WildTangent and Torchlight, a case for frustration

Posted by | October 31, 2009

Us voces have decided to break with tradition for once and go directly into rant mode about a video game experience rather than an outright review or a moral essay on the subject same. In this case it’s about the new game, Torchlight, which has a beautiful gaslight steampunk fantasy element (can anyone say the Alchemist and his goggles?) Needless to say, it caught our attention. Aside from the fact that it’s a blatant rip-off of Diablo via the game FATE, we still actually liked FATE and wouldn’t mind playing Torchlight.

If it would let us play it.

To stat, we downloaded the game from WildTangent. We did this because we know that we can get at least two free plays of any given game out of them, pretty much like a demo. Demos are extremely important to us because it gives us a chance to examine the game to see if we’d play it in the first place—or in the case of games we want a chance to gird our finances against market hype.

So what happens when something goes wrong?

The narrative is simple. Sweet little voces download a game, try to play them demo, and get booted out of the game before anything interesting happens. Twice. We got to see the town, talk to a couple people—whom we really wish were voiced entirely and not just stuck with text—and then bam we get kicked out and thanked for playing. Each time this happens? Mostly after checking the treasure stash, especially the one that’s marked “Shared Stash.” Needless to say, each time this happened it burned our free play and when both got fed like sacrificial offerings to the great gods of frustration we walked away empty handed.

Will we probably buy Torchlight anyway?

Yes. We probably will. However, this is a cautionary tale to distributors of demo products to spend a little bit more time making sure that they work properly because users themselves do gauge their game play and desire to get a game off the demo experience. And right now we’re not certain that our $20 might go better for buying pizza for a night of watching Bioshock or buying a new game.

Pizza at least won’t crash on it.

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