Darkest Dungeon (2016): Review

Darkest Dungeon (2016)

Darkest Dungeon was inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and was developed/published by Red Hook Studios. Darkest Dungeon originally went into Steam Early Access on February 3rd, 2015 and officially released January 19th, 2016. Using Kickstarter they reached the funding goal of $75,000 USD in the first two days and ended the Kickstarter campaign with $313,000 USD from over 10,000 backers. Considering their modest goals of $75,000, it was apparent their idea had merit and several people had interest in seeing a final game.


Game Style

  • RPG
  • Dungeon Crawler
  • Gothic Inspired
  • Turn Based
  • Rogue Like Elements


PS Vita
Nintendo Switch

Red Hook Studios

Release Date:
January 19th, 2016

$24.99 USD


Story Line

The player receives a letter to help “clean up” their newly passed down “Hamlet”. The goal of the game is to defeat the monsters in each of the regions to earn progress to unlock a boss battle. These boss battles are tough and require the proper preparation to overcome. In the process of unlocking said battles, you are to earn gold by completing dungeons to upgrade your heroes and structures in the Hamlet to provide benefits and better equipment.



The Beginning

The player begins the journey in the tutorial and it tells you how to maneuver in the dungeon setting, which is by clicking the right mouse button or using the keyboard's A or D keys. After learning how to move you are quickly thrown into combat and it will go over how the turn based combat works. Completing the tutorial results the player being thrown into the Hamlet. Challenging. Grueling. Rewarding. These three words describe Darkest Dungeon very well. This game is not for the faint of hearts. Expect to lose heroes. Hours of played game time can be lost in the blink of an eye with careless or reckless decision making. With that being said, this game is highly addicting. Defeating a boss or conquering a champion level dungeon gives a very elated moment that made me want to grow my heroes further and press onward.


It is turned based and not mechanically demanding. There are a couple of interesting twists to this game and those are Stress and combat moves dependent on the heroes Position. Specific moves require the hero to be in either spots 1, 2, 3 or 4 and the Positions can be arranged freely outside of combat and are more restricted in combat.

Stress Management

Stress is essentially like a second health bar that you must be aware of. It is right below the standard green health bar and is shown by white squares. Some enemies inflict damage as well as stress damage and when the stress bar reaches 100 the game will roll for either a virtuous buff or affliction which is usually negative and is applied to the character that reached 100 stress. When a character reaches 200 stress then the character will experience a heart attack. This will either kill the hero or put them on deaths door which could still result in the heroes demise. Having a battle plan to combat stress is important.


The game is packed with vicious fights that only get harder. You start the game off by doing the “easiest” dungeon combination of short and apprentice level. These dungeons don't require that much food/torch management because of the easiness of the monsters and shortness of the dungeon. As you adventure into Veteran and Champion level dungeons. the enemies progressively get harder and new monsters will appear. The new monsters will require new strategy and team compositions to take down. In addition to the difficulty level another layer of difficulty is thrown in, in the form of dungeon length. The length options are short, medium or long. Depending on the combination you pick the difficulty rises. Each combination with their own unique challenges. Champion and long is the toughest combination and you have to endure stress management, inventory space, strategic camping, the parties health and of course the insanely tough enemies.

Auto Save Feature

This is implemented for a few reasons some good and bad. You won't have to worry about leaving a dungeon or boss mid fight to save the game file. You can exit the game whenever you deem appropriate without losing progress. This also means no save scumming.

Dungeon Length

It can vary greatly depending on the player, experience of said player and the dungeon difficulty being ran. I would say a dungeon can last anywhere between 10 minutes to 60 minutes or longer.


Yes, to the all so important question, "Does this game have achievements!?!?!".

Hardware Requirements

The base game ran very smoothly and I had no problems with performance in general. There was one exception that caused a crash but that was related to a mod and was not related to the base game. Basically, this game could run on a potato and still be enjoyable due to the turn based gameplay.


Minimum Recommended

OS: Windows XP
Memory: 2 GB Ram
Graphics: Open GL 3.2+ Compliant
Storage: 2 GB Available

OS: Windows 7 or 10
Memory: 4 GB Ram
Graphics: Open GL 3.2+ Compliant
Storage: 2 GB Avaiable



The Good and Bad


Pros Cons
  • Challenging
  • Progress Is Gratifying
  • Fantastic Atmosphere
  • Mods For Additional Replayability
  • Grindy
  • Unforgiving
  • Moderate Learning Curve




This game currently stands at $25 USD on Steam. I wouldn't recommend this game on the basis that it is much too difficult a game for the casual player. However, if you are a masochist (like myself) then I would highly recommend this game if it goes on sale for $10 USD. If you do decide to purchase this game, just remember that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer. Also, the Leper IS situationally good.



Where to buy?



Action Shots