I approached Dark Scavenger with apprehension. I’d not heard much of the game and it didn’t really look like much to shout about. However, after spending more hours than I’d like to admit with it, I came out pleasantly surprised by what I’d just played.
Dark Scavenger is a text based RPG adventure title where you can craft items and explore dungeons as part of the “Dark Scavengers” – A cohort of odd drifters from space that are quirky and have their own unique personalities. The game opens up pretty cold, you have no idea what you’re doing or what the purpose of anything is until you defeat the tutorial battle with “Den”. After you get plopped onto the ship you are able to quickly associate yourself with the crew, but the game also allows you to pick several dialogue options, much like the choose your own adventure books of the past. Depending on what you choose, several different scenarios may play out. The simple fact that the developer has put in lines of dialogue that the player may never even read shows immense dedication to the game, and Dark Scavenger sure does throw a lot of these at you!
The main form of interaction with the world is through an overworld when you reach a new area, point and click style, except you don’t see your character and all details are conveyed through text and mostly static images with the occasional frame of animation. There are various instances in the game where you’re also able to obtain items and must select certain other items to help you reach them. I thought that this is a good way to give players access to loot and other, more unsettling drops (Bandit’s foot anyone?). Although the game does present you with a wealth of opportunities to grab the best loot, there is a downside to it all: you end up with a lot of useless junk. The crafting mechanic in the Dark Scavenger is relatively simple however, but in most cases I’ve found that nothing really beat the items that I had on me at the time. This is disappointing considering that oversaturation of weapons and loot often makes me lose interest in a game quite quickly as it not only shows that my items can soon be replaced but also that as soon as they are replaced that they are worth nothing. Equally you can just turn to the conclusion that all loot found in the game is worth nothing because you will be able to just find better and stronger weapons not too far down the line.
The primary battle mechanic of Dark Scavenger took a while to get used to. There are several tabs which you’re able to access and choose what actions you’re going to take and with what weapon and items. It all reminded me of a slightly clunkier version of Dragon Quest. I took issue with the constant, almost unnecessary repetitive dialogue that kept popping up every time I performed an action. In addition to this I also took issue with how easy this game is. You could literally play it with your eyes closed and survive a normal battle. Of course an exception is boss battles, although even still, the strategies required to beat them remains the same, as bosses really only hit harder and have more health than normal enemies. One thing I absolutely loved about the game though is the music that plays during battles. I’m a bit of an RPG nut and I know a good RPG battle theme when I hear one and Dark Scavenger is no exception. I sometimes left the game running in the background whilst doing other things (such as writing this review) and it kept me incredibly entertained throughout.
I admire what the developers have done for Dark Scavenger. Attempting to create an entertaining RPG world is not an easy task and Dark Scavengers shows great innovation to get around the technical limitations of being indie. I admire their spunk, the H.R Giger-esque aliens and other creatures definitely have their own personality to them and the game is definitely entertaining as the story of the Dark Scavengers unfolds.
You could do a lot worse with your £5 than buy this game. I ended my time with Dark Scavenger feeling a little bit unsatisfied but what they have are the seeds of something that could be great with a little more polish. Who knows, maybe the developers’ next game will be as good as other cult indie RPGs such as Cthulhu Saves the World and Breath of Death VII.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Platform: PC/ Mac Release Date: 30/04/2012
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Dark Scavenger by the promoter for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.