Before I start, please watch the video above, Darkwood lulled me into a false sense of what the game would be and changed my expectations. Darkwood drops you straight into the story and gameplay without the usual hand-holding experience we are used to in video games- the developers literally tell us this at the start. At first, it took me some time to get up to speed with how to play, but as the game progresses you do quickly learn what you need to do. And remember Google is your friend.
Crafting, skill and perks, trading and this sense of dread fill the air every time you go out into the forest to collect resources to help you survive the world of Darkwood. The way the sense of dread/fear is used is very clever. As you are exploring the forest is quiet – very quiet – and you will stumble across derelict houses/build with people inside but not willing to talk to you. Then you have animals around areas of the map that will attack you; my personal favourite is the moose, they will kill you very quickly and trying to run from them or the wild dogs is a massive pain.
Controls can be a little fiddly, but not so bad that you would break your controller. Visually I believe Acid Wizard Studio and Crunching Koalas have got the aesthetic and audio perfect, for this type and style of game.
Darkwood is not a game to enter into lightly. I found it tough to get going, though I can see it being rewarding for those looking for a challenge to sink their teeth into.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.