Review: Darkout / Developer: Allgraf / Platform: PC / Release Date: Out Now
Darkout is the latest in the line of sandbox construction games, bringing a science fiction touch to a genre that is dominated by fantasy themes. Similar to the 2D Minecraft clone Terraria, this particular take on a digitized construction toy sees the player trapped on alien world following a space-ship crash. Surrounded by hostile aliens with very few resources, you have survive long enough to get help, making everything you need along the way.
Sandbox games are always a little bit tricky to pin down. On the one hand, a lack of coherent structure means that the player can find themselves at a loss as to what to do, and swiftly bored. On the other hand, an open world allows for exploration and the most rewarding fun of all – that which you achieve yourself. Darkout attempts to find a middle ground by generating goals and having a plot of sorts. These goals can be easily ignored if you wish, and the plot (such as it is) fails to be that engaging. In an attempt to be both a scripted story and an open world, Darkout does not manage to be either.
There is, however, enough here to provide plenty of entertainment. Unlike Terraria, with its steep learning curve and seemingly random problems, Darkout introduces new technologies for the player to research and develop, meaning that perseverance wins out in the end. The more worthwhile the item, the more of a mission it becomes to gather all the ingredients required. A lot of the content is still being added, which means that they are some gaps in potential research, and this can be annoying.
The monsters are fun and scary enough at the start, especially when your light source runs out. This lends some welcome urgency to the earlier levels. Though it lacks the aesthetic charm of both Minecraft and Terraria, it does look good if a little clinical, and the interface is much more logical than those of the games it bares the closest resemblance too. Overall, a good effort, though perhaps it needed a bit longer in development.