Best Indie Games of 2017 – #8: The Long Dark

Atmospheric solo survival The Long Dark takes eighth place.

The Long Dark is perhaps the most real, brutal survival game.  You won’t find any zombies, monsters or any kind of supernatural foe here.  Instead, your enemy is the awful power of nature itself.  You’ll have to overcome the cold, wind, wolves, bears, hunger and more if you plan to survive.

There are three ways to play The Long Dark.  Firstly, the story mode.  It’s told as an episodic story, with two episodes currently available, out of five planned for future release.  Episode one leaves you stranded in the North Canadian wilderness, separated from your partner after a plane crash.  From the moment the game kicks off, it pulls you into the atmospheric frozen world, and as soon as I completed the first chapter, I was craving the second.  The next episode continues where the first left off, introducing a mysterious new character, who may or may not be advantageous to your survival.

Both chapters combined will give you about 15 hours gameplay, so, while you’re waiting for the next episodes to be released, you’ve got survival mode to keep you busy.  This is how The Long Dark was first released as early access, and has been in development for several years.  You’ll have but one life, so the decisions you make, and resources that you manage to gather are vital in this mode.  The amount of content in this mode is insane.  You’re dropped into a 50 kilometre square area, again in the Northern Canadian wilderness.  The time and weather conditions vary, as do the threats that you’ll encounter.

The Long Dark

Finally, there’s challenge mode, where you’ll be set an objective to complete, usually involving surviving a particularly nasty threat, perhaps a bear – as seen above.  Challenges provide a quicker experience, a couple of hours normally.  If you’re struggling with survival mode these objectives can not only give you vital target practice or resource hunting know how, but also unlock various benefits for survival mode.

It’s vital to hunt for supplies to keep you alive, such as weaponry, warm clothing and tools.  Every action you take consumes calories, so fishing, hunting and finding a water source should be your main concerns.  The developers, Hinterland Studio Inc. have truly thought of everything here.  If you fancy yourself as a digital Bear Grills, there are four difficulty levels, with the toughest difficulty almost ensuring you won’t last a week.

You can pick up The Long Dark for Steam, currently with 75% off at £6.74/$9 (usually £26.99/$36 – a massive amount of game for the price of a pint and a packet of crisps.  This also includes the three episodes of story mode planned for the future.  Console players can also test their mettle, currently priced at £17.99/$24 on the PlayStation store, or on the Xbox Store for £29.99/$34.99.

Stay with us at the Indie Game Website to find out which game we thought was good enough to be number seven tomorrow.  If you’re desperate for the punishment of survival games, check out our 9th best game of 2017, Oxygen Not Included.  We think you’ll like it.