Dark Gates is a game which tries to capture classic tabletop RPG experience. As a player you need to assemble a party of six heroes, select spells for them and send them on the quest to the labyrinth. Somewhere in that maze an evil mage created Dark Gates and now gates are open.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mixed (27 reviews) - 44% of the 27 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 26, 2015

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About This Game

Dark Gates is a game which tries to capture classic tabletop RPG experience. As a player you need to assemble a party of six heroes, select spells for them and send them on the quest to the labyrinth. Somewhere in that maze an evil mage created Dark Gates and now gates are open. Your party have to find and destroy those gates as darkness pours into this world through them.

Task is not easy, labyrinth is different every time you start a new adventure. As you play a map unfolds before you and is never the same. In the maze you will find monsters which you can negotiate with, fight or try to bribe it with gold. There is also many items hidden in the depths of the labyrinth. Some can help you in your quest while others are there just to hurt your team.

An evil mage, Unnamed have hidden Dark Gates behind mirrors. Party needs to find a pair of them to reveal the gates. In order to do so, party have to explore chambers. Each chamber is locked and entering into a chamber is always dangerous. Traps are everywhere. Remember to have in your party someone who can pick locks and disarm traps.

Talking about skills. Who you chose into a party is important. Balanced team is a key to make sure you will survive. Remember that if hero dies only a Resurrection spell can bring him/her back if you are quick enough. Don?t despair though, even if all party dies, you can continue current adventure with a new party?assuming you still got some heroes alive.

What to expect from Dark Gates?

  • Classic tabletop experience
  • Turn based combat
  • Truly unique labyrinth
  • Permadeath

System Requirements

Windows
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Storage: 40 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: minimum resolution of 800x600
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 40 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Storage: 50 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: minimum resolution of 800x600, No Steam Achievements on 32bit version.
    Recommended:
    • Processor: 64bit
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 50 MB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mixed (27 reviews)
Recently Posted
Two Clicks
( 18.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 9
THE DOWNLOW:
Dark Gates is a grid-based party dungeon-crawler, with lite RPG elements. It is essentially a virtual boardgame representation based on the 'classics' of many years ago. The objective is to explore the dungeon reach the Dark Gates and destroy the "Unnamed" beast that threatens to destroy the lands.

Exploration take place on a procedurally created dungeon across multiple levels and resembles a grid containing rooms. Encounters occur with creatures that can inhabit a tile. Encounter options consist of either: combat, negotiating or bribing. Combat takes place using WEGO-UGO, otherwise the party can pass unhindered. Characters attack using melee, ranged or magic spells.

Permadeath ensures characters die and leave the party. Yet the game allows you to replace dead members of if you find it on your adventure, use the Resurrection spell to revive them. As you progress you can find clues as to the location of the Dark Gates where your goal lies.

THE GOOD:
+ Randomly generated dungeon. Albeit very similar as not much to distinguish one from another.
+ Get to choose your party from 20 or so archetypes. You may recognize some very familiar faces! :)
+ Simple mechanics. Quick gameplay.
+ Party gains gold and characters experience which can be used to upgrade their skills.
+ Easy to get into.
+ Straightforward to gain achievements. Most can be gained quickly.

THE BAD:
- No character generation.
- No loot to pick-up and inventory to equip characters from.
- Bare-bone interface/instructions, resulting in a steep learning curve at the very beginning.
- Either too short. Or too long! Mostly because there is no point of reference telling you which staircase is the nearest to the Dark Gates. Major oversight!
- Party position not saved. Rather progress and state of the dungeon is. You have to essentially re-trace previous steps and then continue.
- No mouse controls, 100% keyboard driven.

AND THE ORDINARY:
* Nice clean-cut artwork.
* A range of encounter options: Fight, Negotiate, Bribe; that are dependent on a range of character skills.
* Decent range of magic spells which are fixed but, can be added to through exploring the dungeon.
* Basic, if pretty animated combat & spell effects.
* Very limited party organization and configuration.
* Artwork, music & sounds combine well to generate a decent ambience.
* Its fairly replayable but, very repetitive!

VERDICT:
I dont think this game will appeal to anyone but purists of old dungeon crawl boardgames, or this genre of video games. Maybe if the game also allowed character generation and had a loot and inventory system it would be more of a game that I could recommend.

