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Darkest Dungeon

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8.4

Great

Game Reviews from around the web

98

Darkest Dungeon is one of the most intense and immersive games out there. A product of creative genius and flawless design, it delivers, with simplistic perfection, a difficult yet addictive experience.

95

I liked almost everything about this outstanding roguelike – the atmosphere, the wonderful visuals, the unbelievably exciting combat, the unforgettable narrator, the challenge it poses, the uncommon replay value. [03/2016, p.52]

CD-Action

93

Darkest Dungeon is an incredible take on the classic dungeon crawl. The game brings Lovecraftian lore to new heights with cool classes, powerful narration, stylish art, and addictive gameplay that will keep you crawling back to battle slithering monstrosities even as your favorite heroes become corpses.

91

Darkest Dungeon is a punishing and awesome game of tactics, management, and pushing your luck to the breaking point.

90

Darkest Dungeon is the rare game that gets my heart pumping while playing, not because it’s scary (even though it is a little scary), but because the stakes are so high.

90

A fresh and addictive new riff on Rogue-like gaming that will keep you enthralled to the point of madness. [Issue#248, p.62]

PC PowerPlay

90

It’s hard, harsh and unforgiving. It might be the perfect challenge if you’re looking for something similar.

90

Red Hook Studios’ Darkest Dungeon is one of the most compelling Lovecraftian video games ever made.

90

Beware when entering the Darkest Dungeon. Its great aesthetic as well as its deep, challenging yet rewarding gameplay will very easily make you spend countless hours without even realizing the passing of time. Red Hook unquestionably managed to develop one of the early contenders for top gaming lists of the year.

90

Darkest Dungeon plays the long game. It builds you up for a grand bout that will test everything you’ve learned, as well as your ability to plan several in-game weeks out. The pay-off for this constant offensive comes in short bursts–just enough to keep you going, just enough to keep you hopeful for the next excursion. It’s an extraordinary cycle that bears a special teacher–rewarding your cleverness and punishing your foolishness. It transfixes and binds you to this grand journey, dotted with failures and successes. And because you endured, because you thought your way through it, the final victory against the unimaginable evil you face at the bottom of the Darkest Dungeon is personally valuable.

90

Darkest Dungeon is one of the most atmospheric games I’ve played in a very long time, it nails its core concept and delivers an exceptionally well-crafted and interesting dungeon crawler that will take you hundreds of terrifying hours to see through to its ludicrous ending.

90

At its core, Darkest Dungeon is a turn-based RPG, governed by a brutal RNG/dice roll system where everything has a cost, one such example is Occultist class which can heal but also has a chance to cause the healed character to bleed, so much of the game falls under this Risk Vs Reward system.

90

What makes Darkest Dungeon a fascinating experience isn’t the rich character progression and overarching strategy, but the way it manages to make each character feel like a living, breathing human before asking you how much you’ll ruin them to increase your bottom line. There’s pockets of subtext that I continually filled with my own moral struggle. Spaces left ingeniously blank where, when I allow myself to reflect on my actions, I realize that the greatest evil isn’t waiting at the end of a dimly lit crypt. It is sitting right in this chair, typing these words.

90

An inspired and challenging dungeon crawler, rich in style and choices to make. Get hooked up and you’ll indulge often in “just one more quest”.

90

Darkest Dungeon is an unrelenting adventure as well as an intricately designed puzzle. Swiftly punishing foolhardy players while rewarding the ruthlessly pragmatic, it hammers home the message that risk is not always worth the reward. Knowing when to fold them is the key to triumph, even if doing so means abandoning your loyal followers and slipping further into amorality…Being a heartless scumbag isn’t particularly pleasant, but if Darkest Dungeon‘s taught me anything, it can be one hell of an amazing ride.

90

Darkest Dungeon is one of the best roguelike games to be had, and anyone who enjoys a challenging dungeon crawler will find themselves playing adventure after adventure with rotating rosters of forlorn heroes. At its heart, Darkest Dungeon is Lovecraftian horror of the finest caliber – it’s unforgiving, brutal, and filled with misfortune.

90

First and foremost, Darkest Dungeon is a concept game that has hit its mark perfectly, a tonal masterpiece where everything from the art to sound, writing, difficulty levels and gameplay features contributes perfectly towards the whole picture that the developers aimed to paint. Turn off the lights, place a single lit candle next to your monitor, and creep hesitantly forward into its dark spaces; the way ahead will be hard, but the rewards are substantial.

