The Long Dark is a thoughtful, exploration-survival experience that challenges solo players to think for themselves as they explore an expansive frozen wilderness in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster. There are no zombies -- only you, the cold, and all the threats Mother Nature can muster. Welcome to the Quiet Apocalypse.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (751 reviews) - 89% of the 751 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (16,022 reviews) - 94% of the 16,022 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 22, 2014

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

***THE SANDBOX IS IN A CONSTANT STATE OF IMPROVEMENT, AND IT ISN'T FINISHED. BUYING THE LONG DARK ON EARLY ACCESS SUPPORTS OUR ABILITY TO CONTINUE IMPROVING THE GAME.*** While the game is already very stable and highly playable, the Sandbox is constantly evolving. Features and balance tuning may change from version to version. Content will be added, some may be removed, and entire systems might change or disappear. We appreciate your patience as we go through this process of evolving the game with community feedback.

We'd like to expose the Sandbox portion of the game to as wide an audience as possible so that we can derive maximum playtesting value before we launch the game "for real".

Please note that the game's price will likely increase when we launch the full release version, to reflect improvements and the growth of content during Early Access. The current price reflects the unfinished state of the game.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“Our intention is to remain in Early Access until we launch the full Story Mode. We'll continue refining and expanding the Sandbox experience until we launch the first two of our five planned Season One episodes. More info on Story Mode progress, and a Sandbox roadmap here: http://hinterlandgames.com/community-update-story-mode/

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full game will offer both the Sandbox and Story modes -- i.e. the Story mode will be entirely new narrative content that lives within the Survival Sandbox. The Sandbox will also offer more content at full launch. If you buy the game on Early Access now, you will immediately get the Sandbox Mode, and will also get the Story Mode once it launches (final # of episodes to be determined).”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“We have a fully playable Sandbox mode of the game that has been in Alpha with hundreds of players for several months already. Most of our players are getting dozens of hours of gameplay, with several having played over 100 hours already!”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“We are pricing the Early Access version of the game at $19.99 USD, to reflect the unfinished, work-in-progress state of the game. This price will increase when we exit Early Access and launch the full game, to reflect general improvements and increased content and play time.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We will engage the community in the Steam forums, as well as in our own Alpha forums, where we already pull bug fixing and playtest/tuning information to the betterment of the game. We will continue to do that, although we intend to devote more resources towards the community interaction aspect once we launch on Early Access since we expect the audience to grow significantly beyond the players we currently have.”
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Recent updates View all (107)

June 24

THE LONG DARK SANDBOX HOTFIXED to v.348

Hello community,

We've just hotfixed The Long Dark Sandbox to v.348 to address a few issues.

THE LONG DARK SANDBOX ALPHA HOTFIXED TO v.348 CHANGELIST


* Fixed problem with Efficient Machine progress not updating
* Ensure F8 Screenshot debug info cannot stay on screen permanently
* Prevent unintentional scrolling in Journal when accessed from Radial Menu
* Fixed badly-scaled Salty Cracker boxes.

### END OF CHANGELIST ###

95 comments Read more

June 23

THE LONG DARK SANDBOX HOTFIXED to v.347

Hello community,

We've just hotfixed The Long Dark Sandbox to v.347, to address a few bugs since last night's release of PENITENT SCHOLAR.

THE LONG DARK SANDBOX ALPHA HOTFIXED TO v.347 CHANGELIST

* Fixed crash that could occur on the Journal or Melt Snow UI when using a gamepad.
* Fixed bug that prevented the player from leaving a ruined Snow Shelter.
* Fixed issue with Wolves sometimes not attacking when player is crouched.
* Updated Fire Starting UI to make it more clear that Tinder is optional when Firestarting Skill is Level 3 or higher.
* Fixed bug that caused radios to float if supporting structure below them was broken down.
* Clarified objective text for Whiteout Challenge.
* Linux stability improvements (Required intro movies to be disabled).

### END OF CHANGELIST ###

51 comments Read more
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About This Game

***THE LONG DARK IS AN EARLY ACCESS TITLE. THE SANDBOX IS IN A CONSTANT STATE OF IMPROVEMENT, AND IT ISN'T FINISHED. BUYING THE LONG DARK ON EARLY ACCESS SUPPORTS OUR ABILITY TO CONTINUE IMPROVING THE GAME. FOR MORE INFORMATION, REFER TO THE EARLY ACCESS INFORMATION ABOVE.***

What is The Long Dark?

