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Darkout Reviewed

By Nathaniel Liles

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The game actually looks really nice, and the lighting works really well.
The game actually looks really nice, and the lighting works really well.

There’s a special kind of feeling you get when you fire up a good game. The excitement. The rush. The certainty that you’ll be able to play for more than 10 minutes without a game-breaking glitch occurring. Unfortunately, when I fire up Darkout, I feel none of that. All those feelings of hope and wonder are replaced by a deep fear of my gaming session ending with my Task Manager open. As the great Shakespeare once said, “What light, through yonder gameplay breaks?” Did Darkout have its redeeming factors, though? Is it a good game with unfortunately unstable code, destined for greatness but ahead of its time? Well let’s take a closer look, shall we?

When it comes right down to it, Darkout is a very simple game, and if you’ve played Terraria, you’ve played a far superior version of Darkout. It pains me to say it, too, because I love it when a procedurally generated game tries something new, but Darkout played it way too safe and just comes off as derivative and forced. It’s 2D Minecraft, for those of you who haven’t played Terraria, and for those of you who haven’t played Minecraft, it’s living LEGOs, which is an awesome concept that some people take to extraordinary levels, but Darkout takes none of that creative spirit with it and makes it a game that is, at its core, about survival and nothing else.

The planet has caves, mountains, vegetation, and lifeforms, but there's not much to do other than dig.
The planet has caves, mountains, vegetation, and lifeforms, but there’s not much to do other than dig.

The game takes place almost entirely in the dark, with little difference between day and night, and you start the game as the sole survivor of a crash. Your space vessel is then emptied out and scrapped for resources that enables you to go out into this new, dangerous world and survive against a plethora of creepy crawly things that don’t much care for soft lighting. Now, the first thing you do in a game like this is build a house, but the way you do that in Darkout is the opposite of user friendly. The tutorial is terrible, giving you no feedback in regards to whether or not you’re doing things right, and consisting entirely of a little text box at the bottom of the screen.

I started a new character to get a shot of the very beginning and it spawned me between raging fire and a mountain. Guess I get to dig some more.
I started a new character to get a shot of the very beginning and it spawned me between raging fire and a mountain. Guess I get to dig some more.

There’s nothing to do in the game once you get your house built, as far as I’ve seen. In the same vein as Minecraft, the first thing you’re going to want to do is mine for resources, but there’s so little to do with these resources that you’ll get bored very quickly. Combine that with the fact that many things that you’d never want to turn off can be easily deactivated (such items include your one and only crafting station and light sources that you’d never ever want to turn off) and you’ve got a formula for boredom and frustration.

The game is also extraordinarily buggy and unfinished. Disregarding the incredible lack of content, the game frequently decided that I was no longer allowed to interact with my environment, prompting an attempt to close the game, which led to the game freezing and crashing. I was playing Alan Wake earlier today, my computer can run games like this easily, but for some reason this game is buggy and unstable to the point of unplayability.

This system works fine, but still feels clunky. There are no shortcuts, it's all tedious clicking and dragging.
This system works fine, but still feels clunky. There are no shortcuts, it’s all tedious clicking and dragging.

Get Terraria. Darkout has nothing to offer you that Terraria can’t best, and the game’s good-looking environments and moderately attractive lighting are not enough to make it worth any amount of money. I may recommend this as a free alternative to Terraria if it were free, but at its current price of $14.99, it actually costs more than its far better counterpart. This is a shameless knockoff trying to, but failing to, improve upon another game. It’s light on content, the character models creep me out, and it breaks constantly. Run. Run to the hills.

Run for your life.

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Game Info

Game : Darkout

Developer : Allgraf

Platforms : Windows

Nathaniel Liles
Nathaniel Liles is a freelance writer, writing major, and indie musician based in Southern Indiana. While procrastinating or avoiding real-world responsibility, Nathaniel enjoys playing rhythm games, action RPGs, and very colorful games with many bright, flashing lights. You can listen to Nathaniel sing songs or download his music for free at http://nathanielliles.bandcamp.com/.
Nathaniel Liles