Torchlight Mobile Preview

Torchlight Mobile isn't light on the features.

Diablo used to be the undisputed king of PC dungeon-crawlers, but fans were split on what game should rule the roost after Torchlight was released in 2009. With Torchlight Mobile, gamers will be able to team up to explore dungeons and slay hordes of monsters while on the go. Unlike most mobile games, this title looks to be fairly elaborate and it offers an intuitive control system that's suited for mobile devices.

Thankfully, much more effort was put into crafting this ARPG than was put into creating its generic name. The story takes place concurrently with Torchlight II and tells the tale of promising adventurers who fight off corruption at every turn. Ember is still a mystical mineral that's highly sought after because it provides energy to power devices and also infuses objects with magical abilities. As a result, evil is drawn to areas where Ember is harvested, entire towns can be overrun with evil, and friends can quickly turn into enemies.

During my short time playing the game, I was awestruck with how gorgeous the world is as well as the intricate details of the characters within. In addition, combat is extremely fluid despite having flashy special effects attached to certain moves, and the sound effects are spot-on. This definitely looks like a Torchlight game despite the hardware limitations of the iPhone 6 and iPad 4. Hopefully, the online co-op gameplay will be free of problems, but it wasn't on display at this time.

What really impressed me was the exceptional control scheme that enhanced, rather than detracted, from the gaming experience. It's cool how the developers mimic the layout of a standard controller on the screen of mobile devices. The left side controls direction while the right side has a large button surrounded by smaller ones that are all used for combat. Pressing the large button initiates a basic attack while the smaller ones have more powerful attacks assigned to them. This layout allowed me to roll into fights and focus on fighting enemies rather than fighting the controls.

Since I played both a low-level and a high-level character, I was able to see the differences in my demo character's power thanks to deep customization and character progression. The final version will offer extensive weapon and gear customization and four classes to play. My low-level Engineer had only one special attack while my high-level Engineer had his basic attack plus four special attacks at his disposal. After taking a few moments to familiarize myself with his abilities, fighting a boss enemy was enjoyable and provided much more of a challenge than his minions.

I am concerned, however, with the focus on extremely short missions that last under five minutes each. That seems like long enough to become invested in a level. It's also too early (in pre-alpha) to tell if this free-to-play game will frustrate players with an annoying need to pay to actually enjoy the gameplay, or if it can be fun without shelling out a single dime. If this can be worked out, then playing Torchlight Mobile will be a great way to kill time, and monsters, away from home.