A Dark Room – PC
Platform: PC Browser
Developer/Publisher: Doublespeak Games
Released: June 10, 2013
Genre: Text Adventure, City Builder
Nerd Rating: 7.5/10
Link to Game
You’re in a dark room and, naturally, the only thing you can do is light a fire. You stoke the fire until it is blazing and the room is warm. A stranger then stumbles into the room and your adventure begins.
A Dark Room is a text based browser game developed and published by Doublespeak Games. Since A Dark Room is a browser based game, there’s no need to wait for any kind of download to play. In other words it is always accessible; all you need is an internet connection and a computer. You can also download the A Dark Room app on a mobile device if you have iOS.
In this game you make it your goal to build and develop your village while conquering the land around you. In order to be successful, you must use the materials in the land around your Firelit Room to build services such as traps and huts for your eventual village. As your stockpile of materials grows so does your population. Eventually you reach a point were you can explore outside your village and go into the mysterious and threatening “Dusty Trail”. On this trail you encounter abandoned cities and fight vicious beasts. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something alien and inexplainable along the way.
At any given time you can see what areas are available to you at the top of the screen. The Firelit Room is the first area that will be available to you. The Firelit room is probably the most important aspect of A Dark Room. This is where you have the ability to build services for the village, craft items and buy items that you may not be able to create on your
own. I found that the layout of this section of the game is very simple and not overly crowded even when you have a large range of abilities. The narration of the game is to the left in a column, the oldest events fading into nothingness. In the middle of the screen there are the actions available to you at any given time that is sorted into categories: build, craft and buy. Then finally, on the right is your complete inventory of items. You can scroll over any of the actions to get more information on the action (e.g. to see how much wood it will cost to build a hut).
The second area at the top navigation bar is the Silent Forest/Village. In this area you have the ability to gather wood and check traps for wood, fur and meat (sometimes you get a little something extra when checking the traps). When you build up a population you can then assign jobs to the population to make specialty goods such as cured meat and leather. This is where you rack up the inventory items that make the entire game work.
Once the village (and your inventory) is developed enough A Dusty Trail opens and allows you to embark on expeditions outside of your village. This is where the conquering come in. On the Dusty Trail there are savage
beasts, old towns and cave creatures to defeat using the items that are crafted in the Firelit Room. Once they are conquered you develop roads leading to them and are able to then use those locations as outposts to replenish your water and cured meat supply while exploring. With the conquering of these locations you can find items that your village cannot produce such as bullets and medicine. The Dusty Trail contains many mysteries to be discovered but take care because your world just may fade away if you’re not careful.
A Dark Room is a well thought out game on the developers part and has many aspects of it that I would like to see in other games like it. One of these aspects is that no two games are completely alike. If you were to start your game over (or finish the game and want to play again), the second game could be entirely different from the previous game. The Dusty Trail map changes with every game so locations of town, caves and mines get shuffled around with every game. Another aspect of A Dark Room that I particularly liked was that the game saves automatically. So if you only have ten minutes to play, don’t sweat it! You can return later and pick up right where you left off.
Despite A Dark Room being an overall great game it has a few things that irked me. Firstly, when adventurers on the Dusty Trail die, you loose everything that they were carrying. It may not be a problem when you have piles upon piles of material to quickly craft more items, but when you tirelessly save up material to craft a better sword only to have your adventurer die and take the sword with it is a bit frustrating.
Also, like with many mediocre Facebook games, actions have a time buffer in order to be recharged. But this is a double edged sword of sorts. While actions like gathering wood and checking your traps take time before you can do them again it’s not an ungodly amount of time that makes you walk away to do something else while you wait. Actions typically recharge in about a minute or less. In the minute that you’re waiting there’s usually something else in the game that you can do like explore on the Dusty Trail and when you come back you can gather more wood and check more traps.
For a text based game, A Dark Room is wildly entertaining. A Dark Room is truly procrastinator’s nightmare in that it will suck you in. I spent many hours on this game when I first started playing it and I don’t regret a single minute of it. A Dark Room is a great game to play when you don’t have anything to do (or you do have something to do but don’t want to do it) or if you want to play just for kicks and giggles. Either way you won’t be disappointing.
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