The Dark Egg by indie dev Transcend Pixels is a text-based RPG adventure where players take on the role of an explorer looking for a Dark Egg on a remote and mysterious island. The game features puzzles, an island to explore, and tactical turn-based battles. Available on Steam for free.
The Journey begins
Everything starts on the boat headed to the island where once, humans and gods lived together, now nothing more than piles, ruins, and enigmatic inhabitants. The game tells players what happens through text, but it does it in a never-heavy and never-overflowed way, and you can believe it since I’m not a lover of text-based myself. But let’s go back to the boat headed for the island.
Trying to talk to the captain, players will only get enigmatic glances, but it will be enough to pass a few minutes and get to the island and make both the boat and the captain vanish in the fog. The Dark Egg game world is represented through textual descriptions and the map on the lower part of the screen, a map made up of nodes and multiple levels, with the possibility of zooming in or out.
Exploring and staying alive
In The Dark Egg, players will have to pay attention to health which will decrease during events and battles. Energy which is used to perform actions, move around and fight. Sanity which decreases with each traumatic event but is slowly recovered. Finally, the trauma bar starts from 0 and increases more and more every time the sanity bar reaches zero, creating unpleasant events and reactions.
Then there are the skill points players can invest in a skill tree full of specializations and bonuses for the character to obtain. And finally, there is the inventory to manage the items found along the way, the equipment, and clothes to counter the cold.
As I said, the exploration is accompanied by text and music that perfectly recreate the environments in which the events occur and let the players breathe that disturbed and mysterious atmosphere.
The Combat System
Battles play a major role in The Dark Egg, and they are tactical. Shown on the map below, where tokens represent the character and enemies. The character at each turn has movement points, and certain action points at his disposal to make attacks, exploit special skills or use objects, and just above the map, the turn order of each participant in the battle.
After about an hour + of gameplay, I just scratched the game’s surface, left the small village, and reached the ruins, where I faced a sort of zombie called a moonwalker and an important decision regarding a witch and a strange creature. I am very curious to see what lies beyond, how the game is balanced in terms of difficulty, and how the management and the growth of the character influence the adventure and the plot.
What I’m sure of is that you have to try The Dark Egg, because it has nothing to do with the average text-based games, and you must believe me because I’m always the guy who tries to stay away from that kind of game. An incredible atmosphere and a world that will be able to engage you simply by reading text. Below you can find my gameplay.