Sep 18, 2014I think this game is as good as you allow your mind to wander. It's short, maybe 3 hours, but purposeful and interesting and at timesI think this game is as good as you allow your mind to wander. It's short, maybe 3 hours, but purposeful and interesting and at times beautiful. It's ascii characters, white on black, black on white. No art, no UI. But no less unique.… Expand
Sep 18, 2014This game is for reading, thinking and exploring. It's simple and leaves out a great deal of fluff or instructions. Find, explore and think.This game is for reading, thinking and exploring. It's simple and leaves out a great deal of fluff or instructions. Find, explore and think. The UI could be cleaner, it just doesn't scream polished, but it doesn't matter. I love it. If you've played zork, or love complicated stories you will love this.… Expand
Nov 30, 2014Is it a perfect game? No. But for what it sets out to accomplish, I definitely feel that it almost entirely hit its mark. It has taken the appIs it a perfect game? No. But for what it sets out to accomplish, I definitely feel that it almost entirely hit its mark. It has taken the app store by storm, but I suspect its negative criticism ultimately comes from the fact that a large number of people on these devices are casual gamers, which there's nothing wrong with but the demographic definitely seeks different goals than a more core gamer base.
For me, The Dark Room is almost a meditative process, and certain plot points which I won't spoil really resonated *hard* with me when I first realized what was going on. It's a game that forces you to think, to roleplay a little bit, and to really put yourself into the shoes of The Wanderer. Things start to go wrong (again, no spoilers) with absolutely no fanfare, simply a single sentence, and honestly many players miss it at first like I did. Then as you start to realize what's going on, many people including myself became more and more uneasy but continued seeing it through to the end.
What really stuck with me through all this is that were such an event to play out in real life, that's basically how it would happen as well. It's difficult to say much more without any spoilers but I'll leave you with this thought: everyone believes themselves the protagonist in the story that is life.… Expand
Sep 22, 2014I had a friend tip me off to Zork in the infocom pack for an iPad i had lying around. Man that was a blast from the past. So I went searchingI had a friend tip me off to Zork in the infocom pack for an iPad i had lying around. Man that was a blast from the past. So I went searching for more. Found planetfall hidden away, just as hard as I remember, and then found a dark room. This game brings so many of the feelings of great text adventure, the awe, the wonder, but it doesn't really bring the gameplay at all. That's not what it is. It's an experiment. Trying to be something sifferent. It is that, and it's worth your time to check it out.… Expand
Aug 29, 2014An objective rating is impossible for this game. If I would have to pay for it then it's an underwhelming experience with a crude GUI and aAn objective rating is impossible for this game. If I would have to pay for it then it's an underwhelming experience with a crude GUI and a lot of boring moments when you just sit there and wait to collect enough resources for the next step. Exploring the world can be very punishing so overall "playing" the game cannot be describes as much fun. The interaction with the "builder" never really takes off and overall the atmosphere could have been much improved.
If you get the game for free then it's a bit different because you mainly play to find out how it will end. Yes, collecting resources is tiresome, exploring is not really satisfying and the atmosphere could have been improved but you haven't spent any money and the critical voice in your head needs to step aside.
Try it if you can get it for free.… Expand
Apr 13, 2014People have been ranting and raving about how good 'a dark room' is and how simplistic it is. That is not only it's greatest strength, butPeople have been ranting and raving about how good 'a dark room' is and how simplistic it is. That is not only it's greatest strength, but also it's greatest flaw.
Don't get me wrong, I grew up in the age of Pong, Zork and online Telnet games known as MUDs.
But there's a huge difference between these games and a dark room.
While games like Zork had an ever progressing storyline, much like reading a book, a dark room's narration is few and far between and often times incredibly vague.
While MUDs offered big worlds to explore, dozens if not hundreds of monsters to slay and piles of loot and gold to collect, a dark room is incredibly isolated, often punishing players for exploring. The game largely revolves around resource grinding, so you'll spend a lot of time just watching your screen until you have enough resources to progress.
Eventually when you finally get to the real meat and bones of the game, it's mostly anticlimactic. You will spend most of your time going from place to place to collect more resources until you have what you need to progress.
I believe a lot of the praise for this game is largely undeserved. The current game industry is in strange state right now where people are responding strongly to games that feature very little. As it is, a dark room brings nothing new to the table and offers very little as far as gameplay mechanics are concerned.
A dark room is slow, tedious, boring and largely non-interactive. If you enjoy grinding for resources and doing little else besides looking at your screen, this game is for you, everyone else avoid at all costs. There is a reason this game only costs a dollar.… Expand
Jun 20, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I was sold on this game by a Slate review called "The Simple, Text-Based iPhone Game That Will Make You Question Your Own Humanity" and thousands of five-star reviews on iTunes. Having finished it, I do question humanity, but not in the way ADM may have intended. Instead, I wonder, what is wrong with all these people?!
Despite the Nietzschean pretension at its core, ADM involves hours of grinding for resources in oder to progress through its very thin plot. You get to press timed resource gathering buttons for several hours, and fight monsters, which are preceded by a minimalist announcement such as "a scavenger waits just inside the door", and again involve mashing buttons on timers. There is only about a dozen or so of such enemies, which differ in only how much damage they do and how much health they have. The experience is just slightly more exhilarating than carting wood, which you spend most of your time doing.
Speaking of plot, the central conflict in the game is between the player character and a "builder" NPC. This paragraph will include a minor spoiler, which you encounter in the first 20-ish minutes of the game, so skip to the next one if you want the surprise (the surprise is not worth it). The builder invites you to build some huts to populate a village you create. Suddenly, the village inhabitants are referred to by game as "slaves", and the builder starts to turn on you, for being to aggressive and expansionistic. You make no choice that makes the villagers become slaves. Why more 'slaves' show up to join your expanding village is also never explained. They seem to do it out of their free will, but why?
The tension between you and the builder has puzzled me for much of the game, because you don't do anything bad inside your village, and the progression of the game requires you to explore and engage in combat with other NPCs, with no opportunity to negotiate or even disengage. Short of deciding when to build what structure and how often to tap the various resource acquisition buttons, you make no actual moral choices. You do what you have to in order to get a bit more plot, and the builder gets pissed at you for it. The only feeling I got was a vague defensiveness. I guess one could just stay in the village and check traps, instead of exploring the world, but that's clearly not what the game wants you to do.
I have though long and hard about what others have loved about this game. Maybe they have better imaginations, writing in their own blank slates in to the copious empty space left by the game's designers? Maybe they have a higher tolerance for grinding out resources? Maybe I am not really human? I still don't know.… Expand