Overall its just too basic, too simplistic to grab the attention of modern-day gamers. Unless youre like me and enjoy trying out and/or experiencing different games. I liked it but you can be sure it will not be for most players. It takes a brave developer to release a game like this, so Dark Gates should be admired for what it is! Playing it was fun but only consider getting it if you feel the need to kill a few hours with a short, basic boardgame adaptation that is basically okay!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
JATDragon
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: January 2
Personal Rating: 4.5/10

So normally with a negative review, I would just say it's a bad game and that I personally don't recommend it, but I'll make an effort to justify myself. Also, I would like to state that this should not discourage the developer from making games like this.

Pros:
+The game touches on the genre of dungeon crawling, which even though I find extremely boring and repetitive, has a following of retro gamers
+It is quite cheap (I got it for free)

Cons:
-The controls are entirely based on keyboard, which I assume is to give it an older feel. Even though other reviews say it's simple, the controls just to start a new game use a lot of keys that aren't obvious and you'll need guidance (6, 7, M, Space, etc.). Using enter would have been more obvious.
-There is no explanation! You start the game and are immediately prompted to select a team (The characters all look like they were created by a LotR fanatic btw). There is no intro, tutorial, or even small explanation about the stats you are looking at. They will have some ability called "Dark Gates" that is never explained, but ends up being the ability to open doors in the dungeon without getting hurt (that aspect is the game's only unique feature). The effect of the stats is not explained at all, and there are also spells available for some characters. Thankfully, those are a bit more explained, but again, not having played the game before, the gravity of each one is quite mysterious. Also, the thing I assume is the "cost" of each spell is simply a number before its name, which if you don't pay attention, you'll mistake as just a numbering system.
-Since the game starts abruptly, there is no storyline given. There is no plot or quest. It just becomes pointless.
-The players to select are all preset instead of random. I found two humans that had all the same stats, except one had a slight advantage in agility. I'm sure if someone studied the game, they could determine the best picks for a "dream team". Also would make replay experience repetitive.
-I think this is a bug, but when I tried to load a save, I was basically prompted to the selection screen, but with the selections preset. That means I could select a completely new team, which seems like "cheating". Also, I was placed in the very start, even though the map still had my explored areas. Navigating tile by tile is already annoying, don't make me retrace my steps...
-Combat is a bit weird. I have to be careful with what I select. The characters frequently auto-play (due to there only being one attack option), but I was expecting to have to press Enter, and so I have made someone else do something right after. It is also hard to tell sometimes which character option is selected.
-The whole negotiation and bribing system doesn't make sense. The bribing system is in place to justify the need of looted gold from battles. The negotiation I assume was a feature to "spice up the game". I guess I'll just chat with the spider so it'll let me go? The one time it worked, a group of ghosts got scared. Is diplomacy about fear?
-Repetetive! The whole thing is simply walking down narrow aisles (full of dead-end, one-tile rooms which need to be opened with special skill cause they are DARK GATES!) and fighting hostile mobs (all your typical fantasy mob like spider, troll, ghost, dark knight, etc.) that progressively get harder by having higher health and attack power (not smarter AI though).

All in all, I would not spend any money on this. This game seems like one that should be available to play online for free. It doesn't have advanced graphics, or large memory space needed, or special features, so I don't see why it needs to be a stand-alone. It is not hard to program and the graphics match the quality of resources available to developers for free online. Even free, I don't think I'll ever play this game again.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Rumbles
( 1.1 hrs on record )
Posted: November 15, 2015
Basic game, but quite fun!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
johndraugr
( 5.5 hrs on record )
Posted: September 3, 2015
This game might not be for the newer generation of gamers. If you are used to Super Mario Bros, The Elder Scroll games, or D&D type games like Baldur's Gate, then you probably won't appreciate this game. Dark Gates is an old school (as in late 1970s, early 1980s) style fantasy board game. If you would like to see where this game got some inspiration from search for the SPI games "Deathmaze" and "Citadel of Blood". When comparing Dark Gates to those SPI classics, you can't help becoming excited. I LOVED those old solo games where all the pieces were chits, and 2 six-sided dice. There wasn't much of a back story, and most of the game play was random. Dark Gates captures the style, fun and atmosphere of those SPI classics. If you are an old school gamer (NOT necessarily an old school video gamer), then you will appreciate this game. If you want fancy graphics, lots of diversity in the dungeon levels, and lots of equipment, quests, and hundreds of monsters, you probably are better off looking elsewhere.

