Polish indie team Acid Wizard Studio is the developer behind survival horror jaunt Darkwood. The game has been available as far back as 2014 (in Steam early access), but had its official big launch in 2017.
It’s a tense old time of it, riffing on the survival horror genre to channel things like Resident Evil, SOMA, Outlast, and the Wii U’s ZombiU.
The twist here? There’s a top-down perspective like SNES-era Zeldas and a day/night cycle to worry about. Ermagherd…
Survival Horror Larks in Darkwood
Righto, you can get this spooky SOB on pretty much anything. Steam, GOG, all the consoles etc. And if you like survival horror games… this could be for you!
URGH!! What was that!? Oh, it’s just the sound of us typing. Thank cripes!
Anyway, Darkwood is set in the Polish People’s Republic (somewhere in the Soviet Bloc) in the late 1980s. In a disturbing and enigmatic forest, which is engulfing the surrounding area, those trapped in the region have that to contend with… and a plague outbreak.
The ’80s sure were the best of times, eh?
With victims turning into horrifying abominations, the government in the outside world sent in the army to restore order. But hasn’t worked as the army is now dead.
The result? You take control of various characters, but mainly the Stranger, who you must guide through the forests to find out what the bloody hell is going on.
In classic survival horror fashion, you must search the woods (bit of an Evil Dead II concept going on there), gather resources, and try not to panic in terror.
One of the things with Darkwood is you can only explore during the day.
At night!? Akin to that Will Smith film I Am Legend (2004) where you have to barricade yourself into a hut and hope to bejeezus the woods don’t kill you.
As a game… it’s rather good! If you’ve played this type of thing before, you’ll know what to expect. Lots of creeping exploration, gathering stuff like rags and nails, and hunkering down to escape the onslaught of evil things.
That’s all done very well and it’s a tense, at times psychologically chilling game—especially when you’re exploring new locations in the dank and dark.
Downsides? Yeah, the survival horror genre appeals to certain types of gamers. Darkwood isn’t an accessible game you pick up and play.
But it delivers a strong horror experience for fans of the genre to rip to shreds in cold-blooded delight. And that’s minus any cliched jump scare nonsense in favour of suspense and an ever-growing sense of paranoia.