The Long Dark is a thoughtful, exploration-survival experience that challenges solo players to think for themselves as they explore an expansive frozen wilderness. There are no zombies -- only you, the cold, and everything Mother Nature can throw at you.

Current Game Features

The Early Access version of The Long Dark features the game’s non-narrative Survival Sandbox mode. The game will leave Early Access one we launch Episode One of our Story Mode. All Season One episodes are included in the cost of Early Access.


  • No hand holding! The game challenges players to think for themselves by providing the information but never the answers. You have to earn the right to survive.
  • Permadeath! See how long you can survive, check your standing on the global Leaderboards, then head back in and push yourself to survive longer.
  • Monitor your Calorie count, Hunger and Thirst, Fatigue, and Body Temperature. Maintain your overall Condition if you want to survive. Let yourself weaken and any small threat may lead to your death.
  • Over 30 square kms of wilderness to explore (and with more regions coming!). Mystery Lake, Coastal Highway, Desolation Point, Pleasant Valley, and more, all interconnected and each with dozens of explorable locations.
  • Dynamic weather, wildlife, and time of day, all with an impact on how you choose to survive.
  • Over 100 gear items including clothing, tools like hatchets and rifles, first aid equipment, foodstuffs, light sources like lanterns and flares, and firestarting equipment.
  • Hunt Deer, Snare Rabbits, and watch for Crows as they can signify the presence of animal, or human, corpses that can be vital sources of Supplies. Wolves are territorial and will defend their territory, or stalk you if they catch your scent. If you let them get too close, you may find yourself in a desperate struggle to survive. Be on the lookout for Black Bears, as they roam the landscape in search of food.
  • Harvest Wood for fuel, maintain your Gear and Clothing, and keep your Knife, Hatchet, and Rifle in top shape as they will save your life!
  • Harvest Medicinal plants like Old Man's Beard Lichen, Rose Hips, Reishi Mushrooms.
  • Deep First Aid system featuring many afflictions including: Sprains, Blood Loss, Infection Risk, Infection, Food Poisoning, Dysentery, and more.
  • Craft Snares, First Aid items, Repair your Clothing and Tools, and Harvest raw materials from the environment, as you do your best to become self-sufficient.
  • ...and much more!

Ongoing Development


With an average of 3-4 updates per month, The Long Dark is in a state of constant improvement. We have released over 75 updates since bringing the game to Early Access. Updates typically include new gameplay, tuning, new areas, items, and visual improvements. We are constantly improving the game based on our iterative development process, with input from the community.

Please note that the Early Access price provides immediate access to the Sandbox Mode, and includes the cost of Season One episodes of the Story Mode, the first of which will be available at the game's full launch.

The Hinterland Team


The Long Dark is brought to you by Hinterland Studio, an independent game developer comprised of industry veterans with significant credits on many renowned series including Far Cry, Red Faction, Saints Row, God of War, Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age, Company of Heroes, and many others. The Long Dark is the team's first attempt to create a unique and thought-provoking independent game that pushes the boundaries of the medium.

We appreciate your support of our efforts!

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Dual-Core Intel i5 CPU @ 2GHz+
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel 4xxx Series w/ 512MB VRAM or better
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Any on-board chip will work.
    • Additional Notes: The game is in an Alpha state and is constantly being expanded and optimized. System requirements are subject to change until the game ships.
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel i7 CPU @ 2.6GHz or higher
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia GTX 555 w/ 1GB VRAM or better
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Ideally, something with Surround capabilities.
    • Additional Notes: The game is in an Alpha state and is constantly being expanded and optimized. System requirements are subject to change until the game ships.
    Minimum:
    • OS: OSX 10.9.3
    • Processor: Core i5 @ 2.2GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5000
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: On-board.
    • Additional Notes: The game is in an Alpha state and is constantly being expanded and optimized. System requirements are subject to change until the game ships.
    Recommended:
    • OS: OSX 10.9.3
    • Processor: Core i7 @ 2.7GHz+
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Dedicated standalone GPU w/ 1GB+ VRAM
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: On-board
    • Additional Notes: The game is in an Alpha state and is constantly being expanded and optimized. System requirements are subject to change until the game ships.
    Minimum:
    • OS: SteamOS
    • Processor: Dual-Core Intel i5 CPU @ 2GHz+
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel 4xxx Series w/ 512MB VRAM or better
    • Sound Card: Any on-board chip will work.
    • Additional Notes: This is an experimental build for SteamOS.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (751 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (16,022 reviews)
Recently Posted
Gary_André
( 80.6 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
Product received for free
for the bears out there
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ursula the Giant Douche
( 239.9 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
Whoevers bright idea it was to remove leaderboards, thanks for making sandbox even more pointless than it already was.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Inflictor
( 47.4 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
This is as real as a survival game can get. It is harsh, unforgiving and definitely will challenge you.

