Darkout, developed by Allgraf, is a game full to the brim with eerie shadows and almost indistinguishable objects, set to make a name for itself within the voxel game world. But can this upstart make its mark on the world against it competition, the main one being Terraria which seems to be its polar opposite? Well, if you can see anything at all…
The main premise of the game is that your stasis pod has been jettisoned from your space ship and you have crash landed on an Alien planet. You are alone and must protect yourself against the horrors the planet holds within its depths. The story is explained through the use of Data Pads you find amongst dilapidated buildings and relics of the past inhabitants of the world. The Data pads are mostly diaries of the ones before you and tell of their life on the planet and how they arrived here.
There seems to be only one goal in the game so far, survive, much like Terraria or Minecraft the game is never ending and procedurally generated. The main enemy within the game are the dark creatures that spawn within the darkness and are comprised of black shadows, the only way to kill them is with light, either from shining flowers, electric lights or a flaming torch.
The game plays very similar to Terraria, moving with the WASD keys and mining and placing objects by clicking the mouse. The keys become a lot more convoluted when you get to creating a base as to place a light you right click a surface, to turn some on you have to shift-Left click and to pick them up you have to shift-right click. For starting off the controls can get very confusing and annoying as you will be picking up your front door several times, letting the creepy crawlies inside.
For the majority of the game you will be mining, crafting and researching to better your homestead and make better equipment to survive. The game plays similar to Terraria when crafting, in that if you have the materials it will show you what you can make, but when trying to research this can become a pain as you never know what you need to make something until you obtain it, trying to make torches became quite a choir to find the right materials. Crafting and researching is simple, albeit long winded and allows for slow progression giving a sense of accomplishment when you find the right tool or upgrade your armour.
The game, sticking true to its name, is dark, I mean pitch black, even Riddick would have trouble here. If you find yourself at night time without a light you will see nothing but black, and even during daytime there are shadows that make Sora’s troubles seem light. When you find the time to light up the area, Torches are useless, lighting up to 4 blocks away but leaving the floor black, Glow bugs and lights are your best bet for lighting the area up but these tools come much later into the game and require resources that are very scarce.
When you have the ability to actually see your surroundings they are beautiful, with tree’s standing tall and fluorescent flowers that litter the ground. The art style in the game is definitely appealing, going for a dark neon style. The character is also very detailed for the type of game as well, beating the pixel art of Terraria. Even with the beautiful backgrounds and textures, the ground and underground could use some work as the ores and dirt look too similar to each other and makes it hard to distinguish between the different objects found within the ground, meaning looking for certain ores like Iron impossible.
The music within the game is sparse, hearing only around 4 tracks within the first parts of the game. The music style is consistently sci-fi and keeps to a more atmospheric style rather then up-beat, making the music flow with the area you are in and upping the eerie feel each place has. With the music as it is, the game seems rather flat and boring, seemingly trying to add horror to a non-horror game.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
As it stands, Darkout seems very undeveloped, being in its open beta it is allowed some sort of infancy, but the game looks and plays very sluggish and doesn’t give much purpose or reason for playing. It definitely is worth a try, but as the game is now it isn’t worth much of a purchase as there isn’t enough explanation on how to play as well as several balancing issues that need to be addressed.
Players who want a dark and eerie experience, or want a more mature version of Terraria will like this game, but I think everyone will get annoyed at its shaky beginning areas and will only find enjoyment around 10 hours into the game as it is slow to pick up. The game caters to a niche and if you are not a part of that group of people you will become very bored with the game. Hopefully when Darkout comes out of Beta the problems it has will be fixed and improved or at least given a brightness setting.