Darkout (PC) Review

By Javier Jimenez 25.01.2014

Review for Darkout on PC

In the beginning, the world was made of blocks and the people did rejoice and grabbeth their tools and mine into the earth, and they took wood and stone and tin and copper and iron and they did fashion crude homes to live in. Then bespake the Lord, "Have thee glass and silver and gold and decorate thy domiciles," and the people did as he spake and they did praise him to see the beauty. Then the first people did find diamond and rare minerals. Welcome to this latest entry into the Beyondeth the Cubeth series, focusing on Darkout

Then fathers left their families to dig. Their backs bent and their hands gnarled, they dug for days and months and years. They dug deeper and deeper until they reached the darkest blackest depths, until they dug too deep and gibbering terrors were unleashed upon the world. Then there was a great and piteous wailing upon the face of the earth, and the women did shed bitter tears upon the dry dust, and the children did cover their eyes that they not see the horror. Lo, there was a great starvation and decimation over all the lands.

Oh, Minecraft, what hast thou wrought? From Minecraft to Terraria, and from Terraria to Starbound and Darkout. Endless hours lost mining for ore, down miles into digital landscapes for copper, then iron, then…

Such a dangerous addiction!

Why has it become so popular? Is it the sense of progression? The feeling of reward after an hour's work of mining down to grab some ore or gems? The empowerment of being able to create, to craft, to build something unique all one's own, even if it's just a cruddy little mud hut? Well, yeah, all that stuff. However, does Darkout have that? Yes, it does!

Screenshot for Darkout on PC

What it doesn't have, though, is the charm of Minecraft. Dark lighting obscures most of the world's art. While it gives the game its unique style and evinces a survival horror aesthetic, it also just makes everything hard to see, and when mining into the depths to retrieve iron ore, this turns from a minor concern to an uninteresting visual experience, even when lighting one's way with torches.

This might be for the best because the game's character models - especially the enemies - are not particularly interesting, aside from some of the beautiful trees. The monsters look like they are from the earliest days of 3D gaming, as though they should be running on a Voodoo 2 graphics accelerator. Along with those low quality graphics are some of the worst attack sounds in recent memory, and 'sounds' is a generous term. They seem to be more like honking noises, which makes combat less of the tense survival horror the game claims to be and more of…well…just not.

However, it's content that's king, especially in these games. After all, while a striking visual design, Minecraft is nowhere near a graphics powerhouse. Does that mean Darkout at least wins there?

No. Bluntly, no. Darkout is currently in "Stage 1," which is to say it's good enough to play, but is filled with rudimentary content and mechanics, not the survival story it promises, not complexity and depth in its weapons and pieces of armour, not interesting semi-crafted gameplay content, nor sophistication in its gameplay.

The first time the player spends three hours gathering and crafting up to the next level of weapons, armour, and tools, only to find the most minimal increase in meaningless stats and only the slightest change in visual appearance, the answer becomes a resounding "no." The first time the player backtracks and finds that the item crates have magically respawned complete with brand new story logs, or discovers that crates are hidden behind background scenery and that the best way to explore is by constantly swinging one's weapon in order to find said crates, that "no" is doubly reinforced.

Screenshot for Darkout on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Darkout is not without charm. The gloomy visual design, while sometimes frustrating, also is distinct and evocative in a way that early Resident Evil games were. The game does have resource gathering and crafting that is functionally competent and, when the developers add more content, can be fun and rewarding. That's the crux of the problem, though. Games like this thrive on content: for instance, Starbound features semi-unique encounters, castles with kings and their knightly armies, unique weapons with interesting effects that feel like a real reward for exploring, charming sprite-based graphics. Darkout doesn't have that. It may someday, if the developer carries through on its "Stage 2-4 and onwards" plan. At that time, it might be worth the price tag of $14.99, £9.99, €11.99. As of right now, however, it is not.

Developer

Allgraf

Publisher

KISS

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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