Dark Matter is a 2.5D side-scrolling survival horror game, set in a derelict spaceship besieged by a sinister alien presence, and infested with deadly parasites. As the Ensign, you must explore fetid hallways and abandoned facilities, scavenging for parts and blueprints, expanding your arsenal to up to four deadly weapons and freely...
User reviews: Mixed (83 reviews)
Release Date: Oct 17, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"A Metroid style game that is done really well and was worth the sale price. I did like this game and had fun playing it."
Read the full review here.

About This Game

Dark Matter is a 2.5D side-scrolling survival horror game, set in a derelict spaceship besieged by a sinister alien presence, and infested with deadly parasites. As the Ensign, you must explore fetid hallways and abandoned facilities, scavenging for parts and blueprints, expanding your arsenal to up to four deadly weapons and freely customize each to fit your combat style against intelligent, reactive enemies. Dark Matter delivers a hard-hitting take on the survival horror genre in deep space, with a heavy emphasis on tactical combat and exploration.

Story


Out of breath, you run into the door, slamming against its cold metal surface. The clicking of scuttling claws recedes into the distance, swallowed by the pitch black oblivion behind you. You know better than to feel safe. There are too many infested at your back, and another blank metal door ahead. With a quick reflex you check your ammo supplies, and slot a fresh magazine into your shotgun. With a quicker prayer, you flick the switch and open the door. The metal jaws open on endless night you don’t dare pierce with your flashlight, not to disturb those things that live in shadow. By the pale bioluminescence that washes up from the floor grates, you piece together the picture of a corridor, and what could be a stretch of exploding pods. Just beyond, the silhouette of a fully grown crawler stirs.

Grinning in the dark, you turn on the weapon’s flashlight, and point it straight down the corridor. Predictably, the blisters swell up to full irritation, ready to explode at the slightest touch. The crawler turns to hiss at you, instantly aroused by the light, and your presence. In your mind’s eye, it dumbly rushes forward into the blister pods to kill itself, saving you precious ammo.

It takes a precious moment to adjust to reality when the sleek shape crouches and jumps towards you instead. There is time for just one panicked shot before the inevitable flight, as you run for your life, barely keeping ahead of the claws slashing for you. In a moment of adrenaline-fuelled inspiration, you slam the wall panel as you retreat past the chamber’s door. The heavy, powerful mechanism smoothly slices the crawler in half just before the critter can reach and disembowel you. There is no time to congratulate yourself, as you hear a familiar hissing from above...

Key features:

  • 14 levels in a gritty tale of deep space survival
  • 4 weapons, and 4 ammo types. Elemental ammo effects that allow you to freeze, dissolve or set fire to your enemies.
  • Three craftable upgrades to customize your weapons.
  • Collect scrap and alien resources to craft your own tools and health packs.
  • Invest in the weapons and upgrades you prefer, develop your own combat techniques.
  • Non-linear exploration and storytelling with complex enemy AI that reacts to the player’s actions and tactics.
  • Light and darkness are integral parts of gameplay, not just visual touches.
  • Uncompromisingly real-time lights and shadow casting for spine-tingling moments of pure, darkness-fuelled terror.
  • Clean, hand-painted textures and custom shading techniques are combined in a unique visual style.
  • Dynamic soundtrack that adapts to gameplay circumstances.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2.4 GHz or better)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0 compatible videocard, 256 MB nVidia or ATI graphics card
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 or 8
    • Processor: Intel Core I5 or higher
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia Geforce 460 series or better, Radeon HD5450 or better; 512 MB or higher
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.5 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2.4 GHz or better)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0 compatible videocard, 256 MB nVidia or ATI graphics card
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: OS X 10.5 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core I5 or higher
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia Geforce 460 series or better, Radeon HD5450 or better; 512 MB or higher
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Linux Ubuntu 10.04 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2.4 GHz or better)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0 compatible videocard, 256 MB nVidia or ATI graphics card
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Linux Ubuntu 10.04 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core I5 or higher
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia Geforce 460 series or better, Radeon HD5450 or better; 512 MB or higher
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 17
I want to recommend this game. I really do. It pains me not to. This game was fun to play, and had a very interesting story to tell. But ultimately, the game is just... incomplete.