90

Darkest Dungeon takes the staples of roguelikes and adds the atmosphere and themes of Lovecraftian Horror and does so with incredible success. The game captures the feeling of battling an unending wave of nightmarish abominations with little to no chance of hope. But when you do succeed you feel like a million bucks. The difficulty may deter many people from trying this game out, but if you are brave enough you will be rewarded with a rich experience.

90

There is a lot of grinding involved in this game, but the grind is generally pretty fun. It is surprisingly addictive and great to play in the wee hours of the night.

90

This is the black metal ballad among the tactical roleplaying games. The fights are merciless, the battle system is creative and filled with with possible long term damage beyond belief. There is only one more thing to say: Destroy… them… all…!

90

Darkest Dungeon will push even the most hardcore gamers to their breaking points, but those who are brave enough to take it on are in for a dastardly roguelike rivaled by few others.

90

I can’t say enough nice things about Darkest Dungeon. Its presentation is brilliant, its systems are smart and well-constructed, and it does a lot to subvert what we should expect from the average dungeon crawler. For a game built around slowly grinding up multiple parties of adventurers, it’s remarkable how fresh it can feel even after more than 50 hours. It’s only January, but Darkest Dungeon is already one of my favorite games of the year.

88

Darkest Dungeon is a masterpiece of emergent storytelling. [March 2016]

Pelit (Finland)

88

A wonderfully executed, brilliantly stressful reinvention of party-based dungeon-crawling, Darkest Dungeon is great fun, even when it’s cruel.

86

Darkest Dungeon is without a doubt one of the more interesting roguelike games released in recent times thanks to its superb presentation and engaging gameplay features.

85

From the first time I saw the art style of Darkest Dungeon, I knew it was going to be something special. What I couldn’t have known is just how bleak the game would be—or how cruel.

85

It’s quite the atypical roguelike, a challenging game full of tension and unexpected events, that will keep you entertained for many hours, and becomes even more charming by brilliantly using a truly dark setting and an interesting madness mechanic.

85

Darkest Dungeon grabs you. It is not a game for everyone, but it is precisely what makes it so special.

85

Darkest Dungeon’s sanity system is worth the entire experience. Try it, but don’t expect a good story or a traditional RPG.

85

Darkest Dungeon is a very difficult, very interesting and very original game – a sturdy RPG mixed with a dungeon crawl and some aspects of roguelike games. As such it’s not a game for everyone. Fans of these genres should have lots of fun – moments of irritation fade away and you simply need to visit this grim world once more. Darkest Dungeon is a very big and demanding product – I envy those players who will be able to max it out.

85

Darkest Dungeon is a nail-biter. The turn-based combat is so tense — this is one of those games where you issue commands with extra-firm mouse clicks, hoping it leads to more damage. The fact that Darkest Dungeon’s battles can turn any minute is what makes it so exciting. I don’t mind the fact that the game lacks a strong narrative – the expeditions into the unknown are motivation enough for me. If you’re looking for more however, you might lose interest quickly.

84

Darkest Dungeon is one of those games that will test your determination, but if you invest your time and patience, you’ll be greatly rewarded. Once you’re in, it’s really hard to leave.

84

A quite brutal dark fantasy RPG that forces you to rethink, lets heroes die and thus creates a very intensive experience.

83

It is a beautifully gothic dungeon-crawler with a wealth of clever mechanics, the most unique of which is that, as your adventurers delve deeper into Lovecraftian tunnels, coves, and ruins, they become stressed.

82

An unforgiving jaunt into Lovecraftian madness – and a deeply compelling dungeon crawler. [March 2016, p.79]

Games Master UK

80

Hilarious, challenging and beautiful combination of strategy, RPG and the mental asylum manager. Despite its weaknesses, the Darkest Dungeon is great fun for long, frustrating evenings. [Issue # 261]

LEVEL (Czech Republic)

80

It’s a surprise to find that this relentless numerical tangle of a dungeon crawler is a human story. [March 2016, p.118]

Edge Magazine

80

It’s sadistic, mean-spirited and unfair. And it makes no pretense at being anything other than that.

80

Darkest Dungeon is fantastic for the first twenty or so hours.

80

In its best moments, Darkest Dungeon makes me feel crazy and hopeless. There’s something I can’t say for most games: The times when I most felt that I had irrevocably fucked up were also the times when the game was at its strongest.

