Dark Train is a point-and-click game with handcrafted visuals made from paper and a "dark, oppressive atmosphere," according to developer Paperash Studios. It released one year ago today, and in celebration of its anniversary, Dark Train is currently free on Itch.io. However, this offer is only valid through 3 p.m. Pacific (6 p.m. Eastern) tomorrow, Thursday, October 26.
To get your free copy, simply log into your Itch.io account, claim Dark Train to add it to your library, then download the game itself. You may run into a donation prompt, but it's optional. To play it, just extract the file, click through to the Dark Train application, and run it. If you'd like a Steam key instead, you'll have to chip in at least $0.50. This minimum donation was put in place to combat Steam bots illegitimately farming game keys, Paperash said in an update.
Dark Train is bewildering at first, but its mouse-operated systems are actually much more straightforward than its oddball setting. Players pilot the ANN 2.35f, a mechanical squid created by the late D.W. Tagrezbung, a famous inventor. Tagrezbung's masterwork was a self-sustained model replica of human civilization housed in a train, for which ANN serves as something of a caretaker.
As Paperash explained in a blog post, the train is split into four wagons, each with their own unique environments and riddles. The train engine itself is also a puzzle: you have to collect and allocate water and electricity to keep it running smoothly. So, for example, you'll want to raise your lightning rods and open your water collection ducts when it storms. Your resources directly impact the state of the train's four wagons and can also be used to interact with the world.
"There is a second function [to] these collectors," Paperash explains. "They can also release resources out of the train. You can change [whether] you want to collect or release the resource in the engine room which is located at the top of the train … if you have a lot of water collected, you can [put] out fires and save houses in the city you ride through."
Dark Train is worth seeing for its weirdness alone. So if you're looking for a decidedly out-there point-and-click adventure, you can't go wrong with this freebie.