Dark Scavenger - PC Review

I will admit that this was a game I had heard nothing about, despite getting mentioned on Destructoid and winning an honorable mention at an indie games convention.  When our friends at Digitally Downloaded asked me if I wanted to review it, I said sure!  Dark Scavenger is a mesh of genres, with a sort of over-the-top sci-fi story presented in a hybrid point-and-click adventure game with a somewhat more traditional RPG combat system.


Psydra games pulls together a mostly static, but bright and colorful art style as you move around maps and click on items that then generate events.  Sometimes you simply find a resource, sometimes you initiate a fight with something or someone, and other times you wind up with branching dialog.  Some of these dialog pieces present puzzle-like elements as well, where you can leverage items you have in your inventory. 

Now, speaking of inventory, this is really where the game does most of its heavy-lifting.  Your goal as you move around from one map to another is to pick up and find resources for the rest of your motley, Dark Scavenger crew.  When you move on to a new map screen, you are given a chance to turn your resources into one of your three crew members.  That resource is then turned into a weapon, an item or an ally.

These new inventory items degrade with use - so your tRUSTY sword may run out in 7 uses, whether that be as a puzzle use or in combat.  Combat takes place with a sort of traditional enemy-facing-you approach with some limited combat animations occurring.  You can combine items and weapons in some instances, which is a big help.  My favorite was the 'big red button' - which then allowed your single-hit weapon to strike every enemy on screen (particularly helpful during a tougher-than-average fight with a three-headed brute late in the second chapter, for example).

You get the usual number-crunching that takes place in this kind of combat behind the scenes.  For example, the wolf-like creature you are fighting may be vulnerable to your static gun's electricity damage, but resistant to another type.  Or maybe your weapon and item combination can stun the creature, forcing him to forfeit an attack that round.  You do have a health bar, which can be replenished with items as well, and can be diminished by not only combat, but as a result of how you interact with certain environmental puzzles as well.

Working through the environment itself is a pretty straightforward affair.  If you can interact with an element, your mouse will cause that element to glow with a red outline if you hover over it.  You can then left-click on it to interact.  Pretty basic, but it does the job.  

This is a largely text-driven game.  There is very little in the way of animation to discuss here, and I will be honest - by the end of the game the menu-driven combat and heaps of dialog were starting to blur together.  What started relatively fresh and interesting had lost its sparkle during the last leg of my 5-ish hour session (it may not have helped that I sat there and literally played it straight through over the course of an afternoon only getting up to use the restroom or grab a soda).

This is flash-driven game that stores its save data in your browser cache.  The game does warn you of this during start up, which is nice - but an odd design choice in my opinion.

So, what did I think of the game?  It was alright.  I always have a tough time with indie games, because they are generally lower in production value (usually by a significant margin) than more polished games, and because their distribution tends to be a bit more limited (Psydra did say that Gamersgate plans to carry this title as well), they might not feel like as good of a bargain for what you get.  Dark Scavenger rings in at $10.  Given the very unique nature of this game, I would strongly suggest giving the demo (which gives you a limited taste of the first chapter) a try if you are considering purchasing, and their site can be found here.

Scoring this game?  I'd probably say a 6/10 - it's a decent indie effort, and I don't feel like my time was ill-spent, but it's not a game that's going to overtake the Mass Effects or Final Fantasy titles I play either.  Go ahead and take a peek at the trailer below, and if you happen to play it - tell me what you think!

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