Torchlight Reviews

  • xxW0LFxx TFDxxW0LFxx TFD221,194
    08 Mar 2011
    62 12 12
    This review was written for my own site at

    Diablo is a game that spawned a massive hardcore following of button mashing and loot loving gamers, but oddly our beloved console as been a little short on such titles.
    Now though Runic Games have brought their 2009 PC sleeper hit onto our console in the form on an Xbox Live Arcade port, and it has made the transition to controller well and provides all the loot collecting you could want.

    The story follows one of the three character classes you pick at the beginning: Destroyer, Alchemist and Vanquisher (Read: Warrior, Mage and Rogue) and has you venturing into the town of, well, Torchlight which acts as a hub for your aventures. A quick wander around all the handy merchants and you find yourself dragged into a quest to go help some random warrior in some random dungeon. Right.
    And that’s essentially it. Along the way you’ll find an evil plot by an even more evil enemy, but the villains and heroes as so largely forgettable and the plot so simple you won’t really give a damn about it, instead you’ll just know it means you have to go down another four or five levels into the never-ending randomly generated dungeons.

    However, and intriguing plotline is not what you would be buying this game for. No, you’re buying it for the gameplay, and that’s something Torchlight does well.

    As you venture through the randomly generated dungeons you’ll be using the games combat system for around 90% of your gametime, and it’s a rather simple one at that. Torchlight is a button masher at its core with X being the standard attack button while five of your other buttons can be taken up by any of the many special skills and abilities your characters can gain. The move from PC to console shows a little here as the controller just doesn’t have enough buttons to accommodate all those skills you can unlock, but it does encourage you to specialise a bit more. Runic have combated this by allowing you to swap between skill sets by tapping the D-pad and it proves to be a big help.
    There’s no dodge or block here, so ultimately Torchlight is the very definition of button mashing and while a little strategy and though is added through the skills and abilities of characters it’s really a case of spamming button until everything dies.
    Once you get your character levelled up and he or she is a death-dealing machine this button mashing can be pretty fun as the screen lights up with attacks and hordes of enemies are on-screen, but regardless of shiny lights it does become a repetitive experience after a while.
    It’s also worth noting that the game often can’t quite handle the sheer amount of mayhem on-screen.

    Once you’ve happily reduced everything to a bloody pulp in a dungeon you’re going to be left with a hell of a lot of loot to collect and admire, and next to levelling up that’s the most addictive part of game.
    Enemies can drop anything from weak pistols to swords so insanely powerful that God himself hides behind the couch, and you’ll have to wait a few levels to even get to use them.
    The actual amount of loot on offer is….lets just say it’s big. You’ll get to pick from swords, staffs, maces, guns, bows, pikes, and plenty of more so there is something for everyone, and you can gift any of your hard-earned loot to your friends as well.

    Once you’ve beaten everything up and claimed the loot you’ll most likely be able to level up as well, and Torchlight is generous in this area with level-up’s coming thick and fast. The result is a system that leaves you wanting just one more level up before you stop playing for the day.
    The amount of skills and abilities you can invest your hard-earned points in is impressive with each character an array of skills unique to them. The skills and abilities are divided into tiers, and you need to be a certain level or higher to access those tiers, but out in a solid five or six hours of play and you’ll have access to all the tiers, and with a vast amount of levels in the game if you keep playing you could have every skill unlocked with several points into each of them.

    It’s ironic that Torchlights biggest strength is its biggest weakness as well: the gameplay, by its very nature, is repetitive with no real variety. You might face bigger enemies, or get cooler loot but you’re always going into another dungeon – and even randomly generated they do begin to feel rather samey – and button mashing your way through to claim the loot, level up and complete another cut and paste mission.
    Doubtless lovers of Diablo will be enthralled with it and sink vast amounts of hours into Torchlight, but for many others the repetitive nature of the game may begin to put them off after the ten-hour mark as you begin to realise that there isn’t much else to this game.

