Torchlight is an action role-playing game where the player battles through cavernous dungeons. With randomly generated levels and an intense focus on the power of inventory, the game bears significant similarities to roguelikes, although the effects-heavy 3D graphical interface is nothing like the standard for that genre.
The player controls a character who may be one of three familiar warrior classes: the mage, the melee combatant, and the stealthy archer (being, as video game stereotyping dictates, the woman of the three). This character has spells and attributes that, while shaped by the character class, are ultimately selected by the player as the character gains levels by accruing kill-based experience.
There is a plot, but it's somewhat poorly scripted, and the real pleasure lies in the gradual acquisition of increasingly powerful abilities and items that make complex combative strategies possible. Bosses and mini-bosses frequent the caves, and destroying them can provides a level up in fame, a parallel to experience that can also be gained by completing side quests. Also particularly notable is the fact that every character has a pet, which both assists in combat and can, perhaps even more helpfully, take a bunch of items to the surface to be sold so that the character doesn't have to make the long trek back just to clear some space in their inventory.
Sam's Protip: The merchant in town who can combine items only combines gems of identical type and quality, producing more potent gems. Also, the two treasure chests in town can hold different stashes of items. And removing a socketed gem will destroy either the gem or the item it's socketed to. All of these things could have been made much clearer in-game...
- Massively complex but well-designed equipment and spell system
- Multiple options upon death based on what you're willing to part with
- Innumerable dungeon permutations available to explore
- Interface could benefit from some fine-tuning
- Big chunks of voiceover dialogue are hard to be patient for
- Cannot change difficulty level mid-game