Torchlight II is an action RPG that serves the role of a more light-hearted (but still incredibly fun) alternative to the Diablo series on the Nintendo Switch.
Torchlight II is an action RPG from 2012 that has been ported to modern systems, including the Nintendo Switch, for the first time. It's not hard to realize what game series inspired the creation of Torchlight II, but that doesn't stop it from being a fun game that follows the tried and true tradition of slaying monsters in order to steal their possessions.
The story of Torchlight II continues on from the first game in the series, as the Alchemist protagonist of Torchlight has been corrupted by the Ember Blight and has fallen to evil. The player takes on the role of a new hero, who must go on a quest to save the world from the possessed Alchemist, which involves seeking out the six Elemental Guardians for their aid in protecting the elements of the natural world. The part of the story concerning the protagonist of the first game being corrupted by evil and becoming the villain of the second game is also the premise of Diablo II, which is just one of the many comparisons that exist between these two series.
The player character in Torchlight II is a member of one of four classes, who each possess their own unique trio of skill trees. The Berserker class specializes in lightning-fast melee combat, summoning spirit animals to their side, and calling on the power of the elements, while the Engineer class relies on steampunk technology to smash the enemy with powerful heavy weapons and destructive gadgets that can take down foes. The Embermage is the spellcasting class that specializes in fire, ice, and lightning magic, while the Outlander is a ranged class that uses archery to slay foes from afar. The player can also choose a pet character to fight alongside them throughout the game, with creatures ranging from badgers and cats to the headcrabs from Half-Life.
The gameplay of Torchlight II will be familiar to anyone who has played an entry in the Diablo series. Torchlight II is never going to win any awards for innovation or originality, as the gameplay is so close to that of the Diablo series that you would be forgiven for thinking that it's a mod for Diablo III. This might sound like a criticism, but Torchlight II retains all of the addictive and fun gameplay of the series that inspired it. There is a lot of fun to be had in cleaving through hordes of monsters in a fast-paced combat environment, while slowly learning new skills and finding more powerful gear to make the player character stronger. The sheer range of foes and their different combat abilities mean that the player will need to keep switching up their combat style, as they go from facing hordes of small rat creatures that try to overwhelm them, who are followed by a lumbering giant with a deflector shield. These unique combos of enemies and abilities are a constant thorn in the player's side and working out the best way to overcome them is one of the joys of Torchlight II.
The visuals of Torchlight II are dated, which is to be expected of a port of a game from 2012, but the cartoonish aesthetic of the characters and monsters means that not much is lost in the transition to a new generation of systems. The same cannot be said for the backgrounds, with many of the overworld maps and dungeons featuring a barebones design that becomes tedious to look at when exposed to the same areas for a long period of time. There are a few dungeons which feature exciting and unique designs (such as the Egyptian tomb-inspired dungeon at the end of Act II), but these are few and far between.
Torchlight II has a meaty campaign that is light on story but is filled with dungeons to explore and mobs of enemies to slay. The player need not take this journey alone, as there is a four-player co-operative multiplayer mode that lets groups of adventurers play together online. The Nintendo Switch version of Torchlight II runs perfectly fine in handheld mode without any concessions in terms of graphical or performance prowess, but this version also has some minor bugs that were noticeable throughout the game, such as information not displaying correctly on the Attributes screen. The developers are promising to address these issues in a patch that will be launched shortly after Torchlight II is released.
Torchlight II is being released at a budget price of twenty dollars, which is a bargain for the sheer amount of content that is on offer. The fact that it's competing on systems that already have improved versions of Diablo III that feature all of its DLC and seasonal events might put a dampener on Torchlight II's chances of finding an audience on new systems, as it doesn't have quite as much to offer in terms of content. If the player is looking for a fun action RPG that can be enjoyed with friends, then they can't go far wrong with Torchlight II, especially if they aren't fond of the grimdark setting of the series that inspired it.
Torchlight II is available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Screen Rant was provided with a digital copy of the Nintendo Switch version of the game for the purposes for this review.