I would recommend this game highly to those who enjoy solo or small party fantasy board games, even if you may have never experienced the SPI classics mentioned above. This game definitely has the feel of a classic/vintage board game.

[PROs]

Similar in Style and Play to classic SPI board games from the 70s/80s.

Numerous Heroes to experiment with in order to get a party that best suits your game playing strategy.

Large levels with many monsters, locked doors, and various objects to interact with that may result in a bonus, or punishment to the player, or party.

Basic ability to upgrade your hero's skills, mastery, vitality, resistance and more.

A nice, yet not long and drawn out back story that quickly explains the history and existance of the labyrinth and the unnamed boss who you ultimately must defeat.

Each time you play the dungeon/labyrinth is randomly designed, and stocked.

[CONs]

Movement can feel slow and might annoy some players, but others who enjoy those old board games might appreciate this. I got used to it.

While there are many heroes to choose from, you cannot create your own customized hero from scratch.

Basic upgrading of one's heroes. Not much depth when compared to leveling and upgrading heroes in D&D, or other fantasy style games.

Spell casting costs health, NOT mana thus if you are not careful and you cast a spell that costs more health than the caster has, the casting will cause the caster to die.

Dungeon levels are the same textures, and graphics. Not much differences in the looks of level 1 2, or 3.

[In Closing]

Dark Gates is a fun, old school (potentially painful to newer generations of gamers) fantasy style board game with light RPG/tactical features. For many years I wished for a computerized version of Deathmaze or Citadel of Blood and was extremely happy when I first stumbled upon this game in one of it's earliest releases. I've stuck with the game ever since and have beaten it a few times and STILL always enjoy coming back to it!

Get the comic book if it is available here on Steam as it also gives a little background/story about the game and a group of heroes who were entering the labyrinth to seal the Dark Gates!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Trent
( 12.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28, 2015
You probably won't like this game, but I did.

Things you'll consider a minus, but didn't bother me:
- It has no depth.
- Animations are cheesy.
- Sound and music are forgettable.
- There's very little challenge.
- Nothing seems to scale.
- It's extremely exploitable.

This you might consider a plus:
- It's easy to 100%.
- You can support an indie developer.
- You probably didn't pay full price.
- The devs often respond on the Steam forums.
- You might recognize some of the character icons.

9/10. Would 100% a casual RPG again.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Hyrizon
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 9, 2015
Boring.
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Glypha
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 9, 2015
This game is rather painful, I won't lie. I give most people less than 5 minutes before they quit and never play it again. There is very little to nothing happening here. You walk around opening doors and getting into fights with combats straight out of a MUD. There isn't even that much tabletop RPG granularity that you would expect in something claiming to 'capture classic tabletop RPG experience'. Mostly there's a graph paper based dungeon that is somehow worse than the actual look and feel of tabletop RPGs, particularly today where there is a lot going on.

That point is almost moot though, as there isn't even any other people allowed in a game, so you're literally by yourself playing a game that was all about arguing with your friends about nonsense in a classic nerd rite-of-passage.

It feels to me that you have to be in a particular place in your life, with a particular history, and trying to recover a particular feeling for this to ever be worthwhile.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Hippyshake
( 6.7 hrs on record )
Posted: February 4, 2015
Dark Gates simulates old-school board games like "DeathMaze." It's a minimalist idea, to be sure, but one that it does very well. The player selects 6 characters to form a party (many are multi-class and can use both melee and ranged weapons, as well as offensive and defensive magic). Once they breach the front entrance of the labyrinth (there's a back story that explains its existence, but it's typical fare), movement tiles are revealed in a similar fashion to "Dungeon Quest" in order to simulate the Fog of War. There are doors that may or may not be trapped, events to find, chests to open, and, of course, encounters. Each game is randomly generated.

Party members can be replaced or swapped at will, and they can be upgraded as their exp increases. The usual stat increases are here, but there are also Masteries that can be raised (such as the bonus they get to their melee weapon) and Skills (such as a bonus to successfully navigating Traps).

This may not be the popular opinion, but I actually like this game. I've been playing the DRM-free version for the last six months (as I write this review, Dark Gates has been on Steam less than a week), and I appreciate that it feels like an old-school board game. I don't even have a problem with hitting Enter (a common complaint is that the mouse is not used, although it should be noted that the game does claim full gamepad support), because rolling dice would take just as long, if not longer. It's not supposed to be Skyrim; it's a board game. The description even states that it "tries to capture classic tabletop RPG experience," and it easily achieves this goal. Does it have amazing hi-rez ultra smooth graphics with Oculus support? No, but why would it? The graphics are perfectly serviceable for what it is.

