A Dark Room is a incremental game based on simplistic design that throws continued upgrades at players through expanding mechanics. Originally a browser based title (available for free) the game was later packaged into a paid product for iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch which provides a full ad free experience that is event playable offline. With only text and some ASCII art to guide your adventure you’ll need to build up a thriving settlement, trade and go adventuring to discover the origins of the dark room you spawn in in an adventure that can easily take hours of active and idle play time.
A Dark Room is presented with a unique minimalist presentation and surprising number of features under the hood despite the basic visual design. Fundamental to these features is the incremental introduction to new game mechanics and a growing amount of resource gathering that is invested into your thriving settlement to repeat the cycle once more. Core to this progression is also repeating time based events that impact your advancement (positively or negatively) and are occasionally resolved for good once you reach a certain progression point.
Players start their adventure within a dark room with only a single option that allows them to light the fire within the centre of the room for a short period. After performing this action a few times players can start to collect wood from the nearby forest, eventually carts and huts can also be built with said wood which will improve your collection rate and send villagers to you.
With these villagers at your command players earn some passive resource generation which shifts your A Dark Room adventure into a resource puzzle as you seek to push your village population higher and maintain it at the maximum level you can support. From these villagers you’ll be able to assign them to roles within your tiny village which grow with new buildings to include roles like hunter, tanner and trapper that turn your basic resources into advanced resources. In time this leads players to accumulating bait, cloth, cured meat, fur, leather, meat, scales, teeth and others that are spent on your village growth.
This format in A Dark Room is then repeated several times over with new buildings or actions granting access to new mechanics for players such as trading, crafting and even adventuring down a dusty path on the ASCII art style map. The sheer mixture of genres is bound to fascinate players with a mixture of mysterious story, strategy, incremental game and even RPG rolled into one with each linked together.
While the game can be completed in around 6 hours and does require some significant waiting around each new mysterious event or unlock does keep you wondering what will become available next. This constant question of what is next is the driving force that will have you see the game through to the end along with the small touches like the narration of events and basic sounds.
- A mysterious adventure that constantly introduces new mechanics across resource management and RPG genres.
- Simple text, sounds and ASCII art to tell the story of A Dark Room.
- Trading, adventuring and resource management in one game that slowly evolves with each action and minute that passes.
- Play in your browser for free or purchase the game for your mobile device or Nintendo Switch.
- Go from freezing in a dark room to adventurer in the open fields as you seek out your next challenge.
Review Platform: iOS