Dark Room

 

 

 

Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:  Lexip Games

Publisher:    Lexip Games

Released:   July 15, 2020

Requirements (minimum):

 

  • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 or better
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX
  • Storage: 300 MB available space  
  • DirectX: Version 9.0  

 

 

 

 

By flotsam

Dark Room

Lexip Games

This is two hours of decently priced first person puzzling, except there is more.

As the website says, you open your eyes in an unknown environment while remembering nothing. As you progress through the game and check the environments, you'll find letters of mysterious people which tell of the past. Strange things that reveal the great secret ....

Progressing through the game involves working your way through a dilapidated facility of some sort, finding items and solving puzzles to unlock doors and move on. It's an unglamorous place, and the look works well given the feel it wants to create. It can be surprisingly detailed, and elements like dust mites and a good use of lighting, along with a minimalist and foreboding musical score and suitable ambient sound, combine to produce a solid gaming environment.

I didn't think it justified the maker's warning about frequent violence or gore. There is some suggested nastiness, and ominous occasional banging, but I didn't feel it was a violent or gory game by any stretch. But makers probably have to be cautious and perhaps that was just me.

It isn't an elaborate game in terms of moving through the environment. Each screen is static, and clicking an area might cause you to look more closely at a particular part of what is usually a room or a corridor. You might then be able to, for instance, search a desk by clicking what you can see, and when finished, click the back icon to return to the previous view. When finished in the room, click the back icon again to return to the previous screen, and either move on or move back again, depending on what is available to you.

It's simple but works fine, and the lack of active hotspots enhances the need to explore carefully. Most games these days tend to have a responsive curser to indicate something of interest, but here you are on your own. I liked the point of difference, and the reminder of how games used to be, and the game design suited its use and meant it never felt overwhelming.

Inventory management is a tad of a throwback as well. Click the inventory window bottom left to open the inventory and equip an item. A screwdriver perhaps. Its image will then appear in the window and it becomes your active item. Click on somewhere you want to try and use it, and if it's the right item it will be used. If not, try another item or leave it active and try it somewhere else. Just switch items in and out to use them in the game world.

You can also combine items within the inventory by clicking, appropriately enough, the combine button. You can then equip that item in the usual way.

There aren't a lot of items, and most of them are keys, but all are necessary. They will disappear from the inventory when no longer required.

Quite a few puzzles involve unlocking things; doors, draws, electrical panels and boxes. Keys, a tool or two, and codes will all be utilised. Some of the codes are (almost) in plain sight, provided you have the necessary insight, but towards the end of the two hours the best puzzle presents a multipart bit of code breaking that kept me at it for quite a relative while.

There are two slider style puzzles, another that involves connecting the conduits to restore power, and a mini-game right at the end which was probably the low point. It seemed incongruous and unnecessary. It isn't hard, a bit Pac-Man like, using the arrow keys to move your icon around a small grid to collect the green balls while avoiding the red ones. You need 30, and if "caught" it's start again.

You can fiddle with some basic settings and the game autosaves on exit. Just choose continue to go back to where you left off.

You read books and collect letters, some of which contain clues, others which just hint at whatever went on. Cutscenes play here and there which make it clear that something way bigger has occurred, and you get a personal taste just before the end. I found that aspect less interesting than the rest, although it may become more interesting next time.

I say that because completing the game unlocks a different end and seemingly a more difficult playthrough. When you first play, only the easy version is available. Once you finish, a message tells you about a green stone that you can find which will unlock a secret end. Start again and a normal "green stone" version is available, with a third version still locked. The Steam achievements suggest there are four endings, and whilst I don't know how much harder the next playthrough is, or whether solves have changed, I do know there was a briefcase I never opened and a tool to do so I never found.

So clearly there is more to do, and I enjoyed the first time enough to start again. I will tell you more about it when I do.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700k 3.7 GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB

 

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