I'd find locked doors with enemies on the other side that I thought would have to be backtracked later. I had mission objectives that I couldn't complete yet, and thought I'd loop around to it. I'd see undiscovered areas on the minimap that I thought would reopen later. But ultimately, none of it amounted to anything. It was just incomplete.

As a game, it was fun. I'm sure the developer is just as miserable about this as we are. Dark Matter could have been amazing, but he just didn't manage to get enough kickstarter funds to make it happen. I feel for him, and I do actually hope you readers buy this game, if only to support a potential sequel. But at face value, upon completing this game, can I recommend it? With a heavy heart... no.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 26
Dark Matter starts out promising, a 2.5D Metroid like platformer with good looking visuals and a Dead Space kind of story and athmosphere. Unfortunatly not long after you start to make your way towards freedom and escape the horrors on the space ship the cracks start to show.

Though the visuals do look good with some really nice lighting effects there are some ugly bugs that pop up here and there, and i'm not talking about the purple ones that actually look more cute that terifying , i'm talking the kind where you jump and your character suddenly glitches half way up a few stacked up crates, not to mention falling through elevator floors and down to the bottom of the shaft. Animations also seem to be missing here and there and i don't know what is wrong with my character but she seems to have been roughly cut out of a magazine with blunt scissors.

The story is alright, as far as trapped-on-a-alien-infested-spaceship stories go, but there have been numerous times where i found the ship's AI dialogue to be un-computer-like and even annoying. He quickly begins to sound whiny and needy and you just want him to shut up. Maybe i'm missing some big twist about the AI actually being human or something but i don't think so, i just think it's "méh'' writing.

But when it comes to gameplay and controls that is what finally just made me lose my will to play on and put down my controller to move on to something else. I will give credit to the idea of when to use the flashlight and when not to use it, but this feature doesn't feel as fleshed out and interesting as it could have been, and that actually goes for the whole game. The controls couldn't have saved it even if they worked properly. They feel slightly awkward and unpolished and even broken at times, to the point where i have to use my mouse to be able to click on a elevator button because my character isn't able to reach it when i use a controller for some reason. Perhaps the game plays better with mouse and keyboard, the options menu and inventory screen certainly seemed to think so, but i have lost all interest to even care by this point and i have already moved on to enjoy Deadlight, another 2.5D platformer that does most, if not all, things mentioned above right.

But if after watching Alien or playing Dead Space you still feel the need on surviving on a hostile spaceship and the new Alien: Isolation is above your budget then by all means, give Dark Matter a go, just be sure to play it with keyboard + mouse and to get it while it's on sale.



There is one other thing, that i can't really complain about for i haven't finished the game, but i've heard people complain about the game not being finished or just suddenly ending. Now i don't know what the truth about this is but the developer has said that there might be more Dark Matter to come in the future that will continue the story, in other words they are saying it's episodic. That is all fine and dandy but have failed to see that mentioned anywhere on the game's store page. Frankly i think the developer has realized that his product isn't finished and is using the episodic idea as damage control. But hey, that's just what i think, someone who sadly didn't enjoy the game as much as i wanted to and didn't even care enough anymore to finish it. I just hope that the people that did manage to enjoy it get a proper and honest end to this game's story.
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1 of 10 people (10%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
Personally I don't like 2D games to begin with. I gave this a try because it was on sale cheap and the description sounded interesting enough. Turned out to be very disappointing.
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48 of 57 people (84%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 19
4/10
"Where is the promising atmosphere/game?"

Dark Matter could've been a great sci-fi 2.5D sidescroll shooter adventure, but it just isn't.

Pros:
+ nice graphics
+ nice lightning
+ okay sounds
+ the idea

Cons:
- the implementation
- movement & shooting is clunky
- bad alien character "look"
- missing atmosphere
- camera perspective too close
- no spoken/audio logs
- look of the interfaces
- story absolutely didn't catch me
- have a look in the forums (before buying) ;)

I just don't want to play any longer, although I am big sci-fi & sidescroll shooter fan!
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20 of 25 people (80%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 14
Dark Matter
I was a Kickstarter backer for this game and even though it failed to make its funding the game found its way to Steam. Before it went to Steam though I was sent a copy of the beta (v14) because I was one of the backers on Kisckstarter.

I picked up Dark Mater on Steam when it went on sale and installed it to see how it would be and I was eagerly awaiting this game.

I would classify this game as a Metroid type game. Its definitely a side scroller shooter. There is 3D depth to the game and the storyline is pretty good.

