Hidden Gem of the Week: A Dark Room / The Ensign

By , on April 11, 2018
Last modified 4 years, 9 months ago

At a glance, you might expect A Dark Room to be another text adventure, and it certainly seems like one at the start. But don't be fooled by its mysteriously minimalist beginngin.  A Dark Room is a gradually unfolding piece of game design, blending elements of interactive fiction, management, RPGs, and roguelikes in a unique experience.

A Dark Room

Starting with nothing but a campfire to keep aflame,  A Dark Room soon introduces you to a stranger in the forest and from there, it begins to unfurl into something much grander. Your simple camfire grows into a village, and your simple UI morphs with additional choices to order newcomers to gather resources, go hunting, and so on. Soon your growing village must fend off attacks from fierce beasts and explore deeper into the surrpunding wilderness, and with each venture, you gain new and better materials to craft more effective tools and gear. You'll need such equipment as A Dark Room expands even further still, turning into a challenging journey across unforgiving lands filled with brutal strangers and deadly predators. 

The game's sequel, The Ensign, focuses on that last stage, offering different and clever mechanics as you explore a mysterious environment and engage the threats that lurk in the forests and settlements around your own location. It may seem less mysterious at first, without A Dark Room's compelling unraveling but The Ensign hides its own mysteries to uncover. 

A Dark Room can be purchased for $1.99 on iOS and Android, and The Ensign for $1.99 only on the App Store.