Tip for making sure you get your money's worth? Jump right in without any knowledge whatsoever from Wikis, Google or whatever and try using your own wits, common sense and instinct to survive.

I died on my first run doing exactly the above - I only lasted 15 minutes and died in the cold! But it sure as hell gave me the experience I paid for.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Teimurazor
( 8.1 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
Best game to play during a hot summer.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bankipriel
( 17.3 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
Addictive and intense, The Long Dark is a beautiful tapestry of mankind's oldest and deepest fears:
- walking alone in the dark
- stumbling through blinding snow, lost
- starting what could be the last fire you are able to ignite
- watching that fire go out
- hearing the call of wolves in the dark, close at hand

While this game can be punishing and frustrating, it is all the more rewarding to at last stand comfortable in a heavy winter wind, wrapped in furs.

There are some things I feel my character should be able to do but cannot, but more things I find him able to accomplish that I know would have been the death of me were I in the character's situation. All in all, a good balance of tribulation .vs. capabilities.

I heartily recommend this game to anyone who enjoys exploration/survival gameplay.

*(Especially if you grew up reading "My Side of the Mountain," or "Hatchet.")

Helpful? Yes No Funny
🎲
( 39.4 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
The only game in which I've ever failed a 95% chance to start a fire 3 times in a row. This is the best bad luck simulator I've ever played!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Patrykgazing
( 7.4 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
I could buy 5 great games or The Long Dark. And you know what?
It's the best survival game I ever played
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Smiley
( 1.0 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
Played for 1 hour and I can say that the experience was completely different compared to any other survival game in a positive way. I loved the idea when you can think the choices of the actual survival and not "How to kill all zombies the fastest way possible". I also enjoy the unpredictable elements like weather or sudden appearances of wildlife which can affect your to-do-list quite effectively. At first the game feels kind of harsh but it gets a lot easier towards later pases of the game. I was a bit "meh" about the game first because the trailer and the graphics were not really impressing me but when I played the game I fell in love with it on the first minutes. The versatile crafting system was also really nice. A big + for this one.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Alexa
( 2.8 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
It is a lovely game, I haven't played very much of it but it is very immersive game and I'm excited to watch it grow with each update!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
s_hoban7
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 27
How do I get my money back? Doesn't open all the time and when it does its all pixel. I can't even play because the words are gone so I never have any clue what I am doing. Need help in getting a refund.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
767 of 807 people (95%) found this review helpful
179 people found this review funny
Recommended
70.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: May 30
So my plane has crashed and I am alone, cold and hungry. Sadly, I'm dressed for 4 hours of comfort on a routine flight from Anchorage to Yellowknife, not for days of wandering lost in the greater Canadian waste.

Though it is late in the day, for the moment, fortune is with me. As I orient to my surroundings I notice a frozen fellow face down in the snow. Apparently, his name was Max. He clearly wouldn't be needing his belongings anymore so I borrowed his hunting knife and hatchet. Nearby, a hunter's blind held some meager food supplies.

It was about this time that my luck ended.

Dusk fell and night was fast approaching. As fate would have it, a monumental blizzard was closing in along with the dark. I started treking in the dim dusk, seeking I knew not what. As the wind and the cold clutched at me, I staggered on until i saw the dim outline of a building. I was cold, tired and starving when I finally found solace in a small hunter's cabin. It's meager supplies barely sustained me until morning.

