It was released in the lull between Diablo 2 and 3, and it was able to successfully pay tribute to the first game while also functioning as the ideal antidote to the experience of playing Diablo 2.
A wash of color has taken the place of the grimdark fantasy aesthetic, and we're not just talking about the visual aspect of this change. It also avoided the overly dramatic narrative and dialogue in favor of genuine comedic moments. Oh, and we absolutely adored having a little pet follow us around, as well as take our loot back to town to sell while we smashed monsters into showers of candy-colored blood. It was the cutest thing ever. It was unadulterated creative thinking.
If Torchlight represented Diablo, then Torchlight 2 represented Diablo 2 in its entirety. It has its detractors, but it was certainly bigger, taking you on an adventure across a gorgeous world as opposed to merely taking place in dungeons beneath the town's namesake. In addition to that, we were given some intriguing new classes, Torchlight Infinite Items for sale, and a nice graphical update. As a matter of fact, it is still going strong to this very day because there was never a good follow-up to it.
It is unfortunate that Torchlight 3 did not follow in the footsteps of Diablo 3, which was a massively popular and long-running reimagining of the franchise. Instead, it was nothing more than... meh. It did not feel, nor did it resemble, the other two that came before it in any way. If you're a fan of the series and you play this game, you might get the impression that the developer missed the point entirely. Torchlight was never simply a generic action role-playing game in the vein of Diablo with a splash of color, but that's quite possibly the most charitable thing you could say about its threequel.
If Torchlight 3 was a letdown, then Torchlight Infinite is an insult to the player's intelligence. This most recent installment in the series (and we use that phrase as loosely as the game itself does) is free-to-play and fully cross-platform on both mobile and PC, but the former platform is the one that it appears to be targeted to.
But before we start hurling rocks of criticism at Infinite, let's talk about one aspect of the game that gets it right: the visuals. Even though it does not stand out in any way, it is still a pretty game to look at, especially on the platform on which it was originally released. We did the majority of our playing on an iPad Mini, which is still the best iOS gaming device (shush), and when we weren't so focused on how small it was, it felt very much like the original Torchlight. In particular, the character models look absolutely stunning, and the animations are done very well.
However, this is the last genuine piece of constructive criticism that I have, so let's get back on track. To put this in the most charitable light possible, Torchlight Infinite is not the same thing as Torchlight. It appears as though a publisher purchased the rights, observed the amount of money that Diablo Immortal was bringing in, and then commissioned a mobile developer to produce a game as quickly as they could in order to jump on the bandwagon. In point of fact, it's possible that this is exactly what took place.
To be fair, there is some attempt to make it feel like an actual sequel to a long-running and beloved series. However, this attempt is not very successful. For example, the visuals have a nostalgic quality, and the story, which is extremely depressing, is told through the medium of some pleasant cartoon visuals. Torchlight 2 had a nice introduction that showed the betrayal of the Alchemist and got you straight into the story. However, the sequel to Torchlight 2 just feels depressingly nonsensical and confusing.
The gameplay also does not make up for it in any way. Building a character is one of the most enjoyable aspects of playing an action RPG, but that aspect of Infinite is a complete mess. Looting can give you a bit of a rush because new equipment has a variety of stat boosts that help you fine-tune your play style; as a result, looting can be somewhat rewarding; however, everything else is just a mess. For example, the majority of skills are common to multiple characters. That sounds great in theory, but in practice, it just seems messy, and as a consequence, each class loses a little bit of the identity that makes Torchlight Infinite currency unique.
Considering how incredible the first game felt after all those years, the fact that the sequel's combat lacks any real impact is maddening. It isn't helping that we gave me the role of Moto, the Commander, as my first character; he essentially just keeps calling on other heroes over and over again but can't actually do any damage. It's basically the same as the Engineer from Torchlight 2, but worse. And then there are the talents, traits, and pacts that give the impression of being pointless time wasters that are trying to pass themselves off as having depth. Including a teeny-tiny stat increase to your minion's damage or whatever else does not constitute exciting game design.
When we started playing Torchlight Infinite, we had high hopes that it would prove to be a suitable replacement for Diablo Immortal, a game with which I've had a tumultuous relationship ever since it was released. However, unfortunately, the pay-to-win garbage is present in this game in the form of pacts, which are pets that can be unlocked using a gacha-style system.
Despite the fact that it has a lot of flaws, that game is still a lot of fun to play with other people, it has decent loot and character-building mechanics, and it has a single-player campaign that feels very authentic. Torchlight Infinite excels at none of these aspects, and as a result, we are unable to recommend it in any way.