I love the indie gaming community because developers tend to feel free to experiment with gameplay and narrative. Sometimes things are a bit disjointed. Of course, this is to be expected considering that the majority of developers lack the budget to make their games shine like the majority of console games. So this makes Dark Scavenger the entire game cooler to me.
Dark Scavenger follows you, yes you, as the protagonist. The game begins with you mysteriously floating in outer space when a massive amorphous blob approaches you and it has decided that it is going to devour you until you put up a fight. After losing spectacularly, it leaves you for dead and until a mysterious group of “aliens” known as the Dark Scavengers rescues you. It’s also at this time that you learn that the ship is low on fuel and you have to explore the mysterious planet below for some sort of fuel source. This is where the craziness begins.
Graphically, the game is well-done, realistic clip art done in a psychedelic sci-fi theme. No, I’m not joking about the clip art bit as none of the animations move as there are no little special effects to seal the point home. They just get flipped around. This isn’t to say that the environments don’t look interesting or even well-defined — the same is even true for the enemies you’ll fight, it’s just underwhelming. What helps are the well-done and immersive descriptions. This gives the game an old-school RPG feel where language was necessary to fully immerse the player in the world.
Gameplay is a mixture of a point-and-click adventure and turn-based RPG sensibilities. You click on the scenery, figure out how to properly solve each situation, which ranges from safely removing a spear from an electrified statue to getting yourself out of all sorts of problems. Doing so usually nets some sort of reward that one of the three aliens back on the ship can transform into a weapon, item or ally. And you need them in order to solve the puzzles and to properly defend yourself. There’s even a reusable potion that slowly refills itself every time you stun the enemy. There’s catch: each weapon, item and ally have a limit for use during each of the chapters. So you need to be smart about how you approach each situation.
Sonically, the game is solidly built though disappointing in the end. You can hear generic weapon swings, gurgling of gissa (a strange living acid substance), and solid battle music. The down part is that there aren’t many tracks to enjoy.
Ultimately, whatever problems you have with Dark Scavenger can easily be forgiven due to its short length. This is a game that can be beaten in a rainy afternoon as the game is so darn intriguing because you never know what odd visual or event will occur next. And the new game+ feature isn’t a bad addition either.
The thing is, this is a game that is intended for players who miss the “good ol’ days” of gaming where description was king and the setting was meant to spur the imagination. If you fit the aforementioned group in any shape or form, then you seriously owe it to yourself to at least download the demo and discover strange world of Dark Scavenger for yourself. And it costs $5, so it’s a fairly easy pill to swallow since it can be bought off of Gamersgate and the official website.