I was really impressed with this game during the Kickstarter campaign and followed the development of it. The developers put allot of effort into the game and ti make a telling story for the player to enjoy as they played.

I played this game with the Xbox360 controller. The game store page says its partially and fully compatible with the controller and for the game play the controller is good. I have found that the menu screens aren't good for controller use and end up using the keyboard and mouse for this. I don't know why its like this but the controller is a pain to use when your in the menu and inventory screens.

Overall this game did have a bad launch wit its poor ending leaving everyone disappointed. I have played quite a bit of the game, first with the beta then on Steam and I have failed to find any improvements over the beta v14 to the version released on Steam. However the game is fun to play and I do like it, after all I backed the game and bought it on Steam.


Pro's
  • Worth it when its $2.99 or less
  • Plays good
  • Interesting Story

Con's
  • Controller use on menu's and Inventory screen
  • Bad launch
  • Regular price is to high ($14.99)
  • No developer improvements
  • Game is as-is



I give this game:
ːfirst_starːːfirst_starːːfirst_starː
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25 of 34 people (74%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 4
Game still felt unfinished... Great concept, could have been so much more!
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 19
3/5 Story
2/5 Gameplay
4/5 Graphics
3/5 Music
1/5 Replay Value


Dark Matter is an intriguing game and has a number of high points. I'll start with those. The visuals are gorgeous. It's dark and creepy with detailed interesting backgrounds. Sometimes you see things skittering around in the background or even in the foreground. Lights flicker, fleshy growths pulsate, and monsters look good. The overall theme of the game is well done. You feel as though you are alone on a dead ship with an infestation of ravenous alien lifeforms. I have no complaints about the sound or soundeffects and was very pleased with the voice of your AI guide. It sounds gritty and electronic with just a slight hint of emotion to it which I thought fit the mood very very well.

Gameplay has some nice features. Your light has some impact on the creatures in the game. Some traps close when light is shined upon them while others explode or release poison gas when lit up. Hive tunnels spawn creatures when light shines on them. Additionally because of this dependency on light you can shoot out hallway lights, flares, etc... to make the area dark. I was dissapointed, however, that there was no mechanic for placing flares or something to create a light source even if it would only be temporary. You can collect resources from enemies and use it to create new ammos and weapon upgrades as well as med kits which are absolutely vital to playing this game. You can also collect scrap and convert it into usable resources. However, you lose some of the scrap when converting with a smaller loss the more scrap you have. I enjoyed this feature as it encouraged you to save up scrap but in a bind you could use it early.

Your starting weapon has clips of ten shots which when they run out you can reload endlessly. It has unlimited ammo. It is not explained but probably the gun uses laser shots or some such thing. It is the weakest gun but acts as a backup weapon or a cheap alternative in the event you are low on ammo for the other guns. I appreciate and fully support this feature of gameplay.

Sadly this game falls short in most other areas. Movement is a little awkward and clunky. The Ensign's (Your Character) movement animations end up detracting from the visual beauty of the game. her jump animation is especially bad especially when you slide along the ceiling with your head while jumping when sprinting. Additionally a glitch is possible when sprinting. If you jump while sprinting your sprint gauge fills while in the air at a faster rate than it is depleted by your running allowing you to travel through the ship very fast if you have already cleared the area.

The objectives are sometimes unclear or simply don't make any sense. For example, you need to activate some sort of purge and then after have to manually deactivate it. I do not know what the purge was for, nor why it would not deactivate, or even what my deactivating it did. It seemed to have no impact on the gameplay. The further into the game the worse this got. It seemed very much to be unfinished. Explanations were missing or sections just completely skipped over.

Transitions between areas were problematic. At first everything worked fine but later in the game there were a couple of awkward transitions that seemed to drop you from the ceiling. I happily ignored those. Then I found some transitions that you could only use in one direction with no clear explanation for why and I suspect is a bug. Finally I eventually realized that going through transistions to new areas reset your character to the last time you saved meaning that if you crafted a type of ammo, didn't save, and passed to a new area, all of that ammo or whatever you made disappeared. Your equipped gun would sometimes also not match what you were using before the transition. This continued to get worse as the game progressed.