For the next 16 days I wandered the Mystery lake area in search of a rifle to fire the 30+ rounds of rifle ammo I've amassed. It's the edge I need if I am to triumph over the unforgiving, wolf-infested wilderness. I've fended off every wolf attack thus far. In fact, it is I who stalk them. They run off before dying but I generally find their frozen corpse later after they have succombed to the wounds my hunting knife left them. I've lived well on plentiful venison, having stolen the kills of wolves after carefully trailing them until they make a kill. Though less adept at it, I also make my own kills with my makeshift bow. I've trapped rabbits and I've fished the lake and I stand now, hearty, healthy and well equipped - high upon Mother Nature's bounty. The only thing I fear are bears which I carefully avoid.

Finally the day arrives where I realize that I've depleted all of my resources. My last arrow was lost in my most recent hunt. I must now leave this place, or die here. With some small amount of anxiety, I make preperations to strike out in search of new places to support my existence. I gather my most crucial supplies, fully repair all of my best equipment and strike out for the coastal highway.

For 4 days I trek. Through ravines and over hills and down cliffs I go, until I come to a wide, frozen bay in the coastal region. Cold, tired and hungry, I set out across the ice. I am being impatient, I know, but a promising group of buildings in the distance has allured me. I am encumbered; I sought to bring as much to my new area as possible and have collected more along the way. The sun is angling dangerously low in the sky when I realize the going has been too slow, I've consumed too much food. Night and starvation are both much closer than I had anticipated.

And then the worm fully turned. Fortune looked away from me, presenting me it's cold uncaring indifference.

Only half way across the open ice, the winds begin to kick up. The temperature drops sharply and before I have any chance to help myself, a blizzard sets in. First in gusts, then torrents, waves of fine white dust combine with the encroaching dark to blind my sight. I light my last flare but it's light is consumed in the gale. I become disoriented, unsure of my heading and now utterly lost. Numb with cold, starvation and bone tired, I desperately peer into the dark, almost willing my eyes to make out an ice fishing hut I had seen in the distance, before the storm had cast it's cloak over me. Finally, with some releaf, I begin to make out it's outline.

But alas, Fortune has fled fast from me. The outline was not a hut.

It was a bear.

Terror grips me as the foul beast decends. Helpless, he mauls me repeatedly, shredding my carefully crafted clothes as if they were paper and lacerating my flesh mercilessly. The cold has numbed the pain of the cuts but nothing can numb the sharp, grating ache of broken and crushed bones as the beast tosses me about like a rag doll. Finally, when it seems as if I must certainly die, the creature ceases his attack, leaving me all but dead.

As the bear shambles off, I come to my senses somewhat, enough to fully realize my peril. I've sustained tremendous injuries. It is all I can do to stem the bleeding and stumble to the REAL fishing hut nearby. Exhausted, physically traumatized, starving and numb from cold, I set about striking a fire in the pot belly stove commonly found in fishing huts. The world spins about me as I evaluate my options. I must eat soon and I must rest -- or I will die. I clear the ice fishing hole and cast. No bites. I am desperate now. I cast again. I hear the agonizing sound of my line snapping. I dig through my gear and find I have no more tackle.

So I lie here, death slowly overtaking me. I feel myself fading into darkness. Thoughts of home, of my family, my world before this one, flying in my plane and the other joys I have experienced and I lament that it must all end like this. My heart sinks lower as my conscience fades.

And then I see it. The rifle in the corner.

Through heroic feats of effort, I drag myself to the corner and I take it in my hands. 21 days I have spent in the Canadian wilderness. 21 days I've spent searching for a rifle. And now as my lifeforce leaves me, it somehow calms me that I now hold triumphantly, that which I have sought. A gentle peace overtakes me as I descend into the grey.

And so, if you should ever find yourself stranded in the Canadian waste and if you should come to a vast bay in the coastal region, and while crossing it, you should stumble upon a small fishing hut, don't be surprised to find a wry smile on my frozen face as you pry the rifle from my cold dead hands.

And may it serve you well.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
555 of 707 people (79%) found this review helpful
17 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
222.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 3
I bought The Long Dark as an Early Access title in December 2014, because I liked the overall setting (Winter, Single-Player, Survival), the independent developer Hinterland introduced themselves as experienced game developers ("veterans of the industry", "AAA titles") and the goal was to develop the first episode of a narrative story in about 3 months time, while offering a Sandbox as a playable testing environment in the meantime.

