I came into the Darwin Project expecting a tired battle royale game churning out regurgitated mechanics and tropes….
I was happily surprised once I had spent 15 minutes in its world to find out I was wrong.
The Darwin Project is a battle royale game pitting 10 players against each other in a bitter and hostile winter map with a twist. As well as the ten player free for all The Darwin Project employs one of its players as a Director. The Director can spend time gained points to influence the game by strategically healing players or closing zones of the small but well constructed map. The game also uses the environment to put players on the back foot making scavenging for crafting materials and building traps, fur clothes and fires to increase your odds of survival.
For a Xbox Preview Programme game I was impressed by both the great use of colours and crispness of the graphics, the almost “Team Fortress” style graphics make for a stylised and beautiful game only suffering from a drop in frame rate in peak time.
The match making is relatively sound with the Director mode taking a little longer to find a game than the 10 player mode. A duo’s mode enabling 5 teams of 2 will be coming in the future and I assume it will make crafting material sharing a good mechanic when pitted as a team. Only once was did I find myself randomly in a game with one of my friends as a Director during my six hours of game play and I believe this was more down to timing than server error as at the moment there is no option for inviting friends.
Overall in the time I spent with The Darwin Project I had so much fun with this charming game and had more laugh out loud moments than I would expect from a early access title. Only bogged down by limited modes and the occasional frame rate issue The Darwin Project is a promising game taking the battle royale genre in a refreshing new direction. I hope they build on this sturdy foundation as It holds promise but without expansion and support would struggle to keep its audience past the twelve hour mark.
Darwin Project is currently available as part of the Xbox Game Preview Programme & Steam Early Access. We have based our experience on the Xbox version with a code provided by the developers.