A Dark Room is a text based browser game that is surprisingly fun. The game is developed by Double Speak, with a minimalist design that reveals more as the game progress. A Dark Room starts with a player in a dark room (no surprise) and the sole option to stoke a fire. With fire burning hot, the game introduces a builder and another game ‘area’ outside the room, where player can gather woods. The area is initially named ‘Silent Forest’ which will become a Lonely Hut, and eventually A Raucous Village.
Builder will subsequently introduce more options, e.g. a cart for more efficient transport of woods, and huts to build a simple village. With more gatherers, other options start to appear, e.g. building a lodge (for hunters to gather more fur and meat), a workshop where crude weapons and torches can be built.
Without spoiling the game, here’s a couple of quick tips:
Build up the Village
In my first try, I did not max out the number of huts. However, the hut houses the important resources of villages (indicated via a number and each hut can house 4 population) that generates more woods and eventually workers to manufacture things.
There is a maximum of 20 huts (huts get progressively more expensive to build in terms of woods) and that gives the player a cap of 80 population. When the maximum number of huts are built, the game will display a ‘no more room for huts’ message.
After the Huts, do build the traps to maximum. Baited traps work better of course, and doesn’t cost much (1 meat for each bait).
Resource management is a key component for ‘A Dark Room’ where each villager assigned to produce some resources, will also consume the primary resources e.g. fur to leather, meat to baits. With a maximum of 80 villagers it is much easier to increase production for the needed resources. Try adjusting the number of villagers assign until the game sort of balances out, e.g. 2 hunter will generate 1 fur and 1 meat every 10 second, while a tanner takes 5 furs for a leather. So 10 hunters will support a tanner (5 furs to give 1 leather) and a charcutier (5 meats and wood for a cured meat).
A Dusty Path
Once the player buys the Compass from the Trading Post (or cheaper from the Nomad, which is a random event), another game segment will appear – A Dusty Path. This new area allows the player to explore beyond the village, fight enemies and eventually reach an important game objective (sorry – not spoiling the game for you). The location of this ‘objective’ is roughly along the direction pointed by the Compass when you first bought it.
While tempting to immediately explore the Dusty Path, try not to do so until you have a couple of important items e.g. the basic bonespear (weapon), waterskin and rucksack. I will suggest taking along 4-5 torches, and about 10 cured meat as well. Each step on the Dusty Path will consume 1 water unit and 0.5 cured meat. These can be replenish at various points e.g. encounters and caves.
The initial objectives are to find mines e.g. an iron mine (and later coal, and sulphur). There are only 1 of each mine and the location is random. Dying while fighting (or due to thirst / starvation) means everything that is carried will be lost – not a good idea. Thus take exploratory steps to find rest points for water / cured meat replenishments before you venture far into the map.
Finding the mines unlock more resources, and more objects to build e.g. better armour, better water container (e.g. water tank) that allows you to explore and survive longer trips.
Once you find (or build) different weapon types, they can be used (subject to cool down) simultaneously in the fights. Only 1 weapon of each type is needed, i.e. no point bringing along 3 bone spears for example.
All these explorations is for the sole purpose of finding the ‘objective’ as earlier mentioned. Once you find it, gather more resources e.g. Alien Alloy, and then the player can embark on a final trip… that requires nimble fingers i.e. quite different from the main bulk of A Dark Room’s wait for resources type gameplay.
A last tip – random events occur (e.g. the Nomad) and some of these events offer a chance to impart important Perks (e.g. Scout) that will be useful for playing A Dark Room.