Darkwood: a shadowy top-down terror trip

Omri Petitte at

I gauge the scariness of horror games using my patented Curl Chance™ system, which measures how likely I am to curl into a ball of whimpering fear when I play them. I rate the new trailer for Darkwood, an upcoming top-down survival horror title from indie group Acid Wizard Studio, a "Mommy" out of 10 based on the inky shadows and surreal sense of unease.

Atmosphere aside, Darkwood's roguelike elements, such as permadeath, bleed-outs from injuries, and a crafting system for throwing up ramshackle barricades, suggest it's taking a paced, cerebral approach to horror.

Acid Wizard's debut trailer keeps the monster in the dark for now, apart from a rather disturbing sketch from a creepy kid pianist. When the lights fizzle out—and, let's face it, that's bound to happen—Darkwood's impressive shadow effects skitter across the screen, and the game's unconventional perspective doesn't seem to detract from the tension.

Brave Darkwood's official site for more info on its features. Acid Wizard's work is in a very early pre-alpha stage, but the gameplay on display definitely shows the studio is working hard to induce that tingling feeling in the back of your skull. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's curling time.