«Trees, trees, millions of trees, massive, immense, that climbed upwards (…). It made one feel very small, very lost » . -Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness.
Green, golden, crispy leaves; branches skeletal, crooked, brittle; ancestral trunks, august, pierced; dense, dark, wild forests; Narrow, crystalline, stony rivers … All these elements make up the infinite and majestic forest. What is hidden crouched in the
arboreal mantle? What creatures await in the smoky mist? What dangers lurk in the darkness of the night? Mysteries and more mysteries to solve.
The forest has aroused the interest of humanity since ancient times. Reflections of this are the legends, stories and other stories that have used the forest as a framework for the narrative. In Little Red Riding Hood, a children’s story of medieval origin, the mother asks the girl to bring her grandmother a basket full of groceries. To do so, it must cross the forest, in whose de
pths is hidden a wily wolf with very bad intentions. On the symbolism of forests in stories has written long and long the historian Lucia Triviño, who runs the blog “The Leaves of the Forest”:
“The image of the forest that is projected in these stories is the living reflection of the real conception of this space. It is normal that in the classic stories, many with medieval roots, this place is shown as a prototype locus horridus. This image is far from the current conception, much clearer and more positive, where the forest is the protagonist of many stories that convey a message of respect for nature and the beings that inhabit it “.
Darkwood drinks from classical roots and uses traditional archetypes to draw a dark and gloomy image of forest environments. The forest is a strange and dangerous place where supernatural creatures and evil monsters await their chance to execute t
heir victims. When Damon Lindelof and JJ Abrams were commissioned to materialize the Lost pilot, they had the idea that the island was another character in the production. Darkwood breathes the same aura of mystery, and the forest has an omnipresent role. It
is a living organism that has spread its roots and branches throughout the space, has closed the roads and has locked up the unfortunates who were within their domains.
The new videogame of Acid Wizard Studio, a Polish development team consisting of “three people (and a dog)” , as stated on their website officer, has been in early access for three years. The final version-maybe it’s not the right term, as content updates are still running-has just been released on several digital PC platforms. After hours in front of the screen, the surprise has been pleasant.
Several articles have appeared that compare Darkwood with Silent Hill. However, it is important to be clear that both titles do not follow the same approach or the same game mechanics. They do have in common the atmosphere of muted colors and chiaroscuro, t
he intelligent play of lights, as well as the use of music and sounds to generate tension in the player. The work of the Poles is essentially a survival title with touches of horror play. In addition, the product is inserted within the roguelike genre, whi
ch assumes two basic approaches: on the one hand, the procedural element, since the scenarios are generated randomly in each game; on the other, the difficulty. It dies a lot, even when the basic game schemes are already mastered.
Escape? First survive the night
Wandering through the ominous forest of Darkwood is a reckless idea. Between trees and crossroads it is easy to get disoriented , especially when the same nature seems to contract to catch the unwary globetrotters. Vigilante is the doctor, enigmatic character that covers his eyes with bottleneck glasses and has a lanky physical appearance, thin hair and shirt stained with blood and remains of viscera. In his sickly solitude he dedicates himself to look for lost individuals in order to experiment with their battered but still insufflated bodies of life. In one of his comings and goings through the forest he runs into the protagonist of the title, who cloistered in his home. The narrative continues with the captive fleeing from the doctor’s house. However, escaping the forest is not going to be a trivial task.
The production of Acid Wizard Studio tells a story that the user must discover as he / she explores each vericuet of the map. Do not expect clear guidelines or markers that point the way , but clues that the characters are giving us as small pieces of a half-drawn picture. The world, the characters and the plot have the necessary packaging to inoculate interest in the player, so walking, overcoming fears and discovering the secrets of the forest produces enormous satisfaction.
The 2D graphics and the top-down view blend perfectly with the lighting. It could be thought that the camera, located above the character, is an advantage when exploring environments, but perpetual darkness dominates everything except a small portion in the form of a cone that allows the character to glimpse his next steps. Light and darkness play with our emotions, twist them in agony , stir hearts through forms that materialize, sometimes vaguely, before our eyes. The design of characters and scenarios is very well taken care of and enhances that oppressive atmosphere of supernatural creatures and unleashed nature. In addition, the style pixel artgoes hand-in-hand. As a negative point it is necessary to emphasize that Spanish has not been located.