You intrepid heroes hear a spooky sound, hold hands, and interact with an oven. Darkwood faces the CHAIRQUISITION!

Game: Darkwood
Webzone: Darkwood
Devel: Acid Wizard Studio
Engine: Unity
Price: £11.99 / US$ 14.99 / CA$ 16.99

Wazzat: Darkwood – a new perspective on survival horror. Scavenge and explore a rich, ever-changing free-roam world by day, then hunker down in your hideout and pray for the morning light.

Mandatory Disclosure: They sent us keys


CHAIRQUISITION:
CHAIR– Nooope

CHAIRCHAIR– Not sure if want

CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR– Check it out

CHAIRCHAIRCHAIRCHAIR– Shutupandtakemymonies


Makes with the working

V-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • It has a constant slight flickering on the right side of my monitor.
  • It’s subtle as hell but caused me to launch something elks to see if it was a hardware issue.

J-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • It has some issues with alt-tabbing. Even with steam overlay
    • Also separate X screens
  • No cloud sync either

P-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIRCHAIR


Total-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR


Shiny / Sounds

V-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • The pixel graphics and the still images clash, hard.
  • I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because it tells us the studio was going for a certain style.
  • While I don’t like hipster-pixel bullsh*t I can easily tolerate it when done correctly.
  • At first glance it looks like your standard fare butt pay attention and you will see all the low-res intricacy.
  • Like most good survival horror games Darkwood relies on sound.
  • Not only does it rely on it it manages to nail it.
  • Shite son, a top-down pixel game got a legit jump out of me.

J-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • Acoustically this game is fantastic
  • They really nailed the creepy atmosphere. The line of sight mechanic also works really well at giving you just enough information to get yourself in and sometimes out of trouble
  • Visually, It’s a top down pixel game. The sprites are well defined enough to roughly make out what they are. Objects are a bit of a crapshoot

P-CHAIRCHAIR

  • Weren’t it for the shitty pixelated graphics and the same boring top down view, every low budget game and their grandma use these days, I would be more than alright giving it 4 chairs.
  • The non-pixely art style and sound design, give this game a really good, very tense atmosphere.
  • Not too dissimilar to what you got in the Penumbra series.
  • Unfortunately, for it’s day Penumbra look alright.
  • In 2017, Darkwood looks bad.

Total-CHAIRCHAIR


Control

V-CHAIRCHAIR

  • The game talks about not holding your hand but explains 95% of everything when you play the prologue.
  • On top of that it gives you extra instructions in-game IF you pay attention.
  • That said everything related to controls in Darkwood is either wicked-clunky or BAD.
  • Clunky: Inventory and crafting work but they are far from intuitive.
  • Bad: Moving like a goddamn MECH. STHAP!
  • If I can run one way and shoot another something has went, wrong.
  • Tonnes of survival horror use this movement system so I’m not just picking on Darkwood.
  • However, there are parts in the game where you need to get the lead out and moving (at speed) with any accuracy genuinely feels like i’m fighting the game.

J-CHAIRCHAIR

  • I couldn’t find a control scheme I really liked for this game
  • It does the brigador style tank movement, so I’m not too fond of keyboard and mouse.
  • The default Xbox/PS4 bindings are jank
  • I found a half decent steam controller config, but it doesn’t have any inventory management buttons that work
  • The controls do make sense in a resident evily style. Combat is very stilted, meaning you gotta dodge where you can and play it safe. It jacks up the tension
  • However, death has minimal penalties

P-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • I was going to give it 4 chairs but then I remember that deliberately, artificially inflating the difficulty of your game by not explaining over half of the stuff needed is very much a user experience issue.
  • And no, telling me in a loading screen the game doesn’t hold my hand isn’t doing you any favors.
  • There’s not holding one’s hand and there’s deliberate information withholding.
  • Outside of that, it controls exactly as jankily as many horror games in the past did.
  • Which I now recognize as a way of convening to the player that their character is not a one man army, power house, a la Sam Stone.
  • Their weak, survivors in a hostile place.

Total-CHAIRCHAIR


FUN

V-CHAIR

  • Interact with the oven and it will save the game #protip
  • Shite is tense, yo.
  • That’s tricky to pull off with top-down pixel business.
  • However top-down anything is tricky in 2017 since it’s the first sign of low effort shovelware bullshit in the genre of survival horror.
  • I lasted 96 minutes before running out of FKs to give so it has that going for it.
  • I’m not saying Darkwood is a bad game, hell, it’s the best of of these EXACT SAME GAME i’ve had the pleasure of spending a little time with.
  • Graphics, meh.
  • Controls, ICK.
  • Game, you got one interesting story going on there Brad and I want to know more but I just don’t see it happening.

J-CHAIR

  • Survival horror’s always been a tough sell for me
  • I’m pretty sure Alien Isolation is the only game in the genre I enjoy
  • This game does some interesting things to create tension
  • The convoluted controls mean you can’t react quickly to changing situations, your limited line of sight and finite light sources mean that you’re often working with limited information, and all the while you’re scrambling to find things you can use to craft shit.
  • That’s all well and good, but I found the game itself to be kinda boring
  • The lack of information means I just wander around aimlessly trying to get a more and more complete map
  • But then nothing happened. I met a wolf man, went into a house where the floor killed me, got high on spores. But it didn’t really amount to all that much
  • Which also helps boil down the problem I have with these survival crafty games. You gotta keep me interested enough to keep building shit and progressing the tech tree
  • But you didn’t brad.

P-CHAIR

  • This game disappointed me in Early Access.
  • At first I thought “Another survival game with crafting from a top down perspective”.
  • Then there was the whole horror theme, which reminds me of a cross between Blair Witch and Silent Hill, two series of horror games I very much enjoyed playing.
  • So I gave it a chance and played it during the Alpha.
  • It was literally a survival game with crafting where you had to grind for everything and the day/night cycle happened so fast, you couldn’t really do anything else besides the basic survival grind.
  • “Fuck it, then! I’ll come back to it when it’s finished.”
  • It’s finished now and while you have a little bit more time to scrounge for shit during the day, it’s still almost goddamn impossible to make any degree of progress.
  • The best weapon I could craft was a board with nails and it broke after killing 2 dogs.
  • Suffice it to say, the other two dogs in the pack made short work of me.
  • If you’re giving me an option to defend to myself, I’m going to rely on it.
  • If you spit in my face and kill my character for relying on the game’s own mechanics, I’m going to stop playing your game and just not care.
  • As much as I like the atmosphere and the theme, the lack of a proper story and poorly implemented mechanics make this particular fan of the horror genre very disappointed in Darkwood.
  • I really, really wanted to like this game.

Total-CHAIR


Final –CHAIRCHAIR

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