In Indie Game HQ’s latest review, Nathan takes a look at Dark Gates by DFour Games. Dark Gates is a turn-based RPG dungeon crawler with a great tabletop play style. Your main goal is to gather your team of six handpicked adventurers and destroy the Dark Gates and an evil mage, the master of the dungeon. Dark Gates is currently available for Alpha funding through GamersGate and Desura for $9.99/£6.99. There’s also a demo if you’d like to try it out before purchasing. All the needed links are at the end of the review.
GAME NAME: Dark Gates
DEVELOPER(S): DFour Games
PUBLISHER(S): DFour Games
PLATFORM(S): PC, Mac, Linux
GENRE(S): RPG, Turn-Based
RELEASE DATE(S): Jan. 8, 2012 (Alpha 0.1)
We would like to thank DFour Games for giving us the opportunity to review their latest title. For more, please check out their website.
In Dark Gates you lead your team of 6 heroes into a dungeon where they will fight their way through numerous monsters and traps in order to destroy Dark Gates and an evil mage, the master of the dungeon. The main feature of the game is the dungeon itself. There is no predefined layout and every time you play, the map is always different. The dungeon randomly generates itself as you play. In your quest you will find monsters, magical items, trap, puzzles and treasures. Glory awaits the one who destroys Dark Gates and the evil mage.
- 20+ heroes to choose from
- 20 Monster types
- Over 10 spells to use
- Earn gold and experience to upgrade your heroes
- Random labirynth every time
- Find mirrors to locate Dark Gates
- Classic tabletop game experience
- Turn based combat
Like many other games, Dark Gates has a standard main menu, so we won’t spend much time on that. Instead, we’ll move onto the controls. They are also fairly simple; WASD/Arrow keys to move, E to interact with the various items you’ll encounter, Enter to select menu options and Escape to go back or cancel a selection.
Before entering the dungeon, you’ll need to select up to six characters, or heroes, if you will. When picking said heroes, they each have these traits: vitality, resistance, agility, a mastery (which usually adds points to their main weapon’s attacks), a main skill (traps, negotiation, or dark gates) and spell slots. No two characters are the same so choose wisely. There are also three different races to choose from; Human, Dwarf, and Elf.
While traversing the dungeon, you’ll cross paths with numerous monsters and items. These items have a chance to help, hinder or even harm your heroes. Needing to pick a hero to interact with the item can be dangerous; always pick carefully depending on each character’s traits and skills. Occasionally, luck may shine upon you and you’ll find a spell. Spells can be equipped to whichever character you choose and can easily turn the tides of battle.
The varying types of monsters and enemies can also be treacherous, especially in large numbers. The first thing you’ll want to do is arrange your heroes accordingly. Strong melee characters in the front, sharpshooting archers and those with magic in the back is the best formation in my opinion. When approaching one of these dastardly creatures you’re presented with three options: Fight, Negotiate or Bribe. Selecting Fight will, of course, start a turn-based standoff, Negotiate will allow you to select one of your heroes to try and reason with the beast, and Bribe will cost you as you try and pay off the monster with your hard earned gold.
In Dark Gates, most of the gameplay is pretty straightforward and only a few things really need getting used to. I really only noticed two things I’d consider nuisances aside from a very rare crash. When selecting to continue a saved game, your position is reset to the beginning of the dungeon, forcing you to walk back to your last explored area. The other, is the ridiculously slow speed that you move about the dungeon. It’s a slow crawl at best.
As far as the audio in Dark Gates goes, it’s great to listen to, but isn’t overly amazing. The music playing at the main menu is what you would expect from the RPG genre. Surprisingly, the clicking noise made when browsing menu options is strangely familiar sounding. I won’t say which game I think I heard the noise, but it is a very popular game on mobile, Xbox, and PC.
Aside from that, the orchestral score when you’re actually exploring the dungeon is amazing. It consists of mostly strings, but you can hear soft but deep booms of drums in the background. When going into a battle, the peaceful music then fades and blends into a new track that is sharper and more intense.
Dark Gates features what appears to be all hand-drawn art and fits in the dungeon setting. Although some of the things in-game look like placeholder art, everything else is well done. Dark Gates is in Alpha after all.
If you buy the Hero Edition, a picture of your head and face will be digitized and a hero will be created in-game. The Hero Edition will set you back £35 or around $53.
Down to the Nitty Gritty
I’m giving Dark Gates, the turn-based RPG by DFour Games, a 7.3 out of 10. The gameplay is satisfying overall despite a few issues; very rare crashes, slow walking speed and starting back at the beginning of the dungeon after loading a save. The audio is easy on the ears and doesn’t really get repetitive. Graphics-wise, with the exception of placeholder art, Dark Gates has some great artistry that works well with the environment.
Overall, Dark Gates is plenty enjoyable for fans of this genre. As it is currently in-development, it can only improve from here. The Standard Edition of Dark Gates can purchased at GamersGate or Desura for $9.99/£6.99.
Buy Dark Gates: GamersGate | Desura
DFour Games | Twitter | Facebook | IndieDB
Thanks for taking the time to view this article. If you enjoyed, please consider sharing it via one of the icons below. Thanks and have a great day!