Our Rating: 8/10
Draft of Darkness (Early Access) is a turn-based survival game with battle centered on deck-building. You may use the regular variety of close combat, ranged, and support strategies, but with a spin on the varieties.
Jake, Cara, and Pavel are the three protagonists we have to choose from when we first begin the game. Every character has unique strengths and can employ a variety of firearms. Jake, for instance, is perfect for pistols and can employ a torch as a source of light but also as a close combat weapon.
Cara may use blades and syringes, which could be used to cure allies as well as impaling monsters. Pavel has the appearance of an old-school thug and can wield shotguns and axes. We could also pick alliances to include in our group as we proceed through zones.
Each character engagement encapsulates Draft of Darkness’ mysterious style. A backstory about the main characters or the setting would have been a nice inclusion, though. However, once the full release is out, perhaps we’ll learn more about them.
Build Your Deck
Playing the game is relatively straightforward. You control your selected protagonist as he moves around, grabbing supplies and firing his way through every section. Cabinets, workbenches, closets, and other items can be scoured and looted as you advance through the levels. You’ll need the supplies, so grab anything you see. Jake, for instance, could use pistols, as I previously stated. There is a cap on the amount of ammunition that can be loaded into the pistol.
The gameplay revolves around the creation of decks. You begin with a deck (10 cards) that you may tweak by buying booster packs. You could introduce additional cards to your arsenal and take away old ones as you proceed through every run to best match the tactic you’re pursuing.
There are some RPG aspects infused in as well, as leveling up enables you to invest skill points to improve various stats, and you can also adjust your firearms and gear for anyone with improved stats or perks.
The graphics were reminiscent of the first PlayStation. That’s just a personal observation to warn people who might evaluate a game solely based on its visuals. It brings to the game’s grittier feel which many old-school fans will appreciate. The styling of the characters is amazing. Without giving anything away, the more you get into it, the more disturbing it becomes.
Draft of Darkness has incredible audio. The music is equally as impressive as the background music, which gives that eerie feeling. There’s a genuine sense of atmosphere here, and it works well. The devs’ audio design also works as expected. The game’s mood and ambiance are further enhanced by the various creatures’ horrifying noises.
The importance of audio design in a survival horror game is unquestionable. Even if it’s only mildly off-kilter, getting a sound that doesn’t match your mood can be off-putting to gamers. Fortunately, Draft of Darkness avoids this. During more intense battles, the audio design also aids in breaking up the soundtrack.
Despite the lack of a clear backstory for the characters, the plot here is excellent. There will be more than enough story arcs to follow aside from the prime goal of staying alive. Every time you access something new, it will show up in a graph from the home screen.
Due to the randomly generated nature of this game, including the difficulty, accessing everything should take a while. Shifting to easy mode will allow you to feel the plot points, but it is recommended that you play on normal because the gameplay is far more enjoyable.
It’s worth mentioning that the narrative will be expanded even further, with the announcement of Part 2 in the works. Every one of these additions isn’t available right now in Early Access, but they’ll be added soon. This is a fantastic way for the devs to express their gratitude for all of the support they’ve gotten up to this point.
Ultimately, anyone who enjoys deck building, survival horror, roguelikes should check out Draft of Darkness. The game’s inspiration comes from Resident Evil, and despite offering a distinct type of combat, it has a ton of potential and replay value.