    Other problems and complaints rear their head as well. From the highest point of its top-down view Torchlight looks decent, but get in close and it’s lacking in texture and detail.
    Your pet also has terrible pathfinding skills. Often he or she just gets stuck in a separate corridor, or can’t find a way to you. The enemy AI is almost as daft at points as well.
    Picking up specific items amid the pile lying on the floor is a pain the in the butt as well. You’ll find yourself shuffling around trying to get into the precise position to let you pick up said item.

    Torchlight is the ultimate dungeon crawler for Xbox 360, and a perfect for Xbox Live Arcade. In its genre it stands out as a superb example of how to do it, and no game since Diablo itself has captured the loot system so well, but outside of its hardcore genre following Torchlight is a repetitve game for most other people.

    The Good:
    + SHINY LOOT!!!!
    + Each character feels different.
    + Infinite dungeons

    The Bad:
    - Kill, loot, repeat.
    - The story is….lacking.
    - Where did my pet get to this time!?


    Graphics: 7
    A pretty art style make up for the fact that, technically speaking, this game is lacking a little.

    Sound: 7
    The music is almost so Diablo it hurts, and it’s still good to listen to, but otherwise the sound effects aren’t anything special.

    Story: 6
    A story populated with instantly forgettable characters and little plot to back it up.

    Gameplay: 8.5
    Both its strongest feature and its biggest weakness. The gameplay in Torchlight is addictive and fun, but very repetitive. Simply put hardcore dungeon crawling fans will be addicted, while most of the other players will get fed up after a while.

    Lifespan: 8.5
    randomly generated dungeons and heaps of loot mean this game has an almost infinite lifespan. The actual main story missions will take around 6-8 hours, but there are some side-missions to take on as well.

    Overall: 8
    A game well suited to Xbox Live Arcade, and one that fills the void that Diablo fans have had for a while.
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    Santar0sGood write up
    Posted by Santar0s On 21 Mar 11 at 18:35
    JMJimmyI think the big problem with this review is that it doesn't understand what this game is. It's not an RPG - it's a dungeon crawler. The team who developed it had VERY little funding and to keep their new company from going bankrupt overnight their goal was to get something shipped FAST. They left out multiplayer, deep engaging story, cinematics etc for that very reason. To that end they offered the title at less than typical budget prices when it first came out. To that end they put out a solid product for what they charged with the promise of deeper story and multiplayer in Torchlight 2 - all of which is coming true. I call it smart business and very reasonable given the price.
    Posted by JMJimmy On 02 Oct 11 at 03:41
    x RepoUK xNothing much wrong with the review at all. A few bits missing but nothing serious.
    As a big Diablo fan, I was pretty disappointed with Torchlight. I'm glad I got it on DotW!
    Posted by x RepoUK x On 27 Mar 12 at 22:23
    15 Mar 2011 20 Mar 2011
    24 1 0
    I’m primarily a console gamer—I don’t often indulge in the world of PC gaming. Torchlight is one of the many PC games I’ve never enjoyed and the 2009 title has finally made its transition to console with its release on XBOX Live Arcade. Since I’ve never played the PC version, I can’t really comment on the differences between the versions, but I will say that it’s a game that works very well with a controller.

    Set in the town of Torchlight, and the mines below it, Torchlight’s story puts you in the boots of one of three characters (a warrior, a mage, or a ranger) as you search for riches in the mines. Every five or so dungeons will “treat” you with a story segment that reveals the nature of the corruption plaguing the mines and the monsters that infest it. The story is never the game’s focus, though, and this is a strength and a weakness for the game—the plot is bland and never aspires to do anything interesting, so fleshing it out more would have just created an unnecessary amount of text boxes read by bored voice actors. On the other hand, there’s little to no driving force to compel the player to continue forward other than looting and leveling.

    Looting and leveling, however, provide a great addiction as you make your way through hordes of enemies and pick up their left behinds in hopes that one piece of equipment is better than what you’re carrying. You will never run low on goodies to pick up on the battlefield and you’ll be ever thankful to the developers for giving you a pet that can hold your excess goods as well as travel to town to sell them for you. It’s a great feature that allows you to continue your pillaging and make money at the same time.

