Darkout - Terraria meets Pitch Black

Fortunately or unfortunately another Terraria-type game released on Steam the same day Starbound beta did. I picked up both with the consideration that Darkout is a full release and not early access.

The premise is that you are a sole survivor of some great ark starship and crash land your escape pod on Illumia(?), a very alien planet. The planet overall is darkly lit and has a full day/cycle. The graphics are the best I’ve seen for a game in this genre. It’s full HD graphics with bloom and AO. Particularly at night the flora and fauna glow all types of fluroescent colors reminiscent of Avatar.

Gameplay evolves similarly to other games of the genre. There is a brief tutorial to get your started. You build your first basic wooden shelter and move on from there exploring, acquiring new resources, opening up new recipes, and conducting research to unlock new items to build in higher tech tiers. I would say it has a pretty good UI once you get used to a little of the quirks, one of which is the two-button hotbar system. It definitely tries to innovate on the genre and come out with some novel new ideas.

A basic gameplay system is that of light and darkness. Different biomes have different darkness levels and the dark level increases at night. The creatures of Illumia feed off of the darkness. Any light you produce from torches, items, armors, etc. raises the light level which offers some protection to you and your structures while also weakening the creatures you are trying to fight.

There is definitely a learning curve. It took me the better part of an hour to discover that i needed to mine stone before the Furnace became available for me to craft. But I think that exists with all games of the genre.

One implementation I thought was well done was building structures. Placing walls and background walls is very responsive to the mouse and there is a wide range from the character where you can place blocks which make building that much easier. Also, when mining, pressing M changes the mining width, meaning at one time you can mine either a single block or three blocks at a time. That is very neat.

I think that for the price it’s definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre and want to support an indie dev making this kind of game. I have had no problems launching it which seems to be a main complaint on the Steam forums. I’m about 2 hours into the game right now and looking forward to getting deeper into it, all the while dabbling in Starbound on the side until it matures more.

Thanks for pointing this game out. I really like these games coop with friends and family so I was happy to see that MP support is currently in development. I really love the art style and I’m a sucker for these sort of games so I’ll probably be picking this up shortly.

I spent a fair bit of time with this yesterday and meant to talk about it on the podcast. I also hit that furnace brick wall. I finally got nine stone out of ten, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out where I’m supposed to get more stone. So I gave up. I just don’t understand why a game like this would hit you so early with such a resource bottleneck. At least in Don’t Stave, I die. But here I’m just wandering around with nothing to do because I can’t find another piece of stone. Stone, for Pete’s sake!

I really don’t get the point of these sorts of Terraria clones. The basic gameplay is so identical, yet it doesn’t have the amount of polish or, I presume, content that you get in Terraria. Why would you play this instead? Graphics? I guess it does look nice. The idea of a finite storyline? I can’t imagine there’s much draw there in this sort of game. I do like the idea of amassing tech points, and the light/dark mechanic seems like it could be interesting. But it mostly made me just want to dig into Terraria again.

As for the art style Kevin mentioned, I love the look of the planet, but hoo boy do those character graphics turn me off. You can be either a cartoony Space Quest dude completely out of sorts with the eerie look of the planet or a purple-haired anime chick completely out of sorts with anything that isn’t a JRPG. I don’t particularly care for either one.

-Tom

Yea, Tom, it’s the planetary backgrounds and the use of lighting/color that I find really appealing (I’m not an artist in the least, so I apologize if I’m describing the visual aesthetics like a neanderthal). It’s hard to tell from the video about the character art, but they at least didn’t jump out and punch me in the eyeball. That’s just from watching the video clips, though, I might have a different reaction in-game.

Well, I see these games as new entries in a relatively new sub-genre started by Minecraft and evolve into Terraria, Starbound, etc. Yes, I was annoyed by the Furnace wall too. After 2 hours I ascribe the game to being more challenging than Terraria. I’ve died a whole bunch of times from the creatures at night. Not sure yet if it’s unbalanced or the devs intended it on being a hard game. For the time being I’ll take it as being hard.

But for me what I like so far about the game is the differences when compared to Terraria. I like seeing that there are 50 audio logs to find and collect which form a background story, including numerous logs with stories and other flavor stuff. I like the whole Sci-Fi take on the game and related things you can craft. My interest has been peaked seeing that there are pipes you can craft to pump different fluids to different devices and wires which will be needed for some power related things. Haven’t gotten that far yet but definitely curious.

