Terminal Gamer Review – Torchlight

Torchlight is An Affordable, Engaging Dungeon Crawler

With the year coming to an end, all of the highly anticipated games are already out such as Left 4 Dead 2, Modern Warfare 2, and Assassin’s Creed 2. However, in the midst of all these blockbuster gaming hits there are games that flew under the radar. This year, Runic Games’ Torchlight falls under this category. Torchlight is essentially a cartoony Diablo clone set at the very affordable price of $20.

Torchlight’s art style is a fresh perspective. There is virtually no gray to be seen, unlike in games such as Fallout 3 and Gears of War. Instead, the visual style is bright and almost cartoony, which adds to the charm of Torchlight. The graphics are nowhere near being equal to Uncharted 2 but they serve well to fit the game style. In fact, in the options menu there is an option to turn on netbook mode. This helps scale the look of Torchlight so that your netbook and older laptops are able to play this game. I have not seen an option like this in all of my pc gaming life. When I saw that, I had to try it on my netbook and sure enough, it worked flawlessly. As you venture forth into the dungeons, the creatures you encounter are diverse; you will be killing skeletons, rats, zombies, imps, as well as giant boss monsters.

While crawling through these dungeons you are welcomed with a beautiful score. This is no surprise because the lead on music is none other than Matt Uelman the composer for both Diablo and Diablo II. The soundtrack of Torchlight has a gentile quality about it. The music does not get in the way of the game but brings out a mystical feeling. When eerie music is playing, there are enemies nearby, building up what little suspense there is because soon you are in a fight. While fighting, the music does not get loud and obnoxious. It still plays gently in the background waiting for you to finish.

Torchlight is a great dungeon crawler that should tide you over during the long wait until Diablo III is released

Torchlight is a great dungeon crawler that should tide you over during the long wait until Diablo III is released

You start the game by choosing which class you want to play. The three classes you can pick from are Destroyer, Alchemist, and Vanquisher. The Destroyer is the tank that bashes his way through the enemies. The Alchemist is the mage who can cast magic or summon minions to do his bidding. Lastly, the Vanquisher has a vast array of ranged attacks and weapons that he may use, such as bows, guns, and throwing knives.

Each character has their own motives behind voyaging to the town of Torchlight. While you are there, the corruption of the emerald crystals resonates in the mines and you are asked to stop the evil from spreading, putting aside your own motives. If you want to fall off the beaten path of the story there are opportunities to do this as well. There is always something to do in Torchlight. The residents of the town will assign you side quests which are either “go kill so and so” or “go collect X object.”

Alongside your hero are two pets that can accompany you on your missions. You can pick from a mountain lion or a wolf. Your pet acts as storage space as well as aids you in battle. The most effective way to have your pet help you vanquish foes is by feeding it magic fish you can catch. These fish transform your pet into a ferocious beast. These beast transformations include spiders, goblins and other monsters. Each beast your pet transforms into has his or her own strengths and weaknesses.

Torchlight's worlds are vibrant, and can be played on netbooks and well as desktops and laptopsTorchlight is not a flawless gem, however. There are some issues such as a lack of multiplayer. That said, I have heard that there is a massive multiplayer online version of Torchlight under development. One thing that consistently bugged me was that the storage space you have while in the dungeon is small. Nonetheless, the developers gave you a pet so that you can give it items and you can send your pet to the store to sell those items, prolonging your need to return to town.

The Final Word

Overall, Torchlight is a fun little game with lots of replay value. Despite its minor flaws, Torchlight does a lot of things right. If you are a student like myself and are waiting for class to start or if you are someone looking for a relaxing dungeon crawling game there is no need to look further than Torchlight.

The Scorecard


+ Your pet can return to town and sell your junk
+ $20 is a great deal

+ Playable on your Netbook

– No multiplayer

– Crowded Storage Space