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Here there be monsters: Darkout preview

Posted by on September 9, 2013 – 5:09 pm
You can build a sophisticated fortress to protect yourself from the harsh but beautiful world of Darkout. Image courtesy of Allgraf.com.

You can build a sophisticated fortress to protect yourself from the harsh but beautiful world of Darkout.Image courtesy of Allgraf.com.

With PC gaming being a huge platform for more independent games these days, it can be kind of difficult to weed out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Darkout is an independent sandbox style game that has recently been greenlit for distribution on Steam. With its impending wide release however, what makes this game so worth a look over the multitudes of others?

When starting Darkout, the immediate comparisons to games like Minecraft and Terraria are almost impossible to avoid. The game itself carries a lot of similarities in that its core mechanics revolve around resource gathering, exploration, and building. Where Darkout differs however, is its vivid graphics paint a visually arresting landscape that a player finds themselves scavenging to survive.

The world of Darkout is intriguing with 3D models in a two-dimensional side-scrolling area. Its use of neon and dark colors to create a lush forest populated with deadly shadow monsters, paired with the overall lack of traditional sunlight, makes for a somewhat scary experience at first boot up. The game plops the player in a randomized alien planet as the lone survivor of a space shuttle crash. The usual fair of these resource gathering games follows from there: cut down trees, get logs, build a crude shelter, figure out how to pimp it out and become queen of the lands.

There are a variety of creatures such as Jellies, that pose the worse threats to your exploration.

There are a variety of creatures such as Jellies, that pose the worse threats to your exploration.

Darkout does change things up a bit with having a sci-fi twist to its material gathering humdrum. Players are rewarded for exploration and scavenging via Research points, which can then be used to unlock sophisticated crafting items such as kevlar, plastics, jet packs, and more. It does let off of the difficulty with allowing players to keep all of their inventory items if they die, and the game auto-saves frequently to ensure not too much progress can be lost.

What’s interesting about Darkout is that it doesn’t aim to be completely different, but rather present its own twist on the popular sandbox building genre. It truly is a game that encourages the player to make their own fun (such as finding creative ways to deal with an underground spider infestation as I did), and the atmosphere alone makes it somewhat unique. While it may seem fairly barebones right now compared to other sandbox building games, the developers have stated that they plan to release patches and  even a multiplayer version of the game in the months to come.

It is worth saying that the game in its current form isn’t without its share of bugs on the PC, such as freezing with multiple menus open or getting a character stuck in an action like sleeping. However, these bugs were rectified by simply exiting and re-entering the game.

If you’re a fan of Minecraft or Terraria, Darkout may not be up your alley. However, it serves as a great starting title for those trying out a game in the sandbox-building genre. While it is awaiting distribution on Steam, it can be purchased through Gamefly, Amazon PC, and other retailers.

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