The atmosphere and setting of the game are really great. The artistic style is consistent, fitting and most of all very pleasing. Hinterland have taken some liberties in portraying wildlife and occasionally favored game design over realism, which I find is nothing to complain about.

But 18 months and three failed release dates later it is still in Early Access and without any released episodes of the announced Story Mode. It's difficult to tell how long it'll be until Story Mode is completed because Hinterland have stopped giving new release dates and engaged in a rigorous "it's done when it's done" approach.

There are quite a lot of people who seem to be fine with playing just the Sandbox for all this time, stating that they don't want or care for the Story Mode. However, I actually bought this for the narrative story and Sandbox simply doesn't hold any interest for me anymore. You can't actually do that many different things in the current game and just trying to survive for one more day without achieving anything else than surviving for one more day is simply not my cup of tea. This is especially true since many of the in-game activities are represented by abstract progress bars that simly show the passage of time. You never actually see your character repairing, crafting, eating, harvesting or cooking. The maps are also static, so after some time you know the environment like the back of your hand.

After having failed the most recent release window Hinterland published a roadmap for the future development in April 2016, containing development items categorized into "0 - 6 months", "6 - 12 months" and "12+ months".
Unfortunately, Story Mode is not a part of that roadmap.

The roadmap was recently updated, after 2 months had passed. It seems they are trying to put 4 of 27 items of the "0 - 6 months" category into the June update. The remaining items are in the same category as in April, meaning what was thought to be 6 months away in April is still 6 months away in June.
So instead of one big change to the anticipated release date once a year, there are now several small ones. It might look better because instead of announcing a change to the planned release date, they are simply not updating the planned duration until completion, but the effect is still the same. With this approach I'm afraid the roadmap will take years to reach anything close to completion and Story Mode may not be coming for quite some time.

While it might sound great that a developer is actually delaying a product because "it's not ready yet", I cannot recommend an Early Access title that keeps postponing its release on the sole premise of always needing more time.
Sadly, it seems The Long Dark is following the poor tradition of broken promises and seemingly endless development phases that plague Early Access.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
306 of 403 people (76%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
52.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 6
TL:DR;
Game is evolving from decent, user friendly survival experience into something else entirely. I do not like it.
Mainly, because I do not like poor design choices aimed at slowing down player just because.
While I would recommend it 6 months ago, right now it is becoming not so fun to play.


Longer version:
I will not bother you with trivialities like graphics and sound of this game. They are decent and do not annoy.

Problem with this game is that developers appear kinda arrogant people who are following their vision of the title at the expense of the game actual playability.

The list of failures this game presents is kinda long, "The Long List" of poor design choices and arbitrary mechanics added only to obliterate any fun from this game you could have.
I will point few most annoying things that you should be aware when considering purchase.

- Nights are pitch black. Any person who spent winter somewhere where it snows will tell you right away that this is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t - full snow cover reflects so much light, that if there is a moon you can actually see very decently. Furthermore according to game lore there should be brilliant auroras in the sky, which should add to brightening the area. Not the case, you are likely to stumble in the pitch black environment, where even light from a fire will not illuminate it well enough.
- Items, including solid steel prybars are running out of durability at such a rate as if they were made of plastic. This problem is so pronounced that it is really hard to believe anyone would consider it a good design choice for a gameplay balance.
- your character when fully rested and well feed will loose half of your daily stamina after fixing your clothes 6 or 7 times. So after 2h of morning sewing and patching you can basically go to bed for a next 5 hours.
- humans can survive without water for days, weeks without food. Here you die after 5 days of hunger. and the amount of calories you need to consume if you plan on doing daily work is equal to half deer weight.
- really no melee weapon. can't chop a tree to get wood. cant make a sharpened stick. torches can now be only made using finite resources (gasoline and reclaimed wood) and they last few minutes. extinguishing them now eats 25% if below 100%. Doing that for a second time destroys torch completely. You are again left to stumble in the dark as both the matches and lanterns use finite resources.
- crafting is limited AF. you can barely craft anything useful without actually finding plenty of stuff before (not even a damn sharp stick).
- biggest flaw of this game, totally unrealistic animal behaviour, so much in fact they added explanation in a start screen for it (basically, we did it because we wanted).
- your character does not warm up doing physical exercise or while running. Running is extremely limited because your stamina replenishes soooooooooo slowly. This was done on purpose to slow down player exploration and progress
- very little containers in bases, can't build the bases up in any way, you need to drop stuff on the ground where you stand, can't rearrange it around.
- can't jump. seriously, a fallen tree that is like 30 cm high, you can't jump over it, you need to go around.
- sickness, sickness everywhere.
- fighting a wolf instantly places you on the ground and having to defend rather than giving you a chance for a decent combat.

