The Darwin Project is a smaller lobby based battle royale game. It’s focused more on survival, and melee action as players engage within a shifting series of areas. Like with most titles of the genre this one pushes players inwards, but it does so by closing off large sections of the map. In this experience ten players will fight it out to be the last one standing.
You can also opt to play as a director, an extra god type player that will interact with everyone using various methods. It essentially allows you to become a spectator, and to sprinkle out neat elements into matches. Going back to being a regular player you’ll appear on the map in a random sector. The areas are mixed-up every match, and that creates a level of variation. You’ll need to explore various frozen huts to gather minimal supplies and then prepare to battle.
You’ll also be gathering resources such as wood from trees, or the game’s special fuel source called Darwinium. You use the former to craft things such as arrows for your bow, or a fire to keep you warm as freezing is an issue here. Finally the latter will allow you to produce two special abilities, or a series of smaller upgrades. This is a more stripped down version compared to what was in the game preview awhile back in terms of crafting, but it creates matches with a faster pace.
This looks fairly good, particularly on Xbox One X being enhanced with a 4k resolution. It has solid performance for the most part, and the gameplay is different from other titles of the genre. You really have to be unique to stand out, so this one is largely melee based. You might get assistance from your chosen sort of perk assistant robot, but it’s largely you swinging and hitting with say a shovel.
You might be able to setup traps as you collect special items to use, but largely it’s a game of swinging duels. It’s a sort of frantic experience, with some skill to how you fight others. It is however quite straight forward, and the matches are fast paced. You get a good sense of scale here, I find the radar within some houses to be interesting, and there are some layers of skill to understanding how certain mechanics work here.
The Darwin Project is an alright battle royale title, it does some unique things while having a fairly streamlined crafting system that feeds into minimal elements of survival. It’s largely melee based which does make this different, and it has moments that are fun.
The matches go by quickly, and it’s a more intimate battle with a player size that makes sense. This is just solos, so be prepared for that. This smaller setup with limited modes also makes this feel more minimal, and almost lacking in content.
It’ll be interesting to see if this style works for it, or if they’ll adjust the formula post-launch in different ways when it comes to the modes available. I think this works, but it doesn’t necessarily have a massive catch element that will entice players over. Will have to wait and see how it goes, definitely more streamlined than I had anticipated.
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Darwin Project Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by Evolve PR