    Your character and your pet both have 50 inventory slots and they’ll fill up really quickly. A few of my complaints for the inventory system is that there’s no “Organize” feature and your equipped items still take up a place in your bag. These are somewhat minor complaints, but the inability to organize your loot can make for unnecessary menu wandering as you try to find similar or identical items for something like transmuting and what should be a simple task becomes undesirably cumbersome.

    The main aspect of gameplay in Torchlight is the combat—it is how you get loot, after all. It’s presented as a rather simple button masher that has you approaching waves of enemies with weapon drawn as you pound mercilessly on the attack button and liberally use your available skills. Although simple, it’s satisfying and you’re bound to be grinning gleefully when you land a brutal crit and see your enemies explode into a fountain of blood (it’s T rated, so no gibs). Killing enemies earns you experience points and fame (there are 100 character levels and 55 fame levels to be earned through fame and XP); each character level will grant you 5 attribute points to spend towards strength, dexterity, magic, and defense and one skill point to use in upgrading or unlocking the various skills available to your character’s class—gaining another fame level also grants you one skill point. It’s standard RPG leveling, but it’s no less satisfying or addicting. The combat, however, does grow repetitive after a while as you’ll constantly find yourself using the same attacks against familiar enemies.

    Torchlight also features an endless supply of randomly generated dungeons. It’s a great way to expand the game into what is essentially a “game that never ends,” but the dungeons, even though randomly generated, begin to feel very familiar as there’s a limited amount of assets used in dungeon creation. I even found myself wandering through levels that were near exact in layout as other dungeons I had traversed. It’s great that there’s this endless supply of new areas, but they rarely ever achieve a feeling of newness.

    When I played the game, I swore that I wouldn’t complain that it didn’t have multiplayer—multiplayer was never planned in this game, nor was it promised, so I felt that complaining about such a thing would be a pointless argument because this game was never intended to have it (and so many other people have complained about its absence that my statements would be relatively meaningless). However, I feel that having a multiplayer component would have helped to break up the monotony by allowing players to experience different approaches to encounters or trade loot with one another. I also think it would have helped make certain classes and their skills feel more useful—I played as the ranged character and was often unable to actually use my ranged skills as I had nobody to keep the enemies at a distance.

    The achievements available in Torchlight are all simple and all but one time consuming cheevo should be easily unlocked through a single playthrough. It’s somewhat disappointing, given how much content is in the game, that they didn’t include more creative or difficult achievements or ones that encouraged multiple playthroughs (for instance, an achievement for playing through the campaign with each character class). Achievements aren’t something to make a judgment on how good or bad a game is, but I like a challenge in my achievement hunting.

    Torchlight is undeniably fun and addicting to the point of driving its players to the dangerous levels of unproductiveness, but I also found myself feeling as though getting that next load of loot or earning my next level was more a chore than fun because of the game’s repetitive nature—a better plot or the addition of multiplayer might have been remedies for those complaints. With all that said, there is so much to do and so much loot to find in Torchlight that you will be absorbed in its unending dungeons for countless hours and it’s well-worth the 1200 MSP ($15) price tag.
  • SaigoStyleSaigoStyle242,108
    12 Aug 2011
    22 0 2
    Torchlight is a tag team collaboration developed by Runic Games that mixes and mashes the talents of Travis Baldree, (designer of Fate) and Max and Erich Schaefer, (co-designers of Diablo and Diablo II) into an enjoyable PC port for the Xbox LIVE Arcade. Featuring 3 playable characters in a randomly generating dungeon crawling RPG—Torchlight offers simple gameplay at a reasonable price that will appeal to most fans of the genre while remaining easily accessible to newcomers and beginners alike.

    The story of “Torchlight” begins in the aptly named mining town of Torchlight where the discovery of Ember has sparked the once quiet town to life. Ember is essentially the essence of magic and the foundation of alchemy solidified into a minable material that promises riches and fame in abundance to anyone daring enough to seek it out. Unfortunately, as heroes and brigands arrive seeking their fortunes, and the mining excavation plunges deeper into the depths beneath Torchlight, a forgotten past of buried labyrinths and lost civilizations is unearthed and the ancient evil that once inhabited them is unleashed once more.

