Darkout PC Review
Darkout is a sometimes fresh, sometimes derivative entry into the genre of 2D sandbox gaming. The litmus test for this type of game is and will remain Terraria. While Terraria itself could be considered a 2D version of Minecraft, it ended up as such a refined, focused game that it forged its own lineage. Does Darkout do enough to differentiate itself from Terraria or is it simply a clone?
Minecraft, and its 2D counterpart Terraria, are the leaders in the world of sandbox games of this ilk. Darkout, for all of its attempts to differentiate itself, is simply an unrefined clone that is hampered by the interface the player is subjected to. The improvements in graphics and the sci-fi aesthetic do little to hide the fact this is a less refined version of its progeny.
In the still-blossoming genre of 2D sandbox games, one of the highlights of Darkout is its graphics. Most of the games in this genre are blocky and pixellated as an aesthetical design. Darkout has chosen to move the genre in a more adult direction and create a very dark, Avatar styled world. The visual style isn’t perfect, but it is all-encompassing. The interplay of dark versus light is very well realized. The problem is the fight against darkness isn’t as important to the gameplay as you might expect. Fighting constant enemies is certainly easier when you are able to see them coming, but it isn’t the defensive maneuver the game would lead you to believe.
The soundtrack is nearly transparent in Darkout. The background melody is repetitive and lacks any dynamics. Whether you are fighting a tough enemy or simply digging yet another hole, the music is the same. The sound effects are usual fair for the few actions that exist in the game, but nothing aurally impresses.
You are stranded on an alien planet with limited resources and must survive. At this point in Darkout that is the entirety of its narrative. For a game such as this, that would probably be enough story were it not for the Fuji sized hill the player must overcome to simply understand the basics of play. There is very little in the way of explanation of the inner workings of the gameplay, or what the game deems as good or bad actions.
The basic premise of Darkout is a randomly generated world for the player to explore, conquer, and survive. Do you like to dig, mine, and build new technology? If so, buy Darkout without a second thought. If, like me, you are easily bored by the 30th or 40th click to dig dirt it hopes of a few more raw materials, move along. This isn’t the game you’re looking for. The gameplay is so hampered by the complexity of the interface that it is frustrating to any new player. It is a learning curve that can be overcome, but few players are likely to stick it out.
Darkout has room to grow. Terraria no longer resembles the game that originally launched and is a much more refined game for it. Darkout, too, can morph itself into a very enjoyable entry into 2d sandbox gaming. The developers have stated they are willing to listen to player feedback and grow Darkout into the game people want to play. Adding a more advanced tutorial, an actual narrative, and a little housekeeping of the interface could bring this title from the darkness into the light.
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