Darkout is a 2D side-scrolling survival game with procedurally generated worlds much akin to Terraria and Starbound. Darkout begins with the player crash landing on a mysterious and hostile planet, you are left to salvage what you can from your ships wreckage and build a shelter using the tools and resources at your disposal. Is Darkout the definitive survival game? Probably not.
Gameplay in Darkout is what you would expect from a survival action game, you explore the random world gathering resources, craft tools and equipment and construct buildings to aid your survival. There is a wide range of resources available for you to gather and multiple tiers of tools and craftable objects as you would expect. The alien world is not a very hospitable place however, local wildlife will make your life a misery, especially at night, so light is essential as your weapon. You will start off with an effective pistol but ammo is an extremely scarce resource, so sooner or later you must craft a more low tech but long-term survival alternative.
There is also a research mechanic that adds a little depth to Darkout, all of your actions be it exploration, mining and combat earn you research points that can be invested back at your shelter to unlock new technologies and craftable items. This provides a nice bonus to even the blandest resource run that you may go on and means that no matter what you find yourself doing in the world of Darkout, you will be advancing your character’s goals.
Darkout attempts to mix things up with the introduction of a story. While exploring, you may come across data logs that try to form Darkouts overall narrative. Unfortunately, the story is very forgetful and easy to miss without putting enough effort into finding the data logs. It’s not hard to forget that there’s even a story at all, it’s quite clear that Darkout focuses mainly on gameplay, and while this isn’t a complete travesty it does detract from what is an interesting and unique world.
Darkout is not without it’s issues however, I have experienced a few crashes and have noticed quite severe performance drops while traversing the world of Darkout and quite frankly the game doesn’t look good enough to justify the drop in framerates. The tutorial in Darkout is also more confusing than helpful, giving the player goals that aren’t explained how to execute very well.The camera is also a bug bearer of mine as I feel it is zoomed far to close to the player characters and I prefer a more wide angled field of view to provide an easier exploration and more convenient shelter planning. There are also issues with the controls, I had countless problems choosing the correct item or weapon and in certain moments, this could be the difference between life and death.
While I feel Darkout does have some interesting and unique elements to it’s gameplay, I find the horrible interface and the lack to ever properly explain its more ambiguious mechanics make Darkout a game that I wouldn’t recommend to people who are not familiar with surivival games to play.