Thursday, October 31, 2013

Games Thirst Review: Torchlight (XBLA)

In 2009, Runic Games released a little gem called Torchlight for the PC. It incorporated Diablo like gameplay into a fun, colorful world. Now, a couple years later, it is being released on the XBLA for more people to enjoy.

In Torchlight, you pick from three different character types: the Destroyer, the Alchemist and the Vanquisher. You then must help the people of Torchlight battle off the creatures that have infested their mines.

What Quenched My Thirst

Torchlight is a dungeon crawler game that has you hacking and slashing through different levels. The gameplay is smooth and simple, and becomes really addicting as you play.  When you choose from the three different character types, you do not have to strictly stick to that type of character. If you use an Alchemist and want to use a sword, then use a sword. It really gives you a lot of room to mess around with your character and their skills.

To build your character, you gain points as you level up and you distribute them between four different stats: strength, magic, dexterity and defense. Each one has their own positives and negatives for your overall character, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them. In order to use some of the armor you find, you will have to have a certain number for a stat such as I needed at least 30 magic to use a helmet I found. So you might want to watch out for things like that.

You also gain skill points to unlock abilities on the skill tree. You unlock a new tier on the skill tree every 5 levels until you reach level 25. All of these skills offer a variety of special attacks and abilities that are very helpful. After you buy a skill, you can upgrade them to make them stronger.

As you move through the game, you will obtain large amounts of loot; this is a dungeon crawler game after all. You will find armor, weapons, potions, spells, identifying scrolls, and other things that you can use on your journey. This can fill up a lot of space though, and you might not want to back track all the way to the town to sell it off. If you find yourself in this predicament, you have a few options. When you pick your character at the beginning of the game, you will also notice that you pick a pet as well. There are three pet choices, and they do not seem to differ in skills. As you fill up with items, you can move the items over to your pet’s storage, which can hold fifty items. Once his items are full, or at anytime you want too, you can send him back to town to sell off all the items. It is a really great feature that keeps you from having to back track. Another choice would be to use a town portal scroll that allows you to open a portal to town, and then when you are done in town you can take the portal right back to where you were. You will need to find these scrolls though.

You will find that you fill up your inventory very quickly with items. Most of what you will find is useless, but there is that little gem every now and then.  You will also notice that a lot of what you find is a mystery, and you need to use an identifying scroll to figure out what it is, so be sure to find as many identifying scrolls as you can. As I mentioned earlier, you sometimes need to have a certain amount of magic, dexterity, strength or defense to use certain armor. To help with this, make sure you look at the attributes of your armor and trinkets that you have or are wearing. They will add valuable stats to your character such as adding more points to your magic, dexterity, strength, or defense. By paying attention to this, I was able to finally use a few pieces of armor that I would not have been able too.

All of this loot you find can also be upgraded. You can add stones to the armor, trinkets, and weapons to add more stats to that piece of loot.  You can also have your weapons enchanted, but be careful because the enchantment can hurt your weapon or armor stats. I had a sword once, that had 240 damage, and I went to get it enchanted and the damage dropped to 180. So just be aware that it can happen.

The hacking and slashing, looting, leveling up, and enchanting are all great, but what really brings this game together is the ambiance of the game. Unlike most dungeon crawlers that are dark and decaying, Torchlight is very colorful and fun. It offers an amazing amount of variety that is sometimes hard to find in games today. I encountered new level designs and enemies throughout the whole game.  It also offers hours of gameplay on the first play through, around 10-20, depending on how you play, and even gives you an endless dungeon after you beat the game. It is also very user friendly. It offers many different difficulty levels for beginners, and some harder difficulties for the most hardcore. It is an overall well rounded gaming experience

What Left A Bitter Taste

I really do not have anything bad to say about this game. Yes, I could nitpick at things such as the fact that the frame rate slows down a little when you are in a big group battle, or the fact that I wish I could customize my character more, but none of this takes away from the game.  It is a really solid game.

Water Scale

Torchlight offers an experience for Xbox users that they can’t find anywhere else on their Xbox. The game does not bring anything really new to the dungeon crawling, RPG, hack ‘n slash genre, but it does everything in this genre right. It gives you hours of gameplay, variety and fun for only 1200 MS points. In fact, I have had more fun with this game than many of the AAA titles in the last year, and I will recommend this game to anyone. If you are a hardcore dungeon crawler fan, then you will find some fun with this game, and if you have never played a game like this, then this is the perfect game to start with.  When you play Torchlight, you can really see the time, effort and passion that was poured into making this game.


Developer: Runic Games

Platform: XBLA, also on PC and MAC

Genre: RPG

Release Date: March 9, 2011

About Joshua Tompkins

  • Ernice Gilbert

    Great review. knew little about it before I read this review, but I’ll be buying this one for sure. Great job!

  • Sole Survivor

    Impressive review! We’ll definitely get this one!

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