A Dark Room: A Minimalist Adventure That Will Light Up Your World

A Dark Room: A Minimalist Adventure That Will Light Up Your World

A Dark Room is a text-driven experiment in minimalism, discovery and exploration.

Shadows everywhere. The cold seeps through your bones. You light the fire. You feed it branches and twigs and wood chips - anything that will burn. Embers splutter and hiss. The room begins to warm. There is nothing else that can be said or done. You stoke the fire and wait.

A text-only, browser-based title, A Dark Room stands as testament to the fact that less can most certainly be more. In the beginning, you're given nothing more than the option to stoke a nascent flame. There is no explanation as to why you're in the eponymous space or who you might be. You, the room, and the events that follow are simply part and parcel of a world that you may never ever completely understand

While the idea of repeatedly hitting a button that says 'stoke fire' and waiting for a bar to tick down may not seem immediately appealing, A Dark Room makes that initial drudgery more than amply worthwhile. At some point, a hypothermic stranger will stumble onto your fire and collapse in front of it, delirious from the cold. Once they've recovered, the game will begin in earnest.

That's all you're getting out of me. Much of the appeal of A Dark Room lies in discovering exactly how it builds onto itself, growing from a repetitive set of motions into a full-fledged adventure. Inversely, as expansive as the world eventually becomes, the delivery never loses its spartan approach. Exposition is sparing. A Dark Room seems to delight in hinting and teasing at what lies behind the curtain. The controls follow a similar pattern. They never really diverge from the original formula: click on box, reap feedback.

The best part about A Dark Room is, arguably, how easily it fits into your daily routine. Unlike most games, A Dark Room demands very little outside of being assigned a tab in your browser. Whenever you want to play with it, it'll be there, quietly chugging along in the background.

A Dark Room has something that many big-budget games lack: the ability to surprise. And not in the 'agh! A video of bloody, screaming woman just popped up on my browser!' sort of way either.

Play A Dark Room.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Related articles

USG's Top 20 Games of 2020

From thirsty gods to avaricious raccoons, these were our favorite games in 2020.

Stardew Valley Just Got Beaches, Fish Tanks, Swimming Ducks, and a Whole Lot More

Nearly five years on, Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone just pushed what he says is Stardew's "biggest update yet."

The Top Stories That Shaped Video Games in 2020

There's a lot—good, bad, and everything in between—to look back on this year. I don't know about you, but I'm mostly feeling tired.

Among Us Sneaks Aboard Game Pass for PC Today, Will Ruin Xbox Friendships in 2021

Yet another way to play Among Us today and one more planned for next year.

Need help?

Stardew Valley Guide - Essential Tips to Help You Become the Ultimate Farmer

Everything you need to know to go from rags to riches in Stardew Valley.

Disco Elysium: How to Find All Four Pieces of the Fairweather T-500 Ceramic Armor

We show you how to find the hanged man's armor hidden across Martinaise.

How Long Is Disco Elysium and How Many Days Are There?

We take you through the length of Disco Elysium and how many days the game covers.

Disco Elysium: How to Find Your Gun, Badge and Bullets

We show you how to find your pistol and police badge ID after losing them.