80

Darkest Dungeon is a great example that some things are worth waiting. The game occasionally gets repeatable and some of its mechanics do not reach their full potential, but even so it is an extremely funny and addictive RPG.

80

Budget deficit is the main problem of DD – you’re all but forced to replay the same dungeons over and over. On the other hand, that gives you ample time for experiments with party composition and skills. [Issue#206, p.65]

Game World Navigator Magazine

80

Quotation forthcoming.

80

If you enjoy a game that offers up some difficult challenges that require time, practice and careful planning then you will enjoy this. The game can be brutal and unforgiving, but once you start to upgrade your team and get into the groove, it can feel extremely satisfying.

80

Dungeons, monsters and madness – Darkest Dungeon in a nutshell. Well-realized gameplay, dark atmosphere and high quality graphics makes it very hard to quit. Better keep the narrator happy.

80

Despite the grind, despite the perhaps undue commitment to brutality, and despite what I feel is a joke at the player’s expense at the end, Darkest Dungeon still manages to be one of the most engaging and intriguing roguelikes I’ve ever played and I’ll probably still be diving dungeons and trying new party compositions weeks from now. After all, it would be madness to stop at this point.

80

Darkest Dungeon is something fresh in one of gaming’s most overdone genres, and the stress system is a winner – a particular delight being how a long-lived character will accumulate various mental scars.

80

A fantastically well designed and presented roguelike, that makes your heroes’ mental health just as important as their physical well-being.

80

Although Darkest Dungeon becomes fiercely addictive, that feeling eventually wears thin. You tick off quests one by one, but it’s a long way to completion, and few will have the patience to get there. There’s not much variety in enemy types, and the dungeons themselves are just abstracted strings of encounters. But while it’s got its hooks into you, Darkest Dungeon exerts a powerful pull.

80

Darkest Dungeon will kill your party, drive you insane, and leave you a gibbering mess at the Sanitarium. Yet it’s so compelling and rewarding at the same time, you won’t be able to resist diving back in for one more quest.

80

Darkest Dungeon is difficult, but not because its systems are unclear or unfair. In fact, the richness and complexity of its mechanics are miraculously transparent. What makes Darkest Dungeon challenging is balancing and equipping a party and the essentially unpredictable nature of the dungeons and combat.

75

Darkest Dungeon has a strong beginning with a creepy atmosphere and challenging boss fights. However, the threat disappears after a while and the game gets monotone. Even so, this game is still a very entertaining rogue-like that is worth your time.

70

Combat is gruelling. Exploration is intense. To that basic extent, Darkest Dungeon is a more emotional dungeon crawler than it aims to be. But its mechanics are familiar and soulless and above anything, it proves that an extreme difficulty curve is no substitute for finessed drama and smart visual design.

65

Even if you can get over the constant grind and repetitive nature of the game’s dungeons, what will put you off is RNG that easily wipes your whole parties. Instead of a truly challenging game, Darkest Dungeon turned out to be a frustration generator.

50

It would be a mistake to call Darkest Dungeon a roguelike game. It is, in fact, a more elaborate version of Cookie Clicker. You play with numbers instead of playing a game.

Game Reviews from around the web

You’ll lose lives, money, resolve and the marbles of your crew, before you’re back at the hamlet with nothing to show, no further forward, another four bodies resigned to the graveyard. You’ll incessantly tour a ragtag mob of reluctant rookies into foregone conclusions. You’ll laugh at the fact you’ve wound up with a nymphomaniac alcoholic who is barred from both the Tavern and the Brothel. You’ll cry. And cry and cry and cry. But I think you’ll love it.

It feels unfair at times, but it’s actually the opposite. The best you can do is maximize your odds for success and (figuratively) roll the dice. The poet Theodore Roethke once wrote, “What’s madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?” It’s a question worth asking yourself every time this excellent, deceptively complex game sends you into the depths.

Darkest Dungeon is a mean, capricious game. Success is a gambler’s thrill, addictive and illicit. It comes rarely.

Good

  • Amazing atmosphere
  • Great gothic graphics
  • Intense nail-biting battles

Bad

  • Can feel unfair
  • A bit of a grind
  • Monotonous

Summary

A compelling lovecraftian roguelike dungeon crawler with a steep difficulty curve and excellent atmosphere
8.4

Great

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