Torchlight and Torchlight II came out during a time when I first began to get back into the PC side of gaming. Where the original Torchlight felt like a good attempt at a nuanced but mostly straightforward hack-and-slash game, its sequel felt better realized and broader in scope. Thankfully, despite being the more ambitious title, Torchlight II has translated rather well onto the Nintendo Switch.
Upon booting up the game for the first time, any doubts I had with quality assurance in regards to performance quickly disappeared as the Panic Button logo greeted my eyes. Of course, a game initially from 2012 might seem like a comfortable fit for the Switch or any of the other consoles for that matter, but hack-and-slash titles can often get pretty hectic. Thankfully, even when surrounded by hordes of enemies, loot, and background fodder, Torchlight II on the Switch—both in docked and handheld mode—felt locked to 60fps, or very close to it.
Performance isn’t the only thing that Panic Button managed to get right either. Torchlight II on the Nintendo Switch features an overhauled UI that makes the game comfortable to play in both docked and handheld mode. Each move or technique can also be remapped to any of the face buttons and triggers. Players can quickly and efficiently pick up and play the game without worrying about anything feeling like it was lost in translation from its PC roots.
I’m not a big fan of bloom in my game, but Torchlight II is definitely an exception. Visually the title looks similar to something like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, with character models and environments appearing chunkier and larger to that of other popular, hack-and-slash titles within the same genre. The milder, cartoon-like aesthetic allows Torchlight II to feel right at home on the Nintendo Switch, making it an appropriate family-friendly title. Unfortunately, it would have been nice to see the addition of local multiplayer, as the game begs to be played with friends on the couch or with a split pair of Joy-Cons.
It might not be too surprising, but Torchlight II is best enjoyed in handheld or tabletop mode. Torchlight II, even when outputted to a larger HDTV looks great, but the game truly shines and looks especially sharp when enjoyed on the Switch’s 6.2” 720p screen.
For my playthrough, I chose the Berserker class, which feels like a mix between a typical-warrior with the added personality of a thief or rogue. Other classes in the game include the Embermage, Engineer, and the Outlander.
Regardless of class, all characters also come equipped with a pet, which essentially acts as an AI-controlled companion that fights alongside the player (with the addition of having their own equipment tree). Those who pre-order the game will be delighted to know that they will have access to the Nintendo Switch exclusive pet, Yapper, from the forthcoming Torchlight Frontiers. I enjoyed trying Yapper out, mostly due to how big he was in relation to my player character.
One notable difference Torchlight II has compared to other hack-and-slash games is that the title features an open-world. Ultimately, the choice of an open world makes the game feel similar to an MMORPG in its structure, while also providing a decent sense of discovery that isn’t present in more level-based titles.
My favourite aspect of Torchlight II in terms of gameplay is how weighty and distinct the combat feels, even amongst similar classes. Perhaps due to the bigger character models, but something about each attack and movement animation makes the moment to moment gameplay that much more engaging, almost to the level of a more traditional action-oriented experience.
Another area in which Torchlight II excels, in terms of design, is its clear descriptions and menus. Everything from NPCs to the mysterious grottos and caves that the dot game world are clearly labelled, making it easy for both new and old players to jump in and have a good time.
Torchlight II may just be the best bang for your buck port for the Switch. The main campaign can last anywhere from 20 to 25+ hours, making the game an ideal choice for players looking for a decently long game they can also play with their friends.