It’s rare that a game can surpass its original inspiration. But, in many ways, Torchlight (released in 2009) does just that with its Diablo-inspired gameplay. Offering up an interesting mix of the new and the familiar, this game takes the conventions of the action role-playing genre and turns it up a notch with some creative and innovative new mechanics.
All of this alone would be more than enough to make the game noteworthy, but it’s addition of a compelling and intriguing story only helps seal the deal. If you long for classic action RPG gaming like the stuff Blizzard used to make along with a well-craft story rich with background lore, then look no further than Torchlight.
How to Download Torchlight
To download the game from Steam, GOG or Microsoft Store, click on the Download button at the end of the review. If you own a Mac, you can try a free demo (available on Steam). Check out also our reviews of Torchlight II (2012) and Torchlight III (2020).
The Game Review
Developed by Runic Games and published by Perfect World in 2009 for PC and then gradually making its way to other platforms, Torchlight is now a full-fledged series in its own right after beginning life as a Diablo-inspired game.
In fact, co-designers of Diablo and Diablo II, Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer, both worked alongside Fate’s Travis Baldree.
Like its inspirations, Torchlight revolves around a central hub world attached to which are mainline and sub-quests. Main quests help advance the storyline of the game while side quests and the like add flavor to the interesting world that Torchlight occupies.
As for dungeons themselves, these are procedurally generated though holding to narrative themes in terms of offering up boss encounters and the like. Outside of that, everything is fresh and tailored to the player’s abilities. Loot and gold are a big deal, of course, and the treadmill towards greater and greater rewards is often what keeps many players pushing ahead.
As far as stories go, Torchlight’s is not the most original but it is among the most well-executed. From charming voice acting to appropriately epic scoring, Torchlight doesn’t let anything slip.
Set in a town of the same name as the game, the player and others are driven to mine for a resource called Ember that grants magical powers. Without ruining any of the story’s twists-and-turns, there’s obviously more to this ore than meets the eye.
Uncovering this is part of what drives the action in the hub world as well as the force that pushes the main quest forward. It’s just enough to keep you entertained while also creative enough to help you ignore where things don’t quite add up.
Though Torchlight eschews many of the darker themes found in the Diablo games or even the Path of Exile series, it is nonetheless a necessary title for fans of the genre. With crisp, fast-paced action that never fails to deliver a good time to a story and world that make you want to know just a little bit more, we can’t think of anything that Runic Games could have done better other than give us more of the same thing.
Luckily for players that fall in love with this, there is more to come and that’s all the more reason to get started on the saga now.