A Dark Room

by Michael Townsend

RPG
2013

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(8)
4 star:
(12)
3 star:
(9)
2 star:
(0)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 29
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- starlitevenings, March 13, 2021

- Ogre (A Cave), March 5, 2021

- autumnc, December 14, 2020

- RichCheng (Warwickshire, UK), December 13, 2020

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Immersion extreme!, October 17, 2020
by Rovarsson (Belgium)

Not quite IF as I imagine it, but hey, it's text, it's a game (of sorts) and I can assure you it does not take long to get fully immersed in this simulation of a society developing.

It is amazing what sparse text and a few action buttons (with reload-timer) combined with human imagination and empathy will do to suck you into this world, how little of a nudge a brain needs to be there in that other world.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A surprisingly deep and evocative resource management game, October 13, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: 2-4 hours

How can you describe A Dark Room? It is truly unlike anything I've played before. The style is simple: black and white screens, all lowercase letters, just text and ASCII maps to move around. But the game designer was able to accomplish so much with those elements and you are drawn into the game so deeply that you feel like you are living it out. The game only takes 2-4 hours to playthrough, depending on the choices that you make, and I remember during my first playthrough being so immersed in the game that I pretty much finished it in one session, all the while my family went about their Saturday morning around me.

You play the main character, who at the beginning of the game wakes up not really remembering how they got there. A friend helps take care of you for a little bit, but shortly you are working together with her, collecting resources, crafting equipment and stepping out of your little camp to explore the world. You can recruit others to help you and you can also find resources out on the map, but you will have to fight your way through monsters and men to get them. The combat is RPG style, with you selecting an attack, then having a cool down period before you can pick another one. There are consequences to dying, but not so severe as to set you back much, rather you will just want to get out there and try again.

I'm struggling with what to write about this game without spoiling portions of it. Also, it is hard to compare it to anything because there is nothing quite like it. I would just recommend playing it for 10-15 minutes and I'm pretty sure you will be hooked after that.

There is some replayability to this game as well, after it is over the game suggests that you try again with a new strategy, one that I didn't even consider on my first run. Doing it this other way yields a very different experience and a different ending as well. Finally, after you beat the game you can read the designers' notes, which provide a lot of insight into what just happened.

This is one I might come back and give 5-stars to at some point, depending on how it grows on me and what it feels like playing it again after awhile.


- bradleyswissman (Virginia, US), October 6, 2020

- _firexe, December 10, 2019

- Shchekotiki, June 5, 2019

- suchamazingdoge (Austin, Texas), May 16, 2019

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun time waster particularly if you enjoyed the old BASIC games, May 10, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

A brilliant minimalist RPG that hearkens back to 80’s games made in BASIC only with the polish and creativity of today’s designers.

I have a soft spot for games that are light on exposition and throw you into a scene. The opening here has you in a dark room with the ability to build a fire, your other goals unknown. From there the most complex the game gets visually is an overworld map using ASCII characters. Despite this the story develops at a near perfect pace with ample doses of hope and horror. To say more would be pointless, other than it’s accessible to anyone and isn’t terribly difficult if you’re patient. I’ve also played it through three times because it’s that damn good (there's also more than one ending depending on your strategy).

I've only played the iOS port by Amir Rajan which I hear is a bit more polished and fleshed out.


- sleepbox, December 31, 2017

- Naeemah, December 23, 2017

- beriaearwen, October 11, 2017

- Wanderlust, August 3, 2017

- Xavid, April 14, 2017

- TheAncientOne, March 25, 2017

- Greg Frost (Seattle, Washington), February 11, 2017

- SLane, January 27, 2017

- Hawkmoth, January 25, 2017

- E.K., January 25, 2017

- CMG (NYC), January 18, 2017

- John of Thornwick, January 17, 2017

- Sobol (Russia), January 17, 2017

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Google Translate is great!, January 17, 2017
by IFforL2 (Chiayi, Taiwan)
Related reviews: Easy English

This minimalist idle game is available in lots and lots of languages. Not-so-unfortunately, after reading through the start of the Mandarin and Spanish versions, I must deduce that they were created using Google Translate. (I may be wrong, and I'd gladly eat a humble pie from Michael Townshend.) That's actually not so bad, as this game is one of a handful that make the most of a few short phrases. Julian Churchill's Tiny Text Adventure is another.



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