    The Good:

    Great Gameplay – Torchlight is an intriguing title offering a solid dungeon crawling experience for seasoned veterans of the genre and wide eyed beginners alike. Offering randomly generated dungeons, rare and unique armor and weapon sets, an enjoyable and rewarding fishing mini-game, and a plethora of monsters and bosses, Torchlight is a great experience for all your single player dungeon crawling needs.

    Simplicity – Torchlight can be as easy as clearing a room full of cobwebs for a battle hardened vet or as hard as fighting the devil himself with a bag full of marshmallows and a pillow for a shield. With adjustable difficulties, easy to manage controls, and a simple but customizable interface—Torchlight offers great playability and progression for practically anyone who ventures into her depths. If you’re looking for a solid dungeon crawler to test your prowess, or a simple and tame one to learn or to teach the strategies of the genre—Torchlight is a safe investment with some flashy and vibrant stylistic flare.

    Value – With a $15 price tag, Torchlight offers a 10 hour story while excelling in player progression, after the initial plot runs its course, by offering an endless dungeon full of increasingly difficult monsters, bosses, and exceptionally better treasure and loot. Though the gameplay itself can become repetitive, Torchlight could potentially be an endless game depending on the interest, desire, and devotion of the player.

    In addition to an endless dungeon, Torchlight offers a retirement feature where players can retire an adventurer (who then becomes unplayable), while selecting an inventory item to become a heirloom to be passed down to future generations. The heirloom is given a stat increase while the level requirements are lowered for subsequent characters and playthrough’s, and serves as a way to get better than droppable gear by continually creating new characters.

    Finally, it should be noted for those interested in Avatar rewards that Torchlight offers a beanie and t-shirt for completing certain tasks within the game itself.

    The Bad:

    It Is What They Say It Is – Torchlight is a $15 Dungeon Crawler that began its life as a PC title back in 2009 before being transformed into a playable Arcade title: It’s not Diablo 3, it’s not going to be as deep as a $60 offering, and it’s an obvious clone (It was developed by 3 of the main members behind Fate and Diablo I and II if you missed the intro). With that said, Torchlight is exactly what it claims to be and is praiseworthy for what it does offer—just don’t expect anything above and beyond the scope of the genre you’re buying into.

    No Multiplayer – The idea of not incorporating multiplayer into Torchlight is bar none the biggest mistake the developers made when the title was ported over to the Xbox and quickly becomes a thorn in the side for fans wanting to share the experience with a good friend. Without any multiplayer elements, Runic takes what could have been an amazing arcade offering, (a 9.5 to a possible 10 depending on the features they incorporated), and tarnishes its shine into a mere glimmer of its true potential.

    Shallow – Though the gameplay in Torchlight is great, it can become repetitive and with only a murmur of a story and a limited tile set for dungeon generation, a player’s satisfaction can be short lived.

    The Ugly:

    Spending 10,000 Gold on an Item Enchantment—Only to Erase its Stats: The enchantment system in Torchlight is as interesting as it is unique: An item can be infinitesimally enchanted but each time you put it under the enchanter’s spell you run the risk of wiping it clean. How’s that for gambling? Immovable object—now it’s a fruit bowl.

    Final Thoughts: Get it—if you’re a fan of the genre or at least have a mild curiosity in dungeon crawlers then Torchlight is a safe bet. On the other hand, if you’re a Diablo hater or even a fan boy then you’re better off avoiding what Torchlight has to offer—you’ve already seen it.
  • thirtysmooththirtysmooth284,315
    06 Sep 2011
    18 0 0
    Torchlight brings back certain nostalgia from my old PC days in the Diablo-like gameplay and graphics. It sees you taking on the role of an adventurer-come-hero in the small town of Torchlight. The town is surrounded by randomised dungeons filled with monsters and pissed-off zombies to name but a couple. Your mission is to rid these creatures whilst collecting loot, gold and quest related items.

