Torchlight For Linux Review

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Randomization – Our level layouts are randomly created, so each adventure is unique. Monsters, treasures, puzzles, and items are also different each time you embark on an adventure.
  • (4 more, see all...)

Tochlight is an RPG developed by Runic, a very small studio that managed to impress everyone with their skill and speed.

Action RPGs will always be compared with the games from the Diablo franchise. Blizzard has turned a small genre into a mammoth, and it’s hard for anyone to make games that are capable of withstanding the comparison.

The recipe for an action RPG is simple. Players get to choose from a few classes of warriors and start on an adventure that is more oriented on looting and killing enemies, than on a story per se. Unlike classical RPGs, the player’s choices are limited and they don’t usually affect the storyline.

Torchlight has taken this seemingly simple recipe and made a game that stands on its own. Sure enough, some elements found in Diablo games, especially the ones related to design, can be found in Torchlight, but the entire package has a unique feel and atmosphere.

Installation

We acquired Torchlight with the latest Humble Bundle. The developers only offer one package, a .sh installer. The great thing about it is the fact that it comes bundled with all the dependencies, and they are quite a lot if you take the time to read the installation file.

Another plus of the installation is that the developers have provided the sources, packaged in an installer that compiles the game on the spot. The installation procedure is simple, but even if it takes a little longer, it’s worth it. There is no need for separate packages, for 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

In the meantime, the game also appeared on the Ubuntu Software Center platform, but the installation process is not transparent.

In any case, if you purchased the game with the Humble Bundle, just open a terminal and execute the following commands.

sudo chmod a+x Torchlight-2012-09-26
./ Torchlight-2012-09-26


Just follow the onscreen commands and it should be ready in no time. Make sure you have the root password before you start installing the game. Also, the name of the file might be a little different if the developers chose to update the game.

Story and Gameplay

The player arrives in the mining town of Torchlight, but this is no ordinary mine. The game world is rich in a mineral called ember, which is found in abundance especially under the city. Moreover, this mineral is known to give items magical qualities, not to mention the effect it can have on people.

The character starts with a simple quest from an NPC who wants to find his lost mentor, Master Alric. Short of spoiling the game, the ember is not what it seems, the mine is not what it seems, and Master Alric is not who he’s touted out to be.

The gameplay is classical for an action role-playing game, but with a few twists that make Torchligh unique in some ways. As I said before, the player gets to choose from a selection of three really different characters.

The first one is called a Destroyer and he is basically a warrior specialized in melee combat. The second character is the Vanquisher, a character specialized in ranged weapons, and the third one is the Alchemist, or a mage in any other game.

Every one of them starts with specific skill trees and every time the player reaches another level, he gets to spend five points to enhance the characters attributes, and another one for the skill tree.

At the selection screen, players can also choose a pet, from a selection of three animals: Dog, Cat, and a Ferret. The role of the pet in Torchlight is important as it circumvents a problem that affects most RPG, the inventory.

Besides being able to fight and receive magical abilities from fish (you can also fish, just like in Fable), the animal can be sent back to town, with the items you want to sell from the inventory.

The most important aspect of Torchlight is the procedural generation of levels. Every time you start a game and enter a dungeon, it’s generated on the spot (with the exception of the town itself). This ensures a new gaming experience every time you start with a new character.

Graphically speaking, besides a nasty bug that we’ll mention later, the game has an excellent art design and it looks on par with a lot of today’s titles. Keep in mind that Tochlight was originally launched back in 2009.

The Bad

There is just one major flaw with the game, which is yet to be rectified. The characters look normal at the beginning of the game, but once the player starts finding pieces of armor, the head of the character disappears.

The game itself was not ported to Linux by Runic Games, but by another studio called OutOfOrder Games. I don’t want to be mean, but the name of the studio fits the situation. I’m not the only one to experience this problem and Runic Games has made no effort, so far, to correct the error.

The Good

Torchligh is a lighthearted experience. It’s not something you play for the story, but mostly for the fun experience and for the loot.

It’s not redefining action role-playing games, but it's certainly an improvement of an ancient recipe. It has a fluid fighting mechanic that is thoroughly satisfying and the entire atmosphere begs the player’s attention.

Conclusion

Besides the graphical bug that I hope will be sorted soon, Torchlight has no rival on the Linux platform, at least not for now. It’s a great RPG and it will keep players interested with an approach that is vigorously refreshing.


user interface 3
features 4
ease of use 4
pricing / value 4


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 
NEXT REVIEW: Rochard for Linux

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