E3 2015: On The Go With Torchlight Mobile

One of the best dungeon crawlers to ever successfully challenge Diablo was Runic Games’ Torchlight. It was an incredibly colorful, lively and highly entertaining RPG that had players running through dungeon, collecting glorious loot. Due to its success, a sequel was released three years later, introducing a much more diversified and massive world. This included far more enemy types, a lengthier story, new character classes and so much more. Well it has been another three years since that was published, and while we don’t know what Runic Games is up to at the moment, the Torchlight franchise continues forward.

Fedeen Games is working with the Seattle-based studio to create a dungeon crawler experience on mobile devices. They are bringing the Torchlight experience to both tablets and smartphones, and at E3 2015 last week, we were able to get our hands on the ambitious title, getting a good idea of how the transition has been. It should be noted that, while it’s called Torchlight Mobile, this isn’t a direct port of the original Torchlight game released in 2009. Fedeen Games is restructuring the entirety of the campaign by creating its own unique storyline that takes place in the same world, but features an entirely new cast of characters and events.

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As its title may suggest, Torchlight Mobile has been designed specifically for a mobile experience. Torchlight has always been a game that takes a long time to get through a dungeon, but Torchlight Mobile is focused on bringing quicker dungeon exploration that takes no time at all. So for example, it may take the player a minute to two minutes to complete a dungeon, but at the same time, extending replayability by adding challenges such as finishing levels under a certain amount of time or performing certain actions while in the match. As a free-to-play title, there are some limitations to the gameplay, but they’re centered mainly on stamina that’s recharged as time progresses. It doesn’t seem to get in the way of gameplay at all as, due to its pick-up and play nature, it should satisfy most when playing in short bursts.

Torchlight Mobile also features brand new character classes to choose from. You have the standard Engineer that is iconic from the first game, but there’s also Emberblade, which is a melee warrior, Kitsune, who is the first non-human class and is a ranged mage, and one more character that hasn’t been announced yet. We rolled with the Kitsune class as she’s a rather charming mage and her abilities range from standard attacks to special skills such as shooting a beam of devastating light from her staff. As you progress you will unlock more of these abilities. There are also 25 different pets to be found at launch, with the one in the build we were able to play being an adorable panda. The pets can be enhanced by consuming fish, which is one of the many fun activities that can be had in the main hub town area. While not in the build they had at E3, both PVP and multiplayer will be coming when the game launches, along with guilds and cooperative play, although details weren’t given at this time.

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Most games on mobile devices have had a hard time emulating controls in three dimensions. Fedeen has done a spectacular job in creating a control scheme that is both intuitive and easy to use on both tablets and smart phones. It’s as simple as putting your left thumb on the screen and pressing whichever direction you wish and it will adapt as you move. The touchscreen user interface is sizable so you won’t be accidentally press the wrong buttons, while at the same time maintain a strong article design. As for content, again, this isn’t Fedeen copy and pasting the content from Runic Games’ Torchlight, but creating new experiences that fit in the mobile space. For example, there will be levels that don’t rely on the isometric camera angle and will be more of a 2D side scroller. In addition, there are three different sections of the game to progress through, but once you finish one, a hard mode will be unlocked, allowing players to obtain more experience and get better gear.

Torchlight Mobile is the real deal. If you’re a fan of the original Torchlight, or Torchlight 2, and always wanted to play it on the go, now you can do so while not worrying about an intrusive free-to-play system. This is a whole new experience that meshes well with the dungeon crawling aspects of most RPGs, and while Fedeen hasn’t pinned down an exact date just yet, it can’t get here any sooner. Torchlight Mobile will be released on Android and iOS sometime this year.