Top Critic Average
Darkwood is a brutally atmospheric take on the top-down horror genre. Coming out of Early Access, Acid Wizard Studio's hit title is something of an amazing amalgamation of genres; blending horror with exploration, challenging combat, roguelike-world generations and roleplaying game-like character development, Darkwood is simply put, and awesome title. What shocked me most was that it seemed to be very similar to some of the best board games I have played, not in play style, but in the way it feels. For example, Mansions of Madness, easily one of the best board games ever, leaves you with this dark and foreboding feeling when you are done playing. Darkwood is that, but in video game form, and with rich gameplay and stunning sound design, Darkwood is easily the breakout title of the season.
Darkwood is a deeply unsettling horror game that turns night into your greatest enemy and makes players question what could be lurking in the dark. For any fans of the genre, this is an instant classic.
The atmosphere, the darkness, the eerie soundtrack, and the design of the monsters you encounter are what make Darkwood one of the most memorable survival horror games I've played in recent times.
With its many surprises, Darkwood is a title with immeasurable depth that will keep horror fans gripped until the very end. An important focus on narrative-driven gameplay kept me hooked and desperate for answers. A horrifying aesthetic with spooky soundscapes plays with our instincts and terrifies the senses. When the title boasted "a horror game without jump-scares", I initially rolled my eyes. Most titles incorporate some kind of jump-scare to get a cheap reaction out of players. Even tastefully done jump-scares feel cheap to me because I'm not actually "scared," I'm just surprised. Darkwood succeeds where many other titles fail. It's a heart-racing experience that any horror fan worth their salt should attempt to survive.
Despite some unsatisfying gameplay systems, Darkwood can provide legitimate thrills and scares for the horror fans that miss the vibes of such classics as Silent Hill 2 and Pathologic without ever using a jump scare. Whether it is the uniquely grotesque art style or the ever-challenging design of its difficulty, Acid Wizard Studio has proven it understands what ingredients make up a good horror experience and the randomised elements of the game allow a unique narrative every time you play.
Darkwood tells the story of escaping from a mysterious and scary forest, where darkness and fear are the powers at work, and although it suffers from shortcomings here and there, the atmosphere alone is enough to keep you engaged and take your breath away.
Review in Persian | Read full review
Darkwood is a challenging and rewarding horror game that will test even the hardcore survival horror buff. The gameplay loop of finding new and better resources by day and fending off horrifying creatures by night is surprisingly addictive.
Darkwood does so much with its simple top-down perspective that it matches some of the best horror games released this year. It is easy to appreciate the finer details when you methodically explore a captivating wooded area, gather resources, and fend off deadly creatures before the terrifying night arrives.
Darkwood is one of the most terrifying games I've ever played as it challenges you to explore and survive a dark and twisted world. Unravelling the mysteries of the night time horrors will consume you even before you try the permadeath mode. This comes highly recommended, but remember to wear your brown trousers.
Darkwood is gritty, difficult and scary, and these are just three of the reasons why we liked it: the crafting system is good, the atmosphere is always tense and the sound design is excellent. Don't miss it if you like survival horror games.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Despite a seemingly unnecessary level of challenge, Darkwood is genuinely one of the scariest games out there, featuring some of the best sound design in the survival horror genre.
Darkwood is, thankfully, rather unlike any other horror game on Switch. Those with a taste for survival games will appreciate the constant pressure to salvage parts and craft new items while a clock ticks down in the background, while those with a love for all things sinister will really appreciate some of the truly disturbing moments. Despite the occasional technical flaw, the result is a purposefully slow experience that rewards multiple playthroughs with a storyline that branches depending on just how far into madness you're willing to tread.
Despite being such a common setting in horror, it feels like there aren’t that many big games that utilize the woods (The Forest is probably the best other example), especially to the level Darkwood does. Every decision is informed by the setting, from the survival mechanics to the enemy types to the tone and story. This cohesion of theme makes it stand out in the crowded indie horror market, providing scares that AAA games have trouble achieving. But just like getting lost in the woods, be prepared to spend some time fumbling around in the dark before finding the path.
Darkwood is a tense and challenging horror and survival game with superb atmosphere, excellent visual presentation, and a strong gameplay core, but it's marred by clunky movement and unintuitive combat mechanics.
Darkwood plays with the fear of the unknown to create an atmosphere and situations of pure terror. If you've been looking for a true survival horror game for years, one that doesn't rely on jump scares and make you turn on the lights at night... You've just found it.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Darkwood manages to pull off horror to a truley stunning degree. What minor gameplay annoyances that there are in the game are more than covered for by the exploration and atmosphere.
Darkwood is not a game for everyone – and that's perfect. As a survival horror game, it's one of the tensest and scariest experiences I've encountered. There is a very European soul in here, a desperation and acceptance of death that we can only see in eastern productions, giving us a hard look at something different, but equally beautiful.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Darkwood is a work of absolute value, able to create a sense of deep and pervasive restlessness, which results in anxiety at the beginning of each night. On consoles, the game suffers from a more cumbersome gameplay. A cruel adventure, suitable for those who think they have seen everything in their videogame career.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Darkwood does a great job of showing off its weird, unsettling world, but it struggles to tell players what they have to do. The woods are home to secrets and terrible truths alike. Though it falls short of reaching its full potential, mostly due to questionable controls and cumbersome combat, this horror game is worth the experience on the merits of its haunting atmosphere alone.
Darkwood is on the verge of greatness. The terrifying and foreboding atmosphere it manages to create is unmatched in the genre, while the scares themselves are earned and equally alarming. The experience is somewhat held back by gameplay annoyances, but they're not enough to sway a recommendation.
Darkwood is a game with potential, and I certainly hope the developers take any lessons learned from it and return with the killer horror title they’ve come close to creating.
Darkwood is really not for everyone's hands. Unforgiving and far from being linear, it's above all aimed to gamers who are experienced in the survival genre. The sound design is neat and conveys a real feeling of despair and horror, even if the visuals and the game design in general lack of variety.
Review in French | Read full review
As far as survival horrors on the Nintendo Switch go, Darkwood certainly knows how to keep players alert and on their toes, as well as to make them take their own decisions to survive. Where Darkwood doesn't fully stand out is when it comes to its visual environment, as well as on solving technical issues but beyond that, this is a game that will satisfy fans of the survival horror genre.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Darkwood has an interesting world, a story that can go in different directions depending on your decisions, and a gameplay loop that's exciting at times and tedious at others.
Darkwood for the Nintendo Switch will certainly scratch the itch of a survival focused gamer. This takes the premise of games like Don't Starve, then takes itself much more seriously and makes it somewhat spookier. The harshness won't appeal to everyone, and the horror themes wear thin before too long, but for the right survivalist, or glutton for punishment, this may be exactly what you were looking for.
Darkwood is a fine open-world survival experience, and spins a good yarn, but doesn't quite succeed as a horror game. The ominous veneer wears off quickly enough, and you're left with a somewhat cumbersome Don't Starve clone. Darkwood has its moments and will please a certain dedicated breed, but less masochistic general gaming audiences may find the title more tedious than terrifying. Don't venture into these woods unless you're prepared to rough it.
Unfortunately for me Darkwood is unintelligible, and I'm genuinely sad that I wasn't able to appreciate the many merits of a game because I simply had no way of actually making sense of it.