Darkest Dungeon Reviews

It's time to round up another batch of reviews for Darkest Dungeon, Red Hook Studios' newly released and (apparently) high stress-inducing RPG. As with the first batch, the critiques almost entirely fall into the favorable camp.

Gameplanet gives it a 9.0/10:

First and foremost, Darkest Dungeon is a concept game that has hit its mark perfectly, a tonal masterpiece where everything from the art to sound, writing, difficulty levels and gameplay features contributes perfectly towards the whole picture that the developers aimed to paint. Turn off the lights, place a single lit candle next to your monitor, and creep hesitantly forward into its dark spaces; the way ahead will be hard, but the rewards are substantial.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun goes scoreless:

You'll lose lives, money, resolve and the marbles of your crew, before you're back at the hamlet with nothing to show, no further forward, another four bodies resigned to the graveyard. You'll incessantly tour a ragtag mob of reluctant rookies into foregone conclusions. You'll laugh at the fact you've wound up with a nymphomaniac alcoholic who is barred from both the Tavern and the Brothel. You'll cry. And cry and cry and cry. But I think you'll love it.

Wired does the scoreless thing, too:

Success in Darkest Dungeon requires throwing human lives at your problems, forcing your employees into the tunnels again and again, without mercy, like a Dickensian villain. Your best gunman gets a bit too wacky? Fire him and get another. That guy doesn't look too stressed; send him back in. He'll be fine. Things go south, cut your losses and start over. In a world this harsh, heroism emerges in unlikely places. Every once in a while, instead of developing an affliction, a warrior will grow stronger in the face of unbearable stress. They'll grow stalwart, or brave, encouraging their allies on, determined. I'm going to get us through this, they insist.

Eurogamer gives it a "Recommended" rating:

Consider Lovecraft. No, consider the anglerfish, that Lovecraftian nightmare of the deep with its sickly glowing lightbulb luring you in before the wretched face becomes visible. The tiny, melted eyes, the cruel underbite, and the thatch, not of hair, but of teeth. This is Darkest Dungeon, even before the fish people turn up and are troublingly untroubled by bleeding. This is a game that's horrid in a way that means that you can't look away, a game of exhaustion and luridness and of terrible things happening in an awful, awful place. In other words, it's just lovely.

Shacknews gives it a 9/10:

Darkest Dungeon takes the staples of roguelikes and adds the atmosphere and themes of Lovecraftian Horror and does so with incredible success. The game captures the feeling of battling an unending wave of nightmarish abominations with little to no chance of hope. But when you do succeed you feel like a million bucks. The difficulty may deter many people from trying this game out, but if you are brave enough you will be rewarded with a rich experience.

GameRant gives it a 4.5/5:

Darkest Dungeon is one of the best roguelike games to be had, and anyone who enjoys a challenging dungeon crawler will find themselves playing adventure after adventure with rotating rosters of forlorn heroes. At its heart, Darkest Dungeon is Lovecraftian horror of the finest caliber it's unforgiving, brutal, and filled with misfortune. Players will feel like they've truly earned each successful boss fight or adventure, and we found ourselves constantly wanting to come back for more punishment.

DarkZerk gives it a 9/10:

The writing and narration combined with the beautiful hand drawn graphics unite to create a gaming experience that feels both literary and cartoonish. The player feels like her or she is fighting his or her way through a graphic novel which lends a feeling of whimsy that makes up for the sometimes frustrating gameplay. There is a lot of grinding involved in this game, but the grind is generally pretty fun. It is surprisingly addictive and great to play in the wee hours of the night.

GameRanx gives it a "Buy It" rating:

The dour setting and difficulty may not be for everyone, but Darkest Dungeon is an excellent game. Games critics have been using the term (ludonarrative dissonance) to describe conflict between a game's mechanics and story for several years now, and Darkest Dungeon represents the opposite: call it (ludonarrative synthesis,) an elegant pairing of ludic and story elements that creates an experience only possible in a video game.

Attack of the Fanboy gives it a 4.5/5:

Darkest Dungeon is a fantastic game that fans of challenging, old-school RPGs will adore. The game does nothing to hold your hand, as it will instead take your hand and throw you face-first into hell itself. While it might just be a tad too brutal for those who can't tolerate these kinds of punishing games, for everyone else it is simply an experience you can't afford to miss.

And WCCF Tech gives it an 8.0/10:

Darkest Dungeon is without a doubt one of the more interesting roguelike games released in recent times thanks to its superb presentation and engaging gameplay features. Being a roguelike at its core, Darkest Dungeon won't change the opinion of those who can't stand similar games, even with the randomness of the genre not being as troublesome as in other games. Randomly generated dungeons might get tiring after a while, but there's no denying that Darkest Dungeon does its best to keep players coming back for more.