(EDIT: The developer has recently addressed the complaint of hitting Enter too often, by automating this process somewhat. )

Dark gates is a simple game with simple rules. It might be too slow-moving for some, and I'll admit that the sound gets old very quickly. But, in my opinion, the very things that irritate some players are what make the game work for me. Gameplay isn't overly convoluted, which makes it easy to pick up and play in 5 minute increments or for an hour. The Fog of War keeps things interesting, as does the opportunity to try to settle encounters either through force or diplomatically (by Negotiating or Bribing). Different monsters have different abilities to keep things tense (for example, spiders cast webs over random party members, making them unable to fight). That said, I do believe that $10 US is too much for what this game is. I'd recommend it, but at a price half that, as it really feels more like an iOS game than something designed for PC.

Dark Gates is a lite, board game-inspired time waster. There is nothing particularly deep or strategic about it; this isn't an RTS by any means. Those players who are looking for something simple to pass the time will enjoy it. All others should steer clear. For me, it's a fun and interesting diversion when I don't want to think too hard or button mash.

Recommended, but make sure you know what you're getting before pulling the trigger.

[One quick aside: There is misinformation around that states the game doesn't tell you what the controls are, which kind of baffles me. Every time the screen changes, the keys that are usable on that screen are displayed as icons. You can see this in the game's screen shots if this is a concern.]

(Edited for purposes of clarification)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
shpadoinkle
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: February 3, 2015
This game throws me back to the 80s RPG board games such as Dungeon Quest and The Warlock of Firetop mountain.
A nice indie game filled with nostaligia
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jakasmo ᕦʕ•͡ᴥ•ʔᕤ
( 9.1 hrs on record )
Posted: January 31, 2015
Very nice little game :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
57 of 89 people (64%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 26, 2015
This game got seemingly good reviews and people compared it to Monsters' Den on Kongregate which I loved. Games like this are all about collecting loot, building unique characters, strategy and tactics. The 8.99 price tag was a little steep, but I knew based on how much fun I had with the Monsters' Den games that it would be worth it. This game has no loot, no strategy, no tactics, no dimensions, no plot, and no fun. I could have made a better game and I don't know how to code. This is possibly the largest waste of money I've ever spent in my whole life and I would really like it back. :(
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
19 of 24 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 27, 2015
Not sure about the others but I quite enjoy it. Yeah it has it's foibles but most indie games do. Can't say I had any trouble picking the controls for this, all seemd straight forward to me. Arrow keys for movent and space bar/enter for action. Thing the only thing that tripped me was selecting spells but even then it was quite easily setup.

There isn't much in terms of an leveling system or loot but it doesn't really matter for such a simplistic game. If you're more for that sort of thing then you're probably better off on Diablo 3. The graphics aren't going to win any awards but it makes it seem a much more retro feel to it. Could probably do with a few tweaks for aesthetics sake but doesn't take anything away from it in my eyes.

Think 2D Legend of Grimrock and you're on the right lines for what it's about gamestyle wise. Far as the plot goes, I simply just put a band of warriors together and went about killing everything in sight. Seems to be more about how long you can persevere?

Honest rating for this? 6.5/10. Playable and enjoyable but as with all indie games, continued improvement will see the score rise.
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12 of 12 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 3, 2015
This game might not be for the newer generation of gamers. If you are used to Super Mario Bros, The Elder Scroll games, or D&D type games like Baldur's Gate, then you probably won't appreciate this game. Dark Gates is an old school (as in late 1970s, early 1980s) style fantasy board game. If you would like to see where this game got some inspiration from search for the SPI games "Deathmaze" and "Citadel of Blood". When comparing Dark Gates to those SPI classics, you can't help becoming excited. I LOVED those old solo games where all the pieces were chits, and 2 six-sided dice. There wasn't much of a back story, and most of the game play was random. Dark Gates captures the style, fun and atmosphere of those SPI classics. If you are an old school gamer (NOT necessarily an old school video gamer), then you will appreciate this game. If you want fancy graphics, lots of diversity in the dungeon levels, and lots of equipment, quests, and hundreds of monsters, you probably are better off looking elsewhere.

