If you liked Diablo, this game is going to feel like coming home. The devs (who include some of the Diablo II team) have captured perfectly the visceral feel of the old game. It even uses many of the same keybinds – alt to look for items on the floor, shift to stand and shoot, mouse clicks to move. Even down to the music, it’s obvious where the inspiration for Torchlight is coming from (the composer had also worked on Diablo).
But influences aside, from what I’ve seen so far it’s a darned good game. It’s fast paced, pretty, adds functionality that people would have LOVED if it had been in Diablo 2, has good voicework for a little game and I’m already pondering how I can keep this post short so that I can sneak in another half hour of play before heading off out today.
Torchlight is currently a single player game with no multi-player features. The team are currently working on using it as the basis for a future F2P MMO.
If you are intrigued and want to try it, there is a demo available on Steam. The full game costs $20/£15 and there’s a free level editor included, so expect to see a lot of player generated content coming down the wires.
Some of the extra features:
- The pet. Roguelikes (the big influence for Diablo) come in two types, those with pets (nethack) and those without (angband). Torchlight lets you have a lynx or a dog. You can equip it with items, teach it spells, send it off to town to sell unwanted items, and feed it fish to give it a temporary shapeshift. You can change the pet’s stance to aggressive, defensive, or passive but other than that, it does its own thing and fights alongside you. I’m glad my RL cat can’t cast fireballs is all I’m saying.
- Fishing! While wandering the depths you may come across a fishing hole, and like any self respecting adventurer you naturally carry a fishing rod (10’ pole?) wherever you go, just in case. Fishing in this game is a simple minigame which is more fun than in any MMO I’ve ever fished. It’s hard to explain why, because you’re still sitting and waiting for your character to hook something and then clicking to pull the line at the right moment. I have some screenies below.
- Shared bank vault. You have two bank vaults, one for your character and one which is shared between all of your alts so you can save those awesome items for a future character.
- Diablo had a slightly awkward control mechanism where everything was controlled by mouse clicks and you swapped which abilities were accessed by the mouse via number keys. Torchlight is smoother, you do bind abilities to the left and right mouse button (attack seems a good one for the left click) but you can also bind abilities to number keys and use those alongside.
- TNT barrels. Everyone always liked destroying barrels, right? Well now you can take a few mobs out at the same time. This is particularly good fun with the Vanquisher who is a bow/gun user so can destroy the barrels from a safe distance.
(Edited to add: Because someone asked, it’s shift+F9 to take screenshots, and they are stored at C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\runic games\torchlight\)
More on Fishing
First, find your fishing hole.
When you click on the fishing hole, your character gets the fishing rod out and settles down to wait.
The fishing icon comes up and the two blue circles around it pulsate slowly. When they converge to make a single blue circle, you click on the hook icon….
And the fish is reeled in so that you can find out what you’ve caught.
Fish are placed directly into the fish slot in your bags, where you can mouse over to find the different buffs your pet receives when you feed it the fish.