Conclusion:
Absolutely not buy as it is now. It has become totally unrealistic and is no longer survival against environment, but a borderom survival against very poor design/balance choices.

Damn, it looked so good 8 months ago... :(
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
49 of 60 people (82%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Recommended
22.7 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 24
A game version of the novel, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
35 of 43 people (81%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
75.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 21
Early Access Alpha Review (6-21-16)

I've always wanted a game that captured the exploration, crafting, and survival aspects of DayZ without the PvP, bugs, and awful interface. If you want a straight up survival game like that - also minus the zombies - this is what you're looking for. There are no other humans, and your main threats are starvation, freezing to death, bears/wolves, and basic stuff like falling and sickness. Don't worry, you won't randomly break a leg walking down stairs like in DayZ!

I know what you're thinking, though. "It's an Early Access survival game on Steam, so it's probably a buggy, broken mess that will never actually be finished". I was worried, too - especially after being disappointed by games like 7 Days To Die. But despite being labeled an "alpha", The Long Dark is one of the most polished games I've played in a long time. While more features and areas will be added in the future, the core game they've created as a base is almost flawless. I've never had a crash, I've noticed very few bugs, and it's well optimized (I'm running with maximum settings at 1440p/60fps on a GTX 760). So don't let the "Early Access" bit scare you off if the game sounds interesting.

The current play mode is "Sandbox". Basically, you are dropped into a random location in one of several interconnected maps (you can choose which map or have it picked randomly as well) and left to fend for yourself. That means finding food, shelter, and water. Some of the game's activities include: getting firewood, avoiding hostile wildlife, hunting, laying rabbit traps, repairing clothing, crafting, fishing, exploring, and making sure not to get caught in the game's brutal, disorienting blizzards.

How to go about surviving is up to you. I tend to move from place to place looting, but it can also be smart to set up a base camp somewhere safe if you can do hunting, trapping, or fishing there. The goal of the current sandbox mode is simply to survive as long as possible - the game records that as well as a variety of other statistics. The general backstory seems to be that something happened which caused most of humanity to die, and for the wildlife to turn more hostile. Your plane crashes, leaving you stranded in the frozen wilderness alone.

You can pick one of three play modes, depending on what kind of experience you want. "Pilgrim" is easier and doesn't have hostile wildlife - a good choice for your first game. Then there is the regular play mode, as well as a "Stalker" mode which is the most brutal. If you're not sure about something, there is a good online wiki to guide you. I even found a Steam guide with a variety of maps if you'd like more help. So you can really customize your game experience depending on your tastes and skill level.

The controls and interface are very intuitive. Normally there is no HUD minus a small interface dot and occasionally an icon displaying whether you are shielded from the wind. You interact with things in the game world simply by left clicking when they are in range. Pressing TAB brings up a little display showing how cold, tired, thirsty, and hungry you are, as well as an estimate of how much daylight or darkness remains (you generally want to find shelter before dark). SHIFT lets you run, though there is a stamina meter. "I" brings up your inventory, and SPACE brings up a radial menu for making fires and a couple other things like first aid. While I played with keyboard and mouse, the game also supports controllers.

The Long Dark's Canadian wilderness is beautiful, desolate, and cold. The graphics are slightly stylized, simple and with what I'd describe as a "painterly" look to skyboxes and textures. The sunsets and weather effects steal the show, though. The snow and storms are the best I've seen in a game, which is fitting because nature is both the star and the antagonist here.