I would recommend this game highly to those who enjoy solo or small party fantasy board games, even if you may have never experienced the SPI classics mentioned above. This game definitely has the feel of a classic/vintage board game.

[PROs]

Similar in Style and Play to classic SPI board games from the 70s/80s.

Numerous Heroes to experiment with in order to get a party that best suits your game playing strategy.

Large levels with many monsters, locked doors, and various objects to interact with that may result in a bonus, or punishment to the player, or party.

Basic ability to upgrade your hero's skills, mastery, vitality, resistance and more.

A nice, yet not long and drawn out back story that quickly explains the history and existance of the labyrinth and the unnamed boss who you ultimately must defeat.

Each time you play the dungeon/labyrinth is randomly designed, and stocked.

[CONs]

Movement can feel slow and might annoy some players, but others who enjoy those old board games might appreciate this. I got used to it.

While there are many heroes to choose from, you cannot create your own customized hero from scratch.

Basic upgrading of one's heroes. Not much depth when compared to leveling and upgrading heroes in D&D, or other fantasy style games.

Spell casting costs health, NOT mana thus if you are not careful and you cast a spell that costs more health than the caster has, the casting will cause the caster to die.

Dungeon levels are the same textures, and graphics. Not much differences in the looks of level 1 2, or 3.

[In Closing]

Dark Gates is a fun, old school (potentially painful to newer generations of gamers) fantasy style board game with light RPG/tactical features. For many years I wished for a computerized version of Deathmaze or Citadel of Blood and was extremely happy when I first stumbled upon this game in one of it's earliest releases. I've stuck with the game ever since and have beaten it a few times and STILL always enjoy coming back to it!

Get the comic book if it is available here on Steam as it also gives a little background/story about the game and a group of heroes who were entering the labyrinth to seal the Dark Gates!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
12 of 12 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
12.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 28, 2015
You probably won't like this game, but I did.

Things you'll consider a minus, but didn't bother me:
- It has no depth.
- Animations are cheesy.
- Sound and music are forgettable.
- There's very little challenge.
- Nothing seems to scale.
- It's extremely exploitable.

This you might consider a plus:
- It's easy to 100%.
- You can support an indie developer.
- You probably didn't pay full price.
- The devs often respond on the Steam forums.
- You might recognize some of the character icons.

9/10. Would 100% a casual RPG again.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
Personal Rating: 4.5/10

So normally with a negative review, I would just say it's a bad game and that I personally don't recommend it, but I'll make an effort to justify myself. Also, I would like to state that this should not discourage the developer from making games like this.

Pros:
+The game touches on the genre of dungeon crawling, which even though I find extremely boring and repetitive, has a following of retro gamers
+It is quite cheap (I got it for free)

Cons:
-The controls are entirely based on keyboard, which I assume is to give it an older feel. Even though other reviews say it's simple, the controls just to start a new game use a lot of keys that aren't obvious and you'll need guidance (6, 7, M, Space, etc.). Using enter would have been more obvious.
-There is no explanation! You start the game and are immediately prompted to select a team (The characters all look like they were created by a LotR fanatic btw). There is no intro, tutorial, or even small explanation about the stats you are looking at. They will have some ability called "Dark Gates" that is never explained, but ends up being the ability to open doors in the dungeon without getting hurt (that aspect is the game's only unique feature). The effect of the stats is not explained at all, and there are also spells available for some characters. Thankfully, those are a bit more explained, but again, not having played the game before, the gravity of each one is quite mysterious. Also, the thing I assume is the "cost" of each spell is simply a number before its name, which if you don't pay attention, you'll mistake as just a numbering system.
-Since the game starts abruptly, there is no storyline given. There is no plot or quest. It just becomes pointless.
-The players to select are all preset instead of random. I found two humans that had all the same stats, except one had a slight advantage in agility. I'm sure if someone studied the game, they could determine the best picks for a "dream team". Also would make replay experience repetitive.
-I think this is a bug, but when I tried to load a save, I was basically prompted to the selection screen, but with the selections preset. That means I could select a completely new team, which seems like "cheating". Also, I was placed in the very start, even though the map still had my explored areas. Navigating tile by tile is already annoying, don't make me retrace my steps...
-Combat is a bit weird. I have to be careful with what I select. The characters frequently auto-play (due to there only being one attack option), but I was expecting to have to press Enter, and so I have made someone else do something right after. It is also hard to tell sometimes which character option is selected.
-The whole negotiation and bribing system doesn't make sense. The bribing system is in place to justify the need of looted gold from battles. The negotiation I assume was a feature to "spice up the game". I guess I'll just chat with the spider so it'll let me go? The one time it worked, a group of ghosts got scared. Is diplomacy about fear?
-Repetetive! The whole thing is simply walking down narrow aisles (full of dead-end, one-tile rooms which need to be opened with special skill cause they are DARK GATES!) and fighting hostile mobs (all your typical fantasy mob like spider, troll, ghost, dark knight, etc.) that progressively get harder by having higher health and attack power (not smarter AI though).

