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Dark and Darker's dungeon is chock-full of traps, monsters and other players Ironmace


  • "Dark and Darker" is an online fantasy RPG with elements of battle royales and extraction shooters
  • The game is due to release in late 2023
  • More than 54,000 people played its third alpha test

A new game is taking Steam by storm this holiday season, and the best part about it is that it's not even completely out yet.

"Dark and Darker," which features a mish-mash of various popular genres, busted down PC gaming's doors and firmly placed itself as the 14th most-played game on Steam this week, peaking at 54,000 concurrent players since it went live on Dec. 17.

What's most interesting about this is that the version of "Dark and Darker" that's out right now is only a playtest. Somehow, an obscure first-person fantasy game topped the likes of "New World," "ARK Survival Evolved" and even "FIFA 23" in terms of player populations.

For those out of the loop, "Dark and Darker" is a hardcore FPS that mashes elements of dungeon crawlers, battle royales and extraction shooters together to create short, tense and claustrophobic PvPvE sessions with high risks and high rewards.

The game looks like a "Dungeons and Dragons" adventure at first glance, but the moment-to-moment gameplay says otherwise. Players get to choose between classic RPG character archetypes like fighters, mages, rogues and their various offshoots, and each match immediately spawns everyone in a lobby straight into a monster-filled dungeon.

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Dark and Darker features various types of loot like armor, weapons and trinkets Ironmace

The combat is slow and methodical, and while basic animations and bleeding skeletons can make some people scoff at the game's presentation, "Dark and Darker's" atmosphere and addicting gameplay loop are enough to reel players back into its musty halls.

Not everyone will like this game. The combination of high stakes, lethality, forced PvP and the dark and dreary setting may turn some people off, but the majority of the playerbase seems to be loving it.

Major gameplay systems like customizable skill trees are still not available in the playtest as of yet, but