The Weekend Hangover: Darkwood


The Weekend Hangover is Too Much Gaming's Monday rumination of the games or game we played over the weekend. Sometimes there is alcohol involved in the hangover we’re nursing, but most other times there’s just too much gaming.

Darkwood was one of many games sitting in my backlog, waiting to be booted for the first time. I finally did so this weekend and got the sense of dread and fear I was expecting from the game. The real winner are the game's music and line of sight mechanics, making me constantly look at my surroundings to be sure nothing's right beside me. I felt the pressure of frantically looking for what I need to survive the night, while unlocking the mysteries of the forest, and finding a way out of this damn place. 

The prologue introduces the game's atmosphere and horror, while teaching you the basic mechanics you'll need to properly play the game. Once it's over, the real game begins. This is a survival game at heart: By day, I'm exploring my surroundings, finding materials like gasoline, wood, and weapon, items needed to survive the forest.

As night draws near, things turn for the worst, and I'm reminded that it's not safe to be out at night. Darkwood becomes a routine of scavenging once daybreak hits, and locking yourself up in your hideout before the evening hits, placing defenses, hoping that nothing breaks in to kill you.

It's stressful to just wait out the night, peeping through the small vision you get once you've barricaded all the windows in your room. It's a great take on the survival horror genre. The view available to the player based on where the character is facing works exceptionally well with the top-down perspective of the game.

I still have a long way to go, with various crafting items I can abuse and other hideouts to manage, inching closer to what the hell is going on in this cursed forest. I'm taking a slow pace on this one, reading up on the lore. 

The game isn't as punishing on its default difficulty, which is great since I'm more interested in exploring and don't want to be discouraged by the effort needed to survive the day. I'm at a point in the game where there's a lot of items to manage, and nights that's too stressful to go through sober.