All in all, I would not spend any money on this. This game seems like one that should be available to play online for free. It doesn't have advanced graphics, or large memory space needed, or special features, so I don't see why it needs to be a stand-alone. It is not hard to program and the graphics match the quality of resources available to developers for free online. Even free, I don't think I'll ever play this game again.
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11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 9, 2015
This game is rather painful, I won't lie. I give most people less than 5 minutes before they quit and never play it again. There is very little to nothing happening here. You walk around opening doors and getting into fights with combats straight out of a MUD. There isn't even that much tabletop RPG granularity that you would expect in something claiming to 'capture classic tabletop RPG experience'. Mostly there's a graph paper based dungeon that is somehow worse than the actual look and feel of tabletop RPGs, particularly today where there is a lot going on.

That point is almost moot though, as there isn't even any other people allowed in a game, so you're literally by yourself playing a game that was all about arguing with your friends about nonsense in a classic nerd rite-of-passage.

It feels to me that you have to be in a particular place in your life, with a particular history, and trying to recover a particular feeling for this to ever be worthwhile.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
18.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 9
THE DOWNLOW:
Dark Gates is a grid-based party dungeon-crawler, with lite RPG elements. It is essentially a virtual boardgame representation based on the 'classics' of many years ago. The objective is to explore the dungeon reach the Dark Gates and destroy the "Unnamed" beast that threatens to destroy the lands.

Exploration take place on a procedurally created dungeon across multiple levels and resembles a grid containing rooms. Encounters occur with creatures that can inhabit a tile. Encounter options consist of either: combat, negotiating or bribing. Combat takes place using WEGO-UGO, otherwise the party can pass unhindered. Characters attack using melee, ranged or magic spells.

Permadeath ensures characters die and leave the party. Yet the game allows you to replace dead members of if you find it on your adventure, use the Resurrection spell to revive them. As you progress you can find clues as to the location of the Dark Gates where your goal lies.

THE GOOD:
+ Randomly generated dungeon. Albeit very similar as not much to distinguish one from another.
+ Get to choose your party from 20 or so archetypes. You may recognize some very familiar faces! :)
+ Simple mechanics. Quick gameplay.
+ Party gains gold and characters experience which can be used to upgrade their skills.
+ Easy to get into.
+ Straightforward to gain achievements. Most can be gained quickly.

THE BAD:
- No character generation.
- No loot to pick-up and inventory to equip characters from.
- Bare-bone interface/instructions, resulting in a steep learning curve at the very beginning.
- Either too short. Or too long! Mostly because there is no point of reference telling you which staircase is the nearest to the Dark Gates. Major oversight!
- Party position not saved. Rather progress and state of the dungeon is. You have to essentially re-trace previous steps and then continue.
- No mouse controls, 100% keyboard driven.

AND THE ORDINARY:
* Nice clean-cut artwork.
* A range of encounter options: Fight, Negotiate, Bribe; that are dependent on a range of character skills.
* Decent range of magic spells which are fixed but, can be added to through exploring the dungeon.
* Basic, if pretty animated combat & spell effects.
* Very limited party organization and configuration.
* Artwork, music & sounds combine well to generate a decent ambience.
* Its fairly replayable but, very repetitive!

VERDICT:
I dont think this game will appeal to anyone but purists of old dungeon crawl boardgames, or this genre of video games. Maybe if the game also allowed character generation and had a loot and inventory system it would be more of a game that I could recommend.

Overall its just too basic, too simplistic to grab the attention of modern-day gamers. Unless youre like me and enjoy trying out and/or experiencing different games. I liked it but you can be sure it will not be for most players. It takes a brave developer to release a game like this, so Dark Gates should be admired for what it is! Playing it was fun but only consider getting it if you feel the need to kill a few hours with a short, basic boardgame adaptation that is basically okay!
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28 of 51 people (55%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 27, 2015
Abysmal.

