Darkout is an unapologetic game about a world enveloped in darkness. You’re a lone survivor and you need to gather the necessary materials to survive – and it’s as simple as that. This game blends sci-fi and old tech as you take on the role of a survivor from a hibernated vessel in space.
Don’t be surprised if you’re wielding a gun and a hatchet. It just happens.
The game follows a similar concept to voxel-based randomly generated games (ie: Minecraft, Terraria) which plays as a platforming “sandbox” game with an intense survival-horror element built in. Darkout is exactly as you’d expect – a dark world, filled with surprises waiting to end you. The devs state the following in regards to those making the claim that the game is just a “Terraria rip-off.”
Even though we are not completely reinventing the wheel, we would like Darkout to stand on its own feet as something fresh and equally fun to play. To explore a world you have never seen before, in a familiar but tweaked game experience.
That reads to me as a company that is aware certain games inspired and motivated the creation of Darkout without being an outright rip-off, which it is by no means a rip-off. This is the type of game that fans of the voxel-based sandbox games, and survival-horror games like Deadlight will find right in their wheelhouse.
So where do we start?
The game steps away from the traditional voxel-based graphics common with these sandbox games and shifts into a lush and beautiful 3d setting with vibrant colors. You almost feel bad while chopping down the tree until it comically falls apart into 2d blocks that made me raise a brow at first glance. Peculiar? Yes. Did it bother me? Not really.
Once you’ve established a foothold by chopping down a small forest and building your first secured home, you can begin to venture into the world. Most of the resources you’ll need are underground and require you to fight your way through waves of difficult and unrelenting enemies that *will* be the death of you numerous times. Currently the only loss for death is your armor, which can be a pain to craft again encouraging you to seek out your grave.
In addition to contending with the elements, the vicious animals, and your own capacity to move your character, you’ll have to battle the darkness. Your light sources (glow stick, flares, torches) will be your saving grace and you will be encouraged to plaster them everywhere, particularly around your “home base” to secure it from additional spawning. Fortunately each number slot (hotkey) has a “left click” and “right click” option, allowing you to hold a torch in one hand and a sword in the other – while you can’t use them simultaneously it makes the switch between light and survival that much quicker (and more important).
Which brings us to what these bad guys are all about – they’re all about ending you. You’re a stranger on their planet and they apparently dislike that, so everything you come across is going to make multiple attempts to turn you into canned tuna. The downside? They’re really good at doing that, sometimes frustratingly so. Don’t be surprised if you have to sacrifice your equipment to the denizens of the planet because there’s no way to get back to it.
To make enemies that much more dangerous, the light (or lack thereof) is your worst enemy, with enemies blending into the minor glows and dark surroundings leading to some panic-induced situations with surprise beasts gnawing at your jugular.
It’s fun, but it can also suck sometimes. Flying jellyfish are no joke.
In order to survive some of these beasts you’ll need to combine wit and equipment, while combat is straightforward you’ll find yourself switching hotkeys often (because of the ability to equip two items per “number” you’ll likely want to pair up your weapon with some form of light source.
To pick up new equipment you’ll have to invest into research, some which you’ll have right at the beginning and others you’ll discover while exploring the lush planets. What this game gives you is an opportunity, whether you want to explore, build, or fight you’ll find what you’re looking for.
This is one of the latest iterations in sandbox gaming with several mechanics that improve the genre. It’s not a clone of a preexisting game and it presents some unique features that gamers will come to love. While the combat (and monsters in general) are relentless and challenging, particularly early on in the game, you’ll find yourself constantly rewarded for exploring dangerous areas. Whether it’s a new chest or something new to research, you’ll go from a helpless survivor to a powerful explorer.
If you find yourself struggling at first then seek out some of the beginners guides that are out there. There are plenty to get you started, and there’s a few tricks that aren’t explicitly stated at the start of the game. If you want to learn them all on your own – then be wild and be free.
You can also watch the trailer below:
Darkout was reviewed using a downloadable code provided by the development team, our review ethic can be seen here.