Darkwood: Early Impressions
Video created on version: Alpha 1.0
As an early access Darkwood is fairly solid. I didn't find any bugs or glitches, and the game never crashed. It does suffer from some optimization issues, mainly the long load time. As for the game it self, it's pretty enjoyable, if not, at least a unique experience.
Darkwood takes the survival horror genre and put it into a top down perspective, with an excellent aesthetic style. Visually the game is of a high caliber. The background and foreground elements are detailed and stylized, while still maintaining visual clarity so the player can easily decipher what items are interactable. The game's sound design is equally admirable. Your footsteps sound realistic and heavy, with the ground it treads on matching the steps you take. You'll hear random twig snaps, and kicks of pebbles. Crows in the distance, and animals in the shrubs, with a light but moody sound track to kick in the appropriate moments, and you have a game that's a real treat for the ears, as well as the eyes. The game's sinister atmosphere is further echoed by the use of light, both for visual interest as well as using light as a mechanics on it's own.
The game also features an interesting chapter by chapter story structure as well, with the current build being the prologue. With out giving too much away, let's say at the game's first turning point, a fairly major and unexpected reviel will instantly grab your curiosity.
Though the game is quite enjoyable even at this early stage, it's not with out it's faults. On the technical side. long load times can drive a person's patience, and the game's lack of features and options is also worth noting. Mechanically speaking once you start playing with the more sandboxy elements of the game, you could find yourself in long stretches wandering seemingly aimlessly, wondering where your next objective is, or if you're even going the "right" way. To be fair, this isn't so much a problem with Darkwood it self, but rather, a common issue with survival games in general.
Overall the game is a quality product already, and I can only see it getting better with time. I believe I can safely recommend Darkwood if you are interested in the idea of a top-down sandbox-ish survival horror.
- Great graphics
- Interesting plot
- A new take on survival horror
- Great sound design
- Good lighting
- Long load times
- Can get boring when searching for next objective
- Limited features and options
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Steam Store page for the game