A Dark Room

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Title card from the Web page.

A Dark Room is a multi-genre idle RPG with a science fiction theme developed and published by Doublespeak Games for the browser on 2013-06-10, then later for iOS and Android, and later Switch. The game was designed using basic monochrome HTML and the ports mostly stick to this motif. It was followed up by a prequel called The Ensign.

The game begins vaguely in a dark room where you begin to stoke a fire. The light and warmth attracts a woman who helps you build up the fire and start a village. You must manage the growing village and explore the surrounding region, but you quickly learn that the outside world is very hostile.

Personal

My friend Beau suggested I play this game, and I started and was immediately hooked. I beat the browser version of the game on 2022-05-10 with a final score of 81,809. I beat the Android port on 2022-05-11 in 196 minutes.

The browser version is free, I have beaten it. I own the Android port and have beaten it.

Review

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5 5 2 2 5

Best Version: Browser

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The game does a good job at telling a story without using narrative exposition. The player must infer the backstory based on some of the odd events that happen during the game.
  • As far as incremental games go, this one had a lovely air of mystery going for it which I liked.
  • The switch from incremental management simulator to Rouge-like was interesting and enjoyable as well as pleasantly unexpected.
  • The audio added to the updated browser version is a welcome addition.
  • The Android version includes more story to the game which I appreciated. It also makes it clear when new things occur in various sections and includes a special mode for blind players.
  • The developer commentary in the Android port is a nice addition.

Bad

  • I would have appreciated graphics in the UI. Even simple monochrome icons would improve the feel of the game.
  • I feel like the story was a little too limited. After listening to the developer's commentary, it's clear that they were aiming to evoke various feelings during the game, but I think they only just barely succeeded. I think they could have added more prose without ruining the mystery.
  • I could do with additional random events. In a single play through you'll see all of them many times, and then there's nothing new for a replay.
  • The UI of the Android version is inferior. With less screen real estate to work with, you have to jump between menus a lot more than the browser version, and, unlike the updated browser version, it doesn't calculate your net output, or allow you to take all the loot with a click of a single button.
  • Why do bayonets/katanas do as much damage as rifles? Ridiculous weapon physics.
  • Once you discover that you can simply punch for more damage than any of the weapons you can make, you stop wasting your time making or even acquiring them, which eliminates a big portion of the game.
  • I noticed several minor bugs in the Android app. Traps sometimes report the wrong number of bait, supplies are sometimes not drawn in the list, once the game slowed to a crawl, and it crashed on me a few times.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Media

Title Cards

Icons

Links

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