You can see my old review here: https://pangoempire.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/commercial-rll-review-dark-gates/ but it is for an older version of the game. I link it mainly because for its humour and so you can see my interactions with the developer.

So here's my review of this version on steam right now:

The game does not inspire confidence from the start when you change resolution and see that the title screen doesn't get scaled and so at 1920p for example it sits uncomfortablly at the top middle of the screen. The options by the way are basically just the resolution, music and sound on and off and a selectable theme. (There are no other themes, just "default").

The game does not work with steam overlay so you can't take screenshots easily.

You pick 6 of the pre-made adventurers on the start screen. You will notice at this point that the graphics are hand-drawn and pretty amateur-looking. In my original review I call the adventurers "Melty Face People" which became a bit disturbing when I learned they were based on photos of people who were cursed by a witch in a previous life and so had decided to back this game.

You will notice you are moving round the dungeon very slowly. Every step you take with your party of MFP (Melty Face People: do pay attention, 007) you see the ground ahead of you fade up with a little animation, and the movement keys do not auto-repeat.

Some squares are empty, some have monsters on. You can fight them or attempt to negotiate with them like some kind of bad-♥♥♥ new man, quiche-empathizing-with ("we could be dealing with a new form of life, number 1!") Captain Piccard. Negotiation never seems to work so it's on to the combat. Oh god, the combat...

At this point we get to the problem of controls:

1 The game doesn't tell you what the keys are.
2 You can't change the keys. In my 7DRL entry last year, written in a week, you can change the keys. This game has been in development for years and you can't. This is absolutely inexcusable. Don't try to defend this, it's just awful.
3 You can't use the mouse.
4 You will have to press Enter *** 18 times every single combat round *** .

That is not an exaggeration. That is a fact. Six adventurers, and for each one you see an icon on the adventurer; you press enter; an options menu comes up (at least at the start it only seems to offer 'attack'); you press enter to select this attack; an icon appears on a monster; you press enter to confirm. That's 3x Enter for each of Six Adventurers, EVERY COMBAT ROUND. (And that's accepting the defaults, not counting the arrow keys you have to use to select option other than attack or target other than the default). Is this game secretly sponsored by keyboard manufacturers?

Also the animations in the combat are tediously slow and unskippable so you can't even just hammer the Enter key wakka-wakka-wakka because you have to wait.

Then there are squares with doors. If you attempt to move onto them you will get a display listing your adventurers and be told to select one to bash the door in. You will get really really familiar with this display.

Once you're in the room there can be a dungeon feature to interact with (that character to do the action selecty screen again) which can give good or bad results.

If you're really unlucky there will be a monster in the room and you will have to fight it. Oh god, no, please no.... Enter Enter Enter Enter...

There isn't much text in the game but it's available in multiple languages. (See I said something positive about the game!) Oh, what little text there is has mistakes in it in English. (Aaaand we're back to nasty).

The game is a horrible, ugly, slow-paced, boring, crash-prone, keyboard destroying, option-light, soul-destroying game of Melty Face People vs. the cardboard monsters. I urge you not to buy it.
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23 of 42 people (55%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 26, 2015
Do not buy this game. Looked like a potentially fun game, but it's absolute junk.
The controls aren't explained anywhere, the gameplay isn't really either.
The how to play section of the main menu helps some, but it's still bad to the point of being nearly unplayable.
If you see it on sale for around 50 cents, it might be worth considering, but really it's not even worth the time to play.
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 28, 2015
I originally purchased this game as part of a bundle and am thrilled to see it on Steam with achievements, the games has evolved quite nicely since I last played it and feels a lot more polished.

The game is a turn based dungeon crawler focused on encounters, if you've played something more recent like knights of pen and paper the encounters feel a similar vein to that. The art is hand drawn and suits the indie, crafted feel.

Combat is reasonably tactical, formation and abilities are in play and there is enough depth here to keep it interesting, it feels like an interactive board game and yet simple enough to make sure playing is quite relaxing to sink a few hours into at the start of the weekend.

You play exclusively using the keyboard, mostly directions and the enter key - initially this felt strange but now especially playing on a laptop I find it quite well suited to the dungeon traversal and nice not to have to constantly switch modality between mouse and keyboard.

If you are a fan of turn based dungeon crawlers with tactical combat encounters then make sure to give this a second look.
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