Posted: October 14
Never before did I imagine a top-down game could be this immersive, my word. The way you have a view cone means you still have to turn and face sounds, and the way lighting works plays off of shadows in a way that really puts you into your character, a must for the player to feel genuine fear in a scary game.
That being said, horror games where you can still fight and kill enemies that still remain actually scary are notoriously rare (with this game and Cry of Fear being the only ones off the top of my head) and hard to pull off, but Darkwood does it amazingly. And more than just it’s genuinely interesting story setting, more than the scares and top-notch immersion, there’s an actual genuinely fun game in here too, with replayability to boot. Darkwood is quite simply the gold standard for top-down survival horror.
While Darkwood comes across as a race against time, since the player needs to find enough supplies to make it through each night, but it does this in a way that avoids any unpleasant stressfulness with the clever use of a “shop” (functionally, yet fitting with the lore) as a safety net for whenever you desperately need any items, and plenty of time each day to find what you need and progress the story at the same time. Nights are actually terrifying and holding out until dawn will give you goosebumps in all the right ways.
The short version, Darkwood is a one-of-a-kind experience that’ll keep you playing and may even blow your mind with its ending, if the gameplay and atmosphere don’t. A must-play if you enjoy creative passion-project survival horror games.