Last year, we nominated Our Darkest Night by indie developer Unleash Studio as one of the most promising games on Steam Greenlight. Now, the game’s current alpha has entered the Early Access program. Let’s look at the state of the game: is it worth buying yet?
It is one of the most common themes we have seen in horror movies before: an old mansion in a stormy night, its inhabitants sleeping. Suddenly, there is a noise. Someone broke in! A maniac killer has entered the house and wants to slay everybody. Who will make it through the night? Our Darkest Night uses this setting for a thrilling survival game, loosely inspired by This War of Mine. While this game was a grim comment on war and its ramifications, Our Darkest Night focusses more on gameplay with a trashy set-up.
The current alpha contains a tutorial mode which is necessary to understand how this game works. Players see the profile of the old mansion and can navigate up to three inhabitants with the mouse. There are plenty of ways to survive the night using every character’s skills. They can lock doors, turn off the lights or interact with the surroundings. Eventually they’ll find some interesting items, such as weapons, crafting material or medicine. Each character has some special abilities too. They can build barricades or hide behind furniture. It is also possible to craft items and lay some traps. Everything is allowed to survive!
Our Darkest Night allows the player to bend the time. This gives some welcomed breathing-space in the heat of action. The intruder is constantly wandering around and waiting for noises made by the player’s actions. If he finds one of the characters, danger is close. Now it is time to run or to fight – given you found a weapon and ammo first. As fighting occurs in real time, it feels very chaotic. Characters are franticly hitting each other, running around like chicken. The better option might be to sneak around and find a way to escape the mansion unseen.
So, is it worth the 10 $ price tag yet? The game’s idea is very promising. Sneaking around the old house playing hide and seek with a killer is a thrilling experience and the game is already able to transfer this feeling to the player. It also seems like all major gameplay elements are in the game. Given its current state, Our Darkest Night needs some serious polishing when it comes to balancing, controls and user interface. While fighting the killer is much too difficult, escaping the house is a sure bet. Controls are clunky at best and much too overloaded with options. And the UI is simply too big, taking away a lot of screen space without giving relevant information. Despite the tutorial, some players might look for better guidance at the beginning of the game. It is currently difficult to quickly grasp all gameplay opportunities. Maybe it would help to give more info on the background story. This would make the game feel more alive.Thai developer Unleash studio needs to put some more work into these elements to make Our Darkest Night a truly “enjoyable” experience. They have already updated the game twice, so there is hope for more. The players will hopefully give valuable feedback, as that’s what Early Access is for. So, if you want to support a promising survival game right now, go and buy Our Darkest Night. If you are looking for a polished game, better wait for the official release, scheduled later this year.