destroyer stomp around and issue beats.
If you are looking for an inexpensive, light-duty, hack-and-slash, low-commitment PC game, Torchlight is for you.