Darkest Dungeon is a game developed by Red Hook that is still in early access (official release will be in October).
It’s a dungeon crawl with a couple of new and interesting mechanics and a great gothic atmosphere.
The heroes are hired by a caretaker that needs you to clean the dungeons around your ancestral home.
You can venture in the dungeon with up to 4 heroes, recruited from 13 possible hero classes. You progress from room to room, come across a couple of spiders or similar beasties and fight.
Each hero class has a preferred position during combat and 4 possible actions (attacks or boosts). You will win the first fights easily, but slowly the dark creeps in and the stress levels mount.
Each hero can only handle so much stress before getting an affliction. If you nevertheless decide to move further into the darkness heroes can freak out so much that they can die of a hearth attack.
Of course you can decide to flee and abandon your quest, but the temptation to go just a little bit further is usually stronger, prodded by the hope of rewards and experience gains. However, a couple of nasty hits or a hidden trap are usually sufficient to exterminate your heroes.
It’s intense as a player to see one of your heroes that you painstakingly brought up from level 1, whose quirks and afflictions you mended, die because you risked too much and pushed too far.
Whether you manage to accomplish your mission or abandon your quest, you get back to the little hamlet that is your headquarters, where you can – and usually need – to spend you hard earned coin and heirlooms to have your heroes relax, get rid of quirks and illnesses or improve their skills and weapons.
This game is really well built even if it’s still in early access and the stress affecting your heroes is very contagious to you as a player. The art, music, voices and tone of the whole game is great.
Why play this game: if you like dungeon crawls with a dark gothic tone.
Why not play this game: if you are afraid of the dark or hate losing painfully levelled heroes.