In some areas of the game specific weapons or ammo are required. For example, a vine like growth blocks a hallway and has to be shot with flame ammo to be burned away. I like this type of thing very much. It acts as an interesting barrier to prevent me from progressing beyond a certain point until I finished the intended content first. The problem, however, is that any time you leave that area the vine grows back and can't be passed without once again shooting it. So if you clear the area beyond it and run out of flame ammo in the process you are stuck unless you can craft more. Of course if you are out of resources and creatures to kill at the same time than you can't craft flame ammo and are permamently stuck unable to progress.

Monsters have little variety which I don't mind too much because it is a side scroller and there are plenty of other things to be occupied with. However, there are also very few of some of those limited monster varieties. For example, you fight a fantastic monster called a Samurai at one point. It is accompanied by a stomping sound which fits in nicely with it's size. It acts as a sort of boss fight I suppose. You never see this enemy ever again. The same is true for what can only be called the final boss which is honestly not that difficult of a fight. Some monsters lend themselves well to the idea of a zerg-like swarm but generally you only see 2 or 3 of these enemies together. Some monsters you fight can't be effectively fought without pretty much just taking damage and spamming medkits. It really destroys any semblance of tactical battle for me which is a shame because some of these enemies would work very well for that kind of purpose. The entire game gives you the sense that you will likely be fighting a particularly named creature at some point but you never even see one.

The game ends abruptly with an artistic scene of panels in a storyboard fashion, but oddly the art did not quite seem the same as the rest of the game. The ending also added more questions than answers, was not led up to well, and generally left me feeling very unsatisfied.

Overall this game was one I want to like and found interesting but simply does not pull it together. It feels like a beta but claims to be finished. Sadly releasing a game in such a fashion usually means I will be avoiding all games from that designer in the future. Such is the case with Dark Matter.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
This game needed more work before release.

The game's premise says you're in space, but with your character's insanely limited stamina and crazy jerky jumping mechanic, you could swear you're on Jupiter. You can only see about 5 ft in front of you so enemies will leap at you from outside your visual range, resulting in unavoidable damage. Enemies' hits will also register if you're standing a few feet away as well, and the guns are so weak you just end up kiting all your enemies which really isn't fun.

Good premise and neat graphical style, but clunky and broken gameplay elements--would not reccomend.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 10
Summary: Tries to be like Metroid, but fails in a lot of ways. There are far too many flaws in the game design, as well as flaws in the execution to make this a good game.

Pros:

Good atmosphere, adequate enemy design. It was fun exploring parts of the ship. The map I feel was done well.

Cons:

I mentioned metroidvania-esque gameplay but this game is mostly linear. Not much reason to backtrack except for collectables and secrets. Due to the linear level design, whenever there's an enemy that's too strong to be easily killed, you're always forced to just power through it. There's not even a way to avoid enemies; jumping over them just hits an invisible wall and lets them get off a free shot. When you first enounter an armored enemy, you're at the the elevator to the next area and can't get past them, so the computer tells you "find some better ammo" but that's in the next section.

There are numerous points where you will get killed if you don't know what you're doing, but I wouldn't call them "puzzles." They consist of "don't shine your flashlight on this" and "you need to shine your flashlight on this" and "uh oh there's a light shining on this thing, there shouldn't be light on this thing, shoot it." They're not puzzles.

Game design issues:

- It's repetitive: go through corridor, climb ladder, shoot enemy, rinse, repeat.
- Enemies are really stupid -- if they're offscreen they won't attack you.
- When the computer's doing a voice over, sometimes there are enemies you're shooting so you can't hear that important piece of dialog, and you can't repeat it either.
- Certain points in the game function as enemy farms, so there's basically infinite resources. Why even bother counting resources if they're infinite?

Technical issues (could be fixed):

- It's really poorly-adapted to controller despite touting "full controller support." The UI is next to impossible to navigate with a controller; I knew it was going to be bad news when I was trying to set the options using the controller and I was on a button in the top right of the page, pressed LEFT and then was on a button on the very bottom of the page. Wouldn't have been so bad except every UI in the game behaves like this. A little bit of controller testing could have prevented this guys.
- There are entire map sections where the FPS just took a nose dive. Once I did some exploring in one of these rooms and found an easter egg that was extremely beautifully animated with detailed models. WAT? This shouldn't happen! Obviously the game isn't designed to stop offscreen animations, resulting in poor overall performance.
- Killing tentacles on the ceiling results in the loot spawning above the ceiling, which can't be collected.
- Killing tentacles in the scene background results in loot spawning in the background plane, which can't be collected.

