Darksburg is reminiscent of Left4Dead in many ways, and I mean that as a compliment. The special infected have unique and dangerous abilities that require immediate response and teamwork to fight against. There is one that is very similar to the smoker in Left4Dead and it completely disables a player until someone comes to your rescue. If they don’t, you die. Darksburg is a four player co-op zombie survival game at it’s core, with the option to play it competitively against other players controlling the infected or vice versa. There is also a wave based survival mode.
The game’s campaign mode has three levels available as of now, with each level having a slightly different tone and feel to the map. Each level map also contains some unique game play elements that engage the players as they try to progress through the game. For example, the first level has a blocked gateway that must be opened by delivering three bales of hay into a machine. Once the final bale is delivered, a giant rolling wheel of hay smashes through everything, leaving behind a path of destruction. You can distill this game play loop down into a fetch quest but it’s still unique in that the hay actually does damage and you can lure the enemy mob boss into it’s destructive path for a quick end.
Before starting the map you have the option of choosing between four different heroes available. Each hero has three unique abilities, one ultimate, and differing play styles. There is character progression that is carried over through character XP. As you play each character, they will level up and unlock up to a total of three passive slots, as well as many passive abilities that favor certain play styles. For example, one of the first passive abilities you unlock for Sister Abigail is a buff that charges up her ultimate twice as fast. The combat feels fast and responsive. However interacting with items does not feel as smooth. As this is early access, I’m sure everything will be ironed out.
You gain gold and candy from each level as well by finding them in the map. These currency items carry over to the next mission and are stored in your wallet. The wallet has limited storage space but can be upgraded. You can spend the gold and candy on items before the mission starts on restorative items, buffs, or level modifiers to suit each player’s preference. This shopping phase is essential as you play on the harder difficulties.
The game play is surprisingly difficult in a refreshing way. It’s very difficult to just coast through each level even on normal difficulty and it keeps the player on their toes. Fans of run based, survival co-op games have another solid title to look forward to in Darksburg.