A Dark Room [game recommendation]

I just thought I would share this game that I’ve been playing. It’s available here:

I don’t think it necessarily qualifies as an IF since you don’t type any of the commands, and I’m under the impression that there is no narrative. The game is more like a text-based civilization sim. You are only give buttons to click, and as the game progresses and you’re society expands, you get more buttons. It involves mostly micro-managing and you do spend a bit of time waiting for resources to replenish but I’m having fun with it so far. There’s a bit of mystery surrounding the environment and the traders you encounter, and from what I’ve read it sounds like you have the opportunity to grow your civilization to a large scale.

Someone else wrote in detail (with spoilers) about their favourite aspects of the game over here: SPOILER WARNING

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Excellent! So far it reminds me a lot of Candy Box, except post-apocalyptic rather than whimsical.

Thanks for the link. Now I’m sure I’ll be playing Candy Box all of tomorrow.

I have now finished playing A Dark Room. I started it about 9 hours ago but I also took a long supper break in the middle somewhere. So I’m guessing it’s about 3-5 hours long.

Near the start of the game you won’t need to spend your full attention on it since it will take time for your resources to regenerate. So I always had another tab open to do other things while I was waiting. But later in the game there ends up being things you can do while waiting for resources so I thought it became very engaging at that point.

To be specific:

The point I’m referring to is after you get the compass. Try to get the compass as soon as you can because it opens up a whole lot more options and will help you discover new resources.

In regards to story, there isn’t a narrative but there is definitely atmosphere. There are vague hints scattered throughout the game as to what has happened to the world you live in. (Unfortunately I jumped to the ending as soon as it was available. I regret it now as I would have liked to explore more thoroughly to see what other details were hidden in the game).

The only thing with the writing is that I would have liked it if there was a bit more behaviour from the people living in the village you build. There are little descriptions given of the people when they move in, but after that they just become mindless peons for you to command. I think it could have been nice to maybe throw in occasional human-like interactions in the text window once in a while, to make it feel like your villagers were actually people. Just little things like “the villager waves to you as he walks by” or something like that.

But on the whole I really enjoyed this game.

Yeah, one of the striking things about A Dark Room is how at the outset it’s not really very clear what it’s going to be a game about. Early on, you feel as though each new character who joins your group is a person, even though you’re edgy and cautious and don’t really know one another very well yet. But by the time you get into the mid-game the village has become nothing more than an engine to fuel your adventurer forays - occasionally it annoyingly breaks down and needs a little maintenance, but that’s about it.

Not sure if folks here have seen this yet, but the iOS dev for ADR wrote up a great diary of the development here, amirrajan.net/a-dark-room/ , including the surprising jump to the #1 app in the US store a few months ago. Very interesting reading for anyone looking at selling text games on mobile.

I have played twice times untill the end and now I was challenged to finish the game without building huts. I really like this minimalistic games with strategy patterns.
This game was reffered in a newer thread but I can’t find it right now.

  • Jade.
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It never occurred to me that this would be possible! Are you still given a chance to build workshops etc. without villagers?

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The game (Android) shows a message at the end " have you tried to finish the game without building any hut? (More or less).
I suppose this is another message as all others you can listen when you complete the game for the first time.

Perhaps this message is showed when you beat the game for second time.

  • Jade.

Interesting. I’ve only played the desktop web version. Perhaps there are some differences in game mechanics in the mobile app.

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Rajan made a sequel to it, called The Ensign, which is only the rogue-like map part of it without the building-the-village part, in case anyone’s interested. I loved it.

Edit-- it’s similar but different. Not the same game. I made it sound above like the same game and it isn’t. It’s a sequel.


I will give it a try. MMM only iOS release.