Arachnophobes, look away now. Spiders come swarming for you in Torchlight III, spitting poison and fire. But then so do the skeletons. And the goblins. And the rats. And the brutes. Often, they’ll flock together.
No surprise there if you played the previous dungeon-crawling role-playing games (RPGs) in the series, which has always been overshadowed by genre king Diablo. This third instalment started life as a free-to-play multiplayer RPG before pivoting back to what it knows best — a loot-hunting brawler that can be played by up to four heroes in co-op.
With Diablo 4 not due for release until some time next year, Torchlight III fills the gap nicely. It develops an engagingly intricate combat system that goes far beyond hammering the attack button to slay inexhaustible hordes of monsters.
It demands you juggle spells, manage cooldowns and co-operate with other players to avoid being overwhelmed by sheer numbers of enemies. It can be a bit mindless compared with some RPGs — both in action and in terms of levelling up. The base-building mode also seems a pointless overhang from the game’s earlier direction.
But Torchlight III has enough shiny loot and sparkle to capture the attention of Diablo fans counting down the days until next year.
It takes a little time to adjust your eyes to Cloudpunk. What first appears a retro dusting of pixel art floating in a pitch-black sky reveals itself as a densely detailed futuristic city pulsing with life.
Drawing liberal inspiration from Blade Runner with its neon skyline and throbbing synth soundtrack, the game wants to be a cyberpunk thriller in which a courier gets pulled into dark dealings. But it hangs that hat on the hook of a pedestrian gameplay loop that often involves just driving a hover-car from A to B.
At least then you get to admire the frequently impressive graphical style, and some decent voice-acting props up the unspooling plot as you zip around. It loses some of its lustre, though, when you reach the ground. The awkward perspective makes navigation a chore and prominent bugs become harder to ignore.
Still, for its clever aesthetics and unconventional attempt at storytelling, Cloudpunk deserves a little attention.