Not to mention the fact that questionable character models aside I think the game is gorgeous for this genre and the first one to my knowledge to attempt this type of game in a non-pixelated high resolution style.

Anyways, I’m only 2 hours into it, my opinion may change as I put more time into it. I guess I had low expectations initially about the game considering the price but I am so far pleasantly surprised.

It does look interesting, however, I think Ill wait for patches, guides, and more importantly reviews from people on the game-play. I played Terraria when it first came out and beat it. Then in subsequent months a bunch of patches came out that totally changed the game. Id rather wait for such potential than hit it out of the box.

Yeah, this game came out at a particularly bad time.

I feel for them, especially since (as I understand it) they were Greenlit with this current batch and didn’t exactly have control over the specific date. I wouldn’t have even heard about it were it not for Ponicus bringing it up in the Starbound thread.

Definitely keeping my eye on this now, though.

Thanks for writing it up, Ponicus. I’m still a little torn; I’ll probably wait until the dust clears a bit more before pulling the trigger.

I felt the same way initially. Once I figured out what Stone actually looked like (duh!) I found a large deposit of it real close. I was looking for “glowing” stuff like copper and coal so never found stone until then there it was just not glowing right under the grass.

Does it have resolution options and key rebinds?

Yes and yes.

This game swallowed up my whole evening last night once I was set up with my Furnace. The game really started to click more and more for me. It seems to be slower and more deliberate pacing than Terraria. After about 6 hours in it’s still a recommend for me (specially at only 12 bucks).

Some cool things from last night:
[ul]
[li]I had a dark spot in my house because I moved a torch at night and parasites started to spawn in my house out of the darkness so I learned a little more about that mechanic. As soon as I put some light back there it was secure again.[/li][li]The game has full front/back wall mechanic in place. At my stone deposit once I mined all the stone blocks there was really twice as much stone because the whole back wall of the deposit was stone too. Shift+click will mine/chop at the back wall blocks.[/li][li]I was finding random chests from time to time hidden behind objects when I removed them, such as behind a tree and behind a back wall.[/li][li]Shift+mousewheel zooms in and out. If you zoom out all the way you can see a lot more real estate at one time.[/li][li]One night I had a “dark moon” instead of a normal night and it was pitch black outside!!! The only things you could see was the glows and light rays of your lights… very creepy! Really awesome lighting in this game.[/li][li]I crafted my first set of armor, leather armor. Discovered that armor emits light, of course the first armor set doesn’t emit much at all, but that over time better armor and items emit more light which help you explore farther and deeper.[/li][li]Until I had armor and a sword the creatures were pretty tough. Once I got a furnace, got the basic starting sword and armor, it’s much more manageable outside now in the starting Jungle biome. Following the advice of the game, flashing light at a baddie before hacking it down works best. Also figured out the easiest way to attack is to hold down the mouse button, much safer than clicking rapidly.[/li][/ul]

Darkout looks great.
Like a mix of Terraria (sidescrolling build shit), Pitched Black (darkness), Tryne2 (art) and EXiLE from the AMiGA. (Jetpack ;) )
Shame it is only single player though.

Its on sale until Dec 11 on steam apparently.

Reading the dev blogs, it sounds like MP has been in development for a while so hopefully it gets implemented at some point. This was from a development update back in April, so obviously it’s taking much longer than expected. :)

Back to the reason for this post. We know that the one thing everyone is eagerly waiting for is Multiplayer, and though it is still going to be 2 months or so before we release it, we have been making good progress. A lot of code has been written since launch and the whole of world generation has been ported over to the new server based system which we will be using to run MP games.

And from the Steam page:

Multiplayer
Alpha/Beta in Stage 2
Beta to Completion in Stage 3

Oh, Colour me much more interested then :-)

In addition to MP, they blogged that they plan on a steady pace of new content including new biomes, monsters, items, bosses, etc. for at least the next year.

Which makes buying it now seem silly :/

I don’t think so. It’s not an early access or beta phase. It’s a full release. They’re just saying their going to add post-launch content. Terraria did the same thing at release.

I get it, but since I’ll probably only play the game once, it makes sense to wait for the most complete version. YMMV.

I agree with your sentiment but if it walks like a beta, quacks like a beta, it’s probably a hobgoblin… or however the saying goes. The line sure is blurred these days between early access, beta, 1.0 with post-release support, etc. Welcome to software as a service? It’s something that I have found both to be wonderful and obnoxious about modern gaming, depending on the dev team and publisher.