Should you buy The Long Dark in its current "alpha" state? If it sounds interesting, I'd say it's a definite "yes". While more content and features will be added in the future - story mode, new areas, new stuff to craft, new play mechanics, etc. - it is a very polished experience and already has enough content to keep you busy for 50+ hours easily. It's very much worth playing right now, and is a great investment that will be worth revisiting over and over throughout its development.


8.5/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
22 of 24 people (92%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
86.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 26
What's that? A post-apocalyptic survival game that isn't nuclear or zombies? Huh, interesting.

What's that? Challenging survival gameplay, unique and lovable graphical style and devs that actually stick with their early access project?

Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. Now you have my attention.
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112 of 189 people (59%) found this review helpful
196 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 9
10/10
- Walked slowly through the snow for three hours.
- Found a candy bar.
- Froze to death.
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24 of 34 people (71%) found this review helpful
24 people found this review funny
Recommended
35.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 2
We had two bags of Simple tools, 75 cardboard matches, five Sewing kits, a jerrycan half-full of kerosene, a whole galaxy of multi-colored meat pieces, guts, pelts, feathers… Also, a Hunting rifle, a knife, an small axe, a fishing tackle, a can of low condition dog food, and two box of ammo. Not that we needed all that for the trip, once you started marauding throughout the Canada, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the Dog food. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a survivor in the depths of a food poisoning, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
Recommended
228.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: May 31
The Long Dark is one of the best games I ever played (even if it's still in Early Access!).
I can clearly recommend this game to all people who like survival games.

Not survival like "you have to kill all the zombies to survive" (there are no zombies) more like you against nature (against extremely cold Canadian hinterland, against wolves and bears, against thirst and hunger, against your body that get's tired, against loneliness and declining tools).

This game is for explorers and nature lovers, for romantics and survivalists, for art lovers (beautiful graphics) and sound freaks (amazing sounds, really rich in detail, voice acting of your own character is also great).

At the moment you can only play the game in sandbox mode. The studio has planed this game as a story mode and released the sandbox to test the in game mechanics of the world.
They constantly improve the mechanics always in close connection to the feed back of the community. (It's just amazing how fast they respond!)
If you read this you can get the impression of the game is in an experimental state - belief me, it's not! I played this game in sandbox mode for more than 100 hours, I wouldn't have if it wasn't playable and highly enjoyable.
In the last update they also implanted a challenge mode where you have missions to accomplish under high pressure. This is great for all players that spend a lot of time in the game and wished for some change in their day to day survival. If you are new I recommend to first explore all regions and learn to survive in the wilderness before accepting the challenges.

What I especially like as a female player is that you can choose between a female an a male character. It helps to merge in to the game even more. And you really get absorbed by the game: If you played it for a couple hours you will start to collect matches in real live.

In short: Highly recommended for players who like to explore a beautiful landscape under extreme circumstances. Who like to collect food and stuff and build a base camp. Who like game mechanics that are oriented in real life (you can't run all day, you have to sleep or you can't sleep if you aren't tired).
Who like to think of what happens if you are the last person after the apocalypse. Who like an apocalypse where nothing really changes but the weather gets more extreme, the wolves are more aggressive and you can't find other survivors (at the moment).
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19 of 26 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
11.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 4
The Long Dark is a great game. With many hours in the game, I can tell it is very immersive. One day it might be snowing and you have to stay inside or you'll die from hypothermia, the next day you can't go outside because of the wolves camping your door and impossible to leave because of it. I would recommend this game to anyone who is interested in playing Solo Survival games as this is a great game. It has a lot of positives and negatives. Overall, you should give it a try as it really gets you into the game, I frustrate when I can't go outside and am running out of food.
-PROS:
--Very Realistic
--Graphics are great
--Not very demanding graphics
--Being in alpha not many bugs
--Great open world in which almost everything is interactable
--Realistic in which you find frozen bodies etc
--Controls are easy
--Different difficulties for different players

-CONS:
--No single player implemented yet
--The energy/food/thirst seems non-realistic as it drains everything way too fast (Might be me since I always have overexcess in inventory but it seems like it is drained way too quick)

I can't think of any more cons as of now, but there are definitely more out there just as there are more pros but I can't think of any as of now. Anyhow, the game is great for its price, has great content which you can have many different outcomes and everytime is just as enjoyable as the first time. Would definitely recommend.
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