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Torchlight Review -

I Went Into A Mine The Other Day

Torchlight is a rotten hole-in-the-wall mining town famous for having a soul-corrupting substance called Ember that is valuable for some reason since it has something to do with magic. For some reason determined by the character class that you pick before you begin the game, you have come to Torchlight to seek your fortune only to be arbitrarily tasked with going to the bottom of the town’s Ember mine.

What did I like about Torchlight? It was good. It was solid. It was functional. What did I not like about Torchlight? Mainly it was how it seemed like it was ONLY functional.

What I mean is that the game worked great. The interface was very responsive and streamlined, easy to understand for novices and deep enough for the veterans. Spells hurt enemies and killing blows splatter your foes satisfactorily. The character progression feels nice and each level you put into a spell makes you feel more and more powerful. Sometimes the game can feel a bit too easy, but that is when you can amp up the difficulty to Hard or Very Hard modes. Kudos should also be given to the designer for the enemies. No reskined creatures in the later levels in Torchlight. Every enemy is unique and well crafted. These are all very good aspects of the game and something that all games should aspire to have.

The sound effects are all really good, making every spell and attack satisfying with a good thwack or thunk or pew pew pew. The music is functional, but not memorable. You won’t be humming the theme to this game. I got tired of listening to it after a while and played to my own music instead. The visual style is bright and colorful, but a bit jagged. It is good, but nothing to write home about.


The story is what I described in the first paragraph. People who like stories in their games will not enjoy Torchlight’s thin excuse to send you through different levels of the old mine. Sure, it takes you cool places and you get to fight cool monsters, but there is never any reason for it except : “Oh, your soul is being corrupted by the tainted Ember in this mine!” Are you kidding me? No one tells your character that the mine is a pit that turns everyone evil and eventually kills them with Ember radiation? What about the miners? I saw one in there five minutes after I started going into the mines. Why isn’t he tainted by the insidious Ember poison? That aside, there is no reason to care about either your character or the people he meets in the town/in the mines (with the exception of a robotic bard). At one point a character died that I had known for about ten minutes and the game acted like I should really care about it.

I’m ranting. I apologize.


The Bottom Line: When I play this game I get the feeling like it was supposed to be more fleshed out, that there was supposed to be more… stuff in it. It is hard to put my finger on, but it just feels like the generic story was tacked on as an excuse to push you through the game. This isn’t a terrible problem since the overall experience in Torchlight is enjoyable.  So, while the game might be a skeleton of a greater game (I’m looking at you Torchlight 2), if you like dungeon crawlers and/or looting, you will love Torchlight. It doesn’t hurt that the game is only $20.

Go give it a whirl.


SCORE: 9.5/10

The Breakdown


Art Design:                   



Replay Value:               

Is It Fun?:                      

Recommended For:   

Town built on a well of evil needs an adventurer to save them

Colorful and inviting, but not visually impressive

A forgettable soundtrack, but satisfying sound effects

Solid gameplay experience, but not much else to keep interest



Hardcore Diablo fans

Review originally appeared on 1/14/12

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