    Fellow RPG fans who have followed the genre over the past years will be familiar with the logistics of the game as it upholds many of the classic RPG features such as the combat interface, the levelling system and the general gameplay. Fans of the Diablo series will be especially interested as it is developed by Max and Eric Schaefer who brought us Diablo and Diablo II. Anyone who played and loved either Diablo games will find great pleasure when sinking their proverbial teeth into this Arcade title as it renders many features from Diablo, such as the isometric perspective and the musical features.

    Graphically, the game is what you would expect from a top-down RPG. There is an abundance of gorgeous textures within the village of Torchlight, but considering you spend the majority of your time in the dungeons, you’d expect them to focus on this element the most, right? Although they have made the dungeons visually adept, they have recycled some graphics on various floors which is a little disappointing. To be fair the game is only 196MB in size, so it’s amazing that they’ve managed to squeeze a multitude of graphics into such a small file. This could be the reason to why the game struggles to cope when multiple adversaries are on screen. This choppiness causes a host of problems which interfere with movement, spell casting and targeting enemies. Given this issue, it only ever occurred a few times.

    You have the choice of 3 character classes to choose from:

    Destroyer: The beast amongst men. Specialising in melee combat, this warrior can wipe out entire dungeons just through sheer, brute force. He also has the ability to cast magical effects.

    Alchemist: The spellcaster. He draws the magical power of Ember to slay foes with specialised spells which range from fire to electricity.

    Vanquisher: The rogue or spy class. She utilises the ranged weapons to devastating effect to slaughter her adversaries.

    Taking a leaf from the game series Fable’s book, Torchlight offers you a pet to aid in your quest. This pet will help rid the evil that is stashed within the dungeons. You can furnish your pet with spells and it can help store items that you don’t want to dispense of. Scattered around the dungeons you’ll stumble upon “Fishing Holes” where you can catch, funnily enough, fish. Feeding these fish to your pet will either boost their stats dramatically or transform them into creatures that mimic your adversaries. This is a nice little touch, but your pet can get confused by the layout of the dungeons and often has trouble traversing the scenery.

    Pondering on which class to start as for a moment, I wonder if they offer any extra or different content in the game. I presume not and woefully choose the Alchemist class. I’m hoping to replicate the mighty Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings books/movies. Unfortunately, you cannot alter your characters appearance, so no long white beard for me. This makes me sad.

    There is little-to-no storyline to Torchlight will lets it down significantly. Instead, you’re forced to complete quests which are agonisingly similar and battle in dungeons which are repetitive and monotonous. The town of Torchlight is a small concourse where travellers and well-wishers convene to delve into the rich supply of Ember. This magical substance is the source for spells and enchanted items.

    Hours pass as I delve deeper into the dungeons and I slaughter my way through the ranking system. Torchlight offers the player to place points into a class-specific skill tree. This gives the player new spells and powers which mixes up the gameplay a little, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. Levelling up also allows you to use higher-grade equipment and weapons, although this doesn’t really help as your foes also get stronger the further down the dungeon you go.

    After defeating the final “boss” you have little else to do. With the main storyline complete, all that’s left to do is battle your way through a seemingly endless “Shadow Dungeon” or finish up a few pointless side-quests. Replayabilty is not really a factor that comes to mind once you finish the game. After grinding out the last few achievements, there isn’t anything that would make me want to come back and play it again.

    If there’s one thing that this game lacks, is an online capability. The thought of wandering around with a buddy or two is something that Runic Games really overlooked. If they’d have added this feature we could have been looking at a completely different experience, one that would have inspired me to keep looting those dungeons. It also would have been one of the greatest games on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace to date in my opinion. Luckily for us, Runic Games have officially stated that Torchlight 2 will have this function (hoorah!).

