Torchlight Infinite (opens in new tab), the latest game in the ARPG series after 2020's mixed bag, Torchlight 3, has entered a closed playtest on Steam ahead of a planned October release. Infinite is free-to-play, loot-focused, and also releasing on mobile.
I have fond memories of Torchlights 1 and 2, released in 2009 and 2012 respectively. Torchlight was one of the first entries of the 2010s revitalization of top-down, loot-heavy ARPGs like Diablo 3 and Path of Exile, and remains unique with its vibrant art style and simpler, easier to grasp build crafting. Developer Runic Games was shuttered by its owners, Perfect World, in 2017, with development on Torchlight 3 handed off to San Francisco-based Echtra Games.
We weren't enamored with Torchlight 3. In his review (opens in new tab), Luke Winkie gave it a 60%, remarking midway through that "It was about the 12th time in a row that I found myself delving into a cookie-cutter dungeon in order to finish yet another uninspired quest that I began to notice what was missing was more than what was there."
Perfect World has now given the franchise to Shanghai-based XD Inc (opens in new tab). In promo for Infinite, XD highlights the game's build and ability variety, loot grinding, and in-game auction house. On the game's monetization, XD describes Infinite as "burden-free gaming," and while "exclusive drops" can only be achieved via grinding, players can "Further [their] personal visions on builds and appearance from available microtransactions."
Infinite could very well wind up being a fun, fair take on the F2P loot-em-up. Even if it isn't, fellow PC ARPG convert Diablo Immortal (opens in new tab) proved that it's at least a very lucrative prospect (opens in new tab). Either way, this doesn't exactly scream Torchlight to me. The "ultimate free market" and "grind to get it all" promised by Infinite seem as far as can be from the plucky, laid-back Diablolike I enjoyed back in 2009. If you're interested in Infinite, you can wishlist it on Steam (opens in new tab) and apply for the closed playtest.