The verdict: This game is an unfinished mess.
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11 of 18 people (61%) found this review helpful
21.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 11
Very fun game, i enjoy the 2d action theme. Makes me think of the old time. It isnt too hard, and i was able to beat it in 4 hours ish. I dont think its worth the full price, but if it gets on special, you should buy.

7/10

ENjoy ^-^
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 3
After purchasing this game and getting close to the end -- it came to light that the end doesn't exist -- most of the weapons you see in the game aren't accessible and after a bunch of backlash the developers admitted that they ran out of money and only finished a third of the game... So if you want to play 'episode 1' with no episode 2 or 3... buy away...
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 20
A cute game from what I have played so far...
Graphics aren't the greatest, but they suit the game, controls are easy to learn, storyline is interesting, has been a fun game so far, and the music is pretty good as well....
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 13
I actually really, really liked this game. Sure, it's no great example of flawless game design (I was a tad confused about my main objective half the time), or perfect plotting (if that was the "new-and-improved" ending I just played, I dread to think what the OLD one was like), and there's less than ten different enemy types and only four weapon types (the last of which arrives just in time to be used on precisely two occasions before the game unceremoniously ends), and no, it's certainly not going to go down well with the "this game wasn't hard enough" and "this game wasn't long enough" brigades (which generally consist of exactly the same people, in case you were wondering)...but as an attempt to create a highly atmospheric - if not particularly "scary" - cross between 2D (my mistake, make that "2.5D") platforming and old-school "survival horror" a la Resident Evil, it's surprisingly successful...and like the even MORE flawed Motte Island (which uses an intriguing top-down perspective), proves that there is definite potential for spooky horror games which AREN'T presented in the usual first- or third-person formats.

And I don't know about you, but such a notion gets me kinda hot-and-bothered, I gotta confess. In an age where most popular "art" forms seem to have more-or-less run the course of their full potential (movies and music, please stand up), it's nice to know that video games just might give marauding alien forces a reason to spare us all mass genocide for, oh, at least another twenty years or so. (No pressure, video game designers, just a passing observation...)

Verdict: 8/10.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 6
I recomend this game only when a sequel comes out, other wise it dosn't deliver and I personaly hate everyone who worked on it.
The game feals unfinished and unpolished, the end is ubrupt just when it looked like it was getting good. there is no reason beond poor combat mechanics that people would call this horror, it takes most of its good ideas form metroid fusion and leaves me wanting more, like i just ate a good meal expecting a fine desert but it never came

DO NOT RECOMMEND!!!
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
12.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
The aIntro to the story was chilling and is what drew me to the game, however the gameplay is slow and gets outright boring at times. you spend more than half the game just clomping around in the dark with very few enemies. has potential to be a very good game but at this point its not even a bit chilling. the add in of some suspenseful music might help be at this point i wouldnt recommend buying it.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
14.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
I loved the premise as laid out in the preview. I loved the atmosphere. The first parts of the game were awesome, but it quickly became buggy in rather unforgivable ways. The so-called 'bossfights' are absolutely laughable. The enemies walking off one side of the screen and looping around to the other (most commonly with the seekers) is pretty much unforgivable. If they actually get around to finishing the game and making it run sensibly, that'd be great. As it is? Well, I'm glad I didn't lose very MUCH money on it.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
Extremely buggy game. Interesting story but after getting stuck on my 5th elevator then falling through the map, I decided no amount of story could make up for it. This game is Unplayable.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 10
This one looked promising, dispite the negative reviews.
Well, i cannot say how good or bad this would have become, because i got stuck in the first 5 minutes after the turorial.
Holy sheet. This is the releaseversion and NOONE NOTICED THAT?
I could crawl trough a CLOSED vent, but cannot crawl out again. After that point it saved.

I'm not whiney about a bug. But something THAT obvious in the first minutes...Did they even play their own game for these 5 minutes?
Tried it twice to see if i was just too dumb. Nope. Repeatable gamestopping bug shortly after starting. How cute.

How would i say if i were cool? KKTHXBYE!
Could have been good, but who knows...don't waste your time/money.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 2
So unfinished and someplace buggy game. I will not recommend it until full version will be developed.

Good work with lights, but that's may be all that it have.
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 1
Game is seriously buggy on Ubuntu 14.04, save your money.
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