Acid Wizard Studios and Crunching Koalas recently launched Darkwood for the Nintendo Switch. The Mature-rated psychological horror game first made some distinct waves way back in 2014 when it first entered into Early Access on Steam, but slowly over time the developers evolved and developed the title into a noteworthy entry in the survival-horror genre.
The top-down game utilizes a lot of disturbing visuals and unsettling atmospheric effects to draw players into a world of ghastly abominations and horrific monsters. This is all highlighted to excellent effect in the game’s Switch launch trailer featuring fragments of “A na onej górze” frin Joanna Słowińska.
You can check out the launch trailer below to get an idea of what the gameplay and art-style is like.
I haven’t really been much of a fan of top-down games in recent times, but I have to admit that Acid Wizard’s take on the genre looks really good. It was always a striking game that was visually captivating even during its Early Access run, but being reminded of the imagery and how it all ties together with art that looks like it’s inspired by the morbid works of Dawid Planeta and Zdzisław Beksiński really helps elevate Darkwood to the next level.
There’s a stark sense of desperation and destitution depicted through the decaying environment and scattered bodies strewn about. Combining that with the hopelessly stark color scheme and you have yourself a recipe for something special.
The one thing that really stood out to me was the way the overhead view actually adds to the scare factors. The segment where you see the door open on the other side of the house while waiting for the inevitable to happen is one of the most moments of pure terror. You have no idea what’s coming through the other side.
It’s not a walking-sim horror game, though. You won’t just collect batteries and hide in cupboards like a scared little child. You will get to fight back and you will have to struggle for your survival. You’ll need to scavenge for supplies during the day and batten down the hatches to survive the night.
You can setup traps, barricade doors and windows, or wait in a corner with a shotgun to put a huge hole in anything brazen enough to step foot in front of the barrel.