With the recent success of battle royale style games like Fortnite and PUBG, comes a new take on the genre from Scavenger Studio. Darwin Project became available on March 9th via Early Access on Steam and Xbox One.
Darwin Project offers a whole new take on the established battle royale formula, with some changes that dramatically improve and knock down the genre. The biggest change in this title is the live stream interactivity portion of the game,This feature also allows audiences of live streams to choose what happens in a match. A perfect example of this was when I was playing a game I found myself in a tough predicament; it was me and another person left as the last two survivors in a match, and I had an incredibly low amount of health left but fortunately because of this feature a spectator healed me and allowed me to evenly fight the other guy and win. This ranges from blocking out zones entirely to nuking a zone and killing everyone inside that zone. When the spectator isn't livestreaming they have the options all to themselves so I constantly found myself trying to impress the spectator to get them to like me and avoid being nuked to oblivion.
The general idea is the same as other battle royale games as there are 10 people in a match who must fight to the death and be the last person standing to win. However, the difference here is that there are only nine other people you are up against so this made the games much more intense than any other battle royale game, in Fortnite you see people around the map so often and are constantly in gun fights where as in this title you are encouraged to play conservatively. The other huge addition to this game that stands out from the rest is that you must survive in the Canadian wilderness, so not only do you need to worry about other people trying to kill you, you also have the environment to think about when playing. This introduced many occasions where I had materials I could have used to craft some shoes that would have boosted my speed so I could run faster, however I found myself saving as much wood as possible in case I needed to start a fire to warm myself up to avoid death. Yes you have the ability to craft things that range from coats to special abilities; there is quite a lot to choose from which truly makes every game very different. You can get special abilities, in a similar style to how you would get special weapons in other battle royale games; basically you will receive an airdrop, but instead of being a big special air drop an electronic will spawn somewhere on the map, which can also be spawned by the spectator. The electronics allow you to craft things like shields, special jumps, dome arenas and even teleportation powers. This is another huge addition that requires you to think fast during a match or plan in advance.
There is currently one map available in Darwin Project, however the map is 4km X 4km so it feels pretty big. There are also different biomes in each area of the map that generally feel and play totally different from each other. for example, one biome has a huge chasm that has lava inside that if you fall into will kill you instantly, while another biome has tree bridges that encourages vertical gameplay, so each biome has its different approaches and encourages you to play differently.
The art direction in this game is a stylised cartoon-ish that looks incredible, from the great level design to the environments, this game really does look amazing. The character models in particular stood out to me as quite good looking when in game and at the menu screen / lobby area.
This title is lacking some content and gameplay modes, however as it is currently in early access they will be adding more in the future. The content that is already here is more than enough to recommend this game to you at its current asking price.
Darwin Project breathes fresh new life into an already ageing genre, with fresh new ideas and takes on the established gameplay formula. Darwin Project is a must buy for any fan of the battle royale formula.