    Despite my many debateable discrepancies, Torchlight is a fantastic journey in a slightly saturised genre, but still manages to find decent gameplay, ample graphics and smooth mechanics. The lack of a real storyline and multiplayer capabilities really let down an outstanding effort to revive the isometric platform-adventure genre. Let’s hope that Torchlight 2 can supersede on an already superb and solid Action-RPG.
  • TheSecondLetterTheSecondLetter112,226
    10 Mar 2013
    8 1 2

    I really can't say enough good things about Runic Games' work with Torchlight. These kats really know how to capture what makes RPGs fun and engaging all while balancing accessibility with a very present sense of depth. This is probably the most well-rounded Xbox Live Arcade Game I've ever played. Best of all, Runic understands what it means to make a game only as long as it is fun. I've critiqued so many developers over the years for giving us more games where the fun ran out before the game ended. Runic knew that the Torchlight model would become routine over time, so they decided not to make this game wear out its welcome. And for this, I give them mad props. For those of you that don't mind the repetition and just want length of play, rest assured, there is an option to keep playing after you beat the game.

    Since this is a console game, Runic was charged with boiling down the more complicated gaming interface of its PC brothers. This was a welcome simplification because Torchlight on 360 still gave me enough control over my character in combat and in customization to feel rewarded. Plus, for folks that didn't grow up playing PC games who may find some of the interfaces a bit daunting, Torchlight on 360 is very easy to pick up and play. From intuitive menus to ability mapping for combat, Torchlight is squared away.

    Top this off with the fact that Runic Games gave Torchlight mechanics specifically designed to cut down on tedium. The greatest example is your pet who aids you throughout the game. Not only can you customize and grow your pet into a crazy workhorse fighting machine, you can also use him to return to town to sell items when your inventory gets full so that you can stay in the dungeon and keep fighting.

    The following are the categories of gamers who I believe will enjoy Torchlight the most.

    First and foremost, this game is all about Builders - While you only get three very basic classes with limited visual customization at the game's onset, rest assured that the true joy of customizing comes with playing the game, leveling and then choosing what your character will ultimately become. Even though you do choose between a Warrior, a Gunslinger, and a Mage, you can take comfort in the fact that none of these character classes marry you to a specific path. If you want your warrior to use ranged attacks or magic, simply equip him with the right weapons and have him learn what spells are available to him. You'll also get a fairly large amount of skills, weapons and armor sets for each character. Everything you wear shows up on the character adding a level of customization that even AAA titles don't provide consistently. Not only that, there is no ridiculously low level cap to stop you from customizing your avatar with skills to your liking. If you are willing to put in the time, you will be rewarded with a good amount of skills that you can make stronger over time.

    Strategists - will enjoy the sense of variety Torchlight gives. The skills Torchlight allows you to develop give you a significant amount of options for taking out your enemies. Setting traps, casting haste or even summoning monsters to fight at your side can all play a part in how you dispatch your foes. The beauty with Torchlight is that - while simple in its approach - it affords you the ability to control the battlefield to your liking.

    Gamers who may be slightly disappointed by Torchlight.

    Collaborators - One of the things that made my experience with Sacred 2 so enjoyable was the ability to play it with friends. Torchlight aint havin' that. You'll be rockin' this joint Han Solo.

    Bookworms - will feel slightly let down as the story is very obviously not the focus here. One saving grace for this type of player is the narrative. While the story is not overly deep or well developed, it is at the very least presented in an enjoyable and often humorous fashion.

    Neutral Categories

    Explorers - should enjoy Torchlight a good deal. For starters, this is a loot-mongering game much like it's forefather, Diablo 2. You will find more money, armor and weapons than you'll ever be able to use. Also, Torchlight gives you a decent amount of freedom to handle sidequests in the manner of your choosing. On the slightly negative side, just know that there's not much by way of actual exploration. Torchlight is essentially a dungeon crawl with a central hub town for buying and selling equipment and turning in completed quests.

    Visualists and Audiophiles - I dug Torchlight's graphical style, use of color, the music and the sound effects. But I can't really say that any of these elements did anything significantly memorable.


    If you dig RPGs you need to play Torchlight. Don't let the dungeon crawling aspect completely turn you away if dungeon crawling is not your thing. I've never really cared for Dungeon crawlers but felt Torchlight's accessibility, style and relatively short completion time kept the grinding and crawling from becoming too monotonous.

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