First Impressions is a regular feature in which Mary shares her -surprise! – first impressions of a game she’s been playing while she should have been making comics.

torchlight_logoI recently got a windows laptop and was all excited to try Steam for the first time. On Christmas day, I gave myself a little present and downloaded Steam, along with the RPG Torchlight, which was running a special of only $4.99. Between WoW and STO and life, I haven’t had much time to play it, which is why this is just gonna be a “First Impressions” post.

The first the thing I noticed as I entered the game as a scantily clad vanquisher (kind of the marksman/hunter class) is that the visual design is slick and heavily World of Warcraft influenced. It’s cartoony and very fun to look at, and very impressive for the low sale price of $4.99. Essential things like skills, quests, inventory and the like are intuitive to find and navigate, and have a nice little interface in which they slide in on the right and left sides of the screen.

torchlight_binkThe story didn’t interest me too much. Something about Ember, blah blah blah. Good thing I was watching Glee at the time. But a quest got me quickly in a dungeon, where I discovered that this is a pretty standard fun dungeon hack ‘n’ slash romp. The enemies weren’t difficult, which made for a fast pace. Go go go, loot loot loot. Oh, and you get a pet! I chose a cat and named him Bink. Bink fought for me and did another really cool thing. He carries his own backpack worth of stuff for me, and when it gets full, I can send him to town to sell it all and come back! Pretty sweet.

I should mention that I’ve read that this game is a lot like Diablo 2. I can’t make my own judgement call on that, since I confess I’ve never played Diablo 2. Just thought you should know that a lot of people are making this comparison. The only comparison I can make is that it’s similar to Dungeon Hunter for the iPhone. Which, go figure, I’ve also heard compared to Diablo.

torchlight_ingameSo the thing I really can’t stand about Torchlight and has me whining whenever I launch it, is the point and click. I target with the mouse, shoot spells with the mouse, and even move with mouse – but not in my preferred method of mouse moving. (Which is my favorite MMO way – push both buttons and steer. Or hold the ‘W’ key and steer.) I actually have to point to where I want to move. And my left hand is just laying there on the keyboard, useless and bored. I’m wondering if this is how Diablo works and how all dungeon hack ‘n’ slash games work, and you’re all wondering why I’m surprised or annoyed. But look, even Dungeon Hunter on the iPhone has me using both hands – my left thumb for movement, and my right thumb for selecting attacks. I just feel so inefficient using just the one in Torchlight. There are some actions you can use the number keys for, but none of them are essential, all-the-time actions, and either way, I automatically shoot any enemy I click on.

That being said, usually after a few minutes of playing, the fun of killing and looting drowns out the whiny voice in me. Not entirely, but mostly.

Oh, and the fishing is kinda cool. Not super fun or anything, but the fish themselves are nice little prizes – you feed them to your pet so it can gain new temporary abilities. There’s also enchanting and gemming and who knows what else I haven’t gotten to explore.

I’m excited to hear that the game’s developers, Runic Games, are already in development of an MMO version of Torchlight. If the MMO can retain the wonderful design, relative low cost, and casual-friendliness that the single player game has, I certainly would want to try it.

Torchlight is sold as a digital download for Windows for $19.99 – but keep an eye out for sales if you’re interested in it.