About Darkest Dungeon
Darkest Dungeon - Dungeon Diving Done Darkly
Delving deeper into the horror of roguelikes.
Deep Beneath the Earth
The roguelike genre is one that can be adapted to almost anything. At this point, fans of the genre have some many options that a game really needs a unique hook to stand out. Darkest Dungeons, which adds a component of psychological horror to the genre, is definitely 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 rather simple concept and forces players to contend with something closer to the reality of what it would be like to be sent to delve in the dark. Rather than forcing the player to grapple with monsters, though, the player is responsible for sending others to their potential doom.
Darkest Dungeon shines a light on the dark repetition of roguelikes in a very unique way
Players are given the task of sending adventurers to investigate the ruins beneath a manner - and when they return, players have to rehabilitate them after the horrors that they've seen. This is an incredibly unique spin on the roguelike concept and one that absolutely adds more weight to the usual gameplay loops.
Saying that Darkest Dungeon is a pretty game wouldn't be exactly right. It's certainly a game with a unique art style that fits the story, but it's not exactly going to wow you with the visuals. Instead, the visuals of the game 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 suitably eerie, but it helps to put players in the shoes of those poor souls that they're sending underground. Everything in this game is a little unsettling, helping it to create an ideal atmosphere for psychological terror.
Graphics and Audio: 3/5
Insanity is Doing the Same Thing...
Gameplay loops are vital in the world of roguelikes. It's the pull of the loop that matters and even Darkest Dungeon's high concept take on the genre would fail without a good loop. Fortunately, the game really 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 involves 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 have to create facilities that will allow you to recruit new adventurers, outfit those you have already hired, and nurse the ones who have gone under 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.
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. You'll be hit by setbacks and mistakes, but that's part of why you'll keep coming back to the game. While it can be quite punishing, Darkest Dungeon is a great new take on an older genre.
Darkest Dungeon is a roguelike RPG with a major focus on psychological terror.