The Dark Room – Can You Escape It? – Review
Many of you that visit Blazing Minds will have seen me mention John Robertson’s superb The Dark Room from last year’s and this year’s Sci-Fi Weekender, the ever-popular game at live events is now heading to your PCs.
The Dark Room has become a phenomenon at venues across the country and has fans packing out the venues, the brutal yet hysterical choose-your-own-adventure from comedian John Robertson and brought to life by Stirfire Studios, subjects players to an emotionally abusive hate simulator on Steam beginning 20th September.
Stirfire Studios were named after an encouragement for all team members to contribute ideas to its mixing pot work culture, Stirfire Studios believes the best creative visions are built by listening to a diverse lineup of voices. With an emphasis on gameplay, visual design and story in mind, Stirfire is currently working on The Dark Room, its latest project to be released since its well-received 2017 release, Symphony of the Machine.
Based on Robertson’s live standup show and viral video series of the same name (since 2012 the live show has locked hundreds of thousands of players in a brutal puzzle, the videos got 4,000,000 hits in Feb that same year), The Dark Room will feature a brand-new story penned by Robertson in a new labyrinth full of twists, turns, and his signature brand that has been described as a textbased
John Robertson is a silver-haired, suit-wearing professional sadist, John Robertson has toured the world as a comedian since 2008, performing a surreal fusion of abuse, music and nerdtacular bullshit. He’s had residencies at London’s Soho Theatre, the Insomnia Gaming Festival, UK Games Expo, Supanova Pop Culture Expo, EB Games Expo Australia, PAX Australia, MCM Comic Con, London Film & Comic-Con, Sci-Fi Weekender, the Edinburgh Fringe and a host of dungeons, palaces, bomb shelters and theatres. He is the former presenter of the UK’s Videogame Nation, faked a seizure on Australian Idol, punched a drinks sponsor in the balls during a show in Manchester, and has variously been a journalist, TEDx speaker, professional wrestler and imitation priest.
As you sit in absolute darkness, a man known only as the Guardian emerges from the shadows. Silver-haired, maddeningly gleeful, and clad in what looks to be glowing… American football…pads…he bellows with a voice dripping with malice: “YOU AWAKE TO FIND YOURSELF IN A DARK ROOM…”
He presents you with a few options: a) Find the light switch. B) Go north. C) Sleep. D) Ask “Why?” Yet each option you choose leads to sarcasm, or worse, death. “You’re in a dark room! You need the light switch to see, do you see?” “You proceed in the direction you believe to be north and straight into the iron spike in front of you. You say hello to Mr. Spike, and he says hello to Mr. Eye…YA DIE! YA DIE! YA DIE!”
His handsome mug, perhaps-insane eyes, and spiteful, taunting voice give the Guardian life through facial motion capture. This cartoony version of him is almost cute, but he still wants to murder you. The choices the Guardian offers may at first seem unfair, but there’s a twisted logic laying underneath his wicked words. He’s a big jerk that kind of wants to kill the player, but keen observational skills (and maybe a hint of absurdity) can win in the end. Sure, you’re most likely to find more abuse from the Guardian or a corpse or two, but we’ve heard tell of fabled good endings somewhere in this mysterious room.
Each death teaches a lesson, albeit one accompanied by the Guardian’s gleeful cheer: “YA DIE! YA DIE! YA DIE!” Get used to hearing that, because many of the games’ more than 600 scenes end with a dark room splattered with blood. But how would you know if the room was covered in crimson? It’s a dark room, and he’ll never let you forget that!
John told us, “I came up with The Dark Room because I loved text adventure games as a kid,” he continued “The dread and confusion I felt is missing in gaming today, and now I can force that on gamers at home, as well when they’re in my live crowds.”
The Dark Room – Our Review of the Upcoming Game
So thanks to the wondrous man himself, we got early access to the new The Dark Room game that is on the Steam platform, and to be quiet honest, the team behind producing the game have certainly brought the live show to smaller monitor screens brilliantly.
All the moments that fans of John’s live game show are in the game and so much more, the dark humour and explanations for you death are fantastic, all fellow Darren’s will rejoice from the video game, it’s not a text-based adventure game, it a masterful journey into the strange world of being in The Dark Room looking for a way out in an attempt to be one of the mighty Darren’s that escape and are awarded a Flamboyant Potato aloft for all the world to see and rejoice to.
The graphic representation of John is brilliant as he gives you the options you need to escape a room with so many hidden ways to die and let’s face it, very much like the live game at events, you are going to hear, “Ya Die, Ya Die, Ya Die, YA DIE!” a fair bit.
The Dark Room is a game that isn’t for the faint-hearted and those that may have anxiety issues, no scrap that, it’s ideal for anyone that has issues of any kind, don’t be a wuss, go and find yourself waking up in The Dark Room and have some fun, not sure if fun is the right word, maybe that should be, have some unnerving moments of frustration and fear of being in a Dark Room and not being able to find the light switch!
But remember at the end of the day, this is only a game on your computer, or is it, or are you being pulled in to a world that you never knew excited, a world of Darren’s and Flamboyant Potatoes, where there may or may not be a light switch for you to find and you only companion is the blonde haired, crazy-eyed, John to keep you on your toes, you have been warned!!
Level One of The Dark Room will be available in English on Steam Early Access for PC and Mac for $13.99, £9.99, €11.99 and $17.99 on September 20th. With future levels slated for release over the next few months.
Welcome Darren, to The Dark Room!!
Game title: The Dark Room
Game description: Addictive and vicious retro-styled comedy puzzler chock full of profanity, abuse, unfairness and warped logic. Will You: Go North? Find Light Switch? Cower and whimper like a beaten swine? Make your decision and escape The Dark Room! Just remember - YA DIE! YA DIE! YA DIE! YA DIE!
The Dark Room is a great addition to the world of Darren’s, Flamboyant Potatoes and the comedy of the live shows from John Robertson.