About Darkest Dungeon
Darkest Dungeon - Dungeon Diving Done Darkly
Dive Deeper Into the Horror of Roguelikes
Deep Beneath the Earth
Games that fall under the roguelike genre are very adaptive. At this point, roguelike fans have many options, so a game needs a unique hook to stand out. Darkest Dungeon, which adds a component of psychological horror to the genre, is one of the better examples of how one can shake up this type of game.
The Madness of Repetition
The entire genre of roguelikes revolves around making incremental progress as you explore, die, and come back for more. Darkest Dungeon takes this simple concept and forces players to contend with something closer to the reality of what it would be like to delve into the dark and eerie unknown. Rather than forcing the player to grapple with monsters, the player is responsible for sending others to their potential doom.
Darkest Dungeon shines a light on the dark repetition of roguelikes and brings a unique spin to the genre.
Players must send adventurers to investigate the ruins beneath a manner - and when they return, players have to rehabilitate them after the horrors they've seen, which is an incredibly unique spin on the roguelike concept and adds more weight to the usual gameplay loops.
Concept Rating: 4/5
Saying that Darkest Dungeon is a pretty game wouldn't be exactly right. It's a game with a unique 2D art style that fits the story, but it's not exactly going to wow you with the visuals. Instead, they serve the purpose of enforcing the creeping sense of dread that comes from delving too greedily and too deeply into a dungeon that's just not meant for mortal minds.
A fair bit of praise needs to go to the soundscape of this game. Not only does it manage to be eerie, but it helps players empathize with the poor, traumatized adventurers. Everything in this game is a little unsettling, creating an ideal atmosphere for psychological terror.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 3/5
Insanity is Doing the Same Thing
Gameplay loops are vital in the world of roguelikes. Even Darkest Dungeon's high-concept take on the genre would fail without a good gameplay loop. Fortunately, the game shines here.
There are two separate loops for the game. The first is the more traditional roguelike loop - you'll build a party of adventurers and send them into the dungeon. Doing so involves a turn-based concept in which positioning is all-important, but it also includes a stress meter that rapidly depletes as your party encounters unknown terrors. Keeping your party functional is as important as keeping them healthy.
The other half of the loop is settlement management. Up in the world above, you must create facilities that allow you to recruit new adventurers, outfit those you have already hired, and nurse the ones who have gone back to health. While the meat of the game is in the first loop, you can't progress without sinking some time into the second.
Gameplay Rating: 4/5
Darkest Dungeon Purchase Guide & DLCs
Developed by Red Hook Studios, Darkest Dungeon was released on January 19, 2016, and is available for the Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems via Steam, Humble Bundle, Epic Games Store, and GOG, as well as the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch consoles. Plus, a mobile version is available on iOS devices for $4.99. For players looking for even more downloadable content to expand the original game, including an epic, original soundtrack ($9.99) and the following DLCs:
- Darkest Dungeon: The Butcher's Circus (Free)
- Darkest Dungeon: The Musketeer (Free)
- Darkest Dungeon: The Crimson Court ($9.99)
- Darkest Dungeon: The Shieldbreaker ($3.99)
- Darkest Dungeon: The Color Of Madness ($4.99)
There and Back Again
Darkest Dungeon doesn't feel like a game you win. Instead, it's a game that you work towards mastering over time. Players are hit with setbacks and make mistakes, but that's part of what keeps fans coming back for more. While it can be challenging and punishing, Darkest Dungeon is a great new take on an older genre. Plus, with the variety of downloadable content and even a sequel on the way, you'll never get bored playing this gothic-themed roguelike RPG.
On another note, if you turn into a Darkest Dungeon fan or enjoy playing roguelikes, Curse of the Dead Gods is worth checking out -- it's the spawn of Hades and Darkest Dungeon!
Replay Value Rating: 4/5
Darkest Dungeon is a unique, gothic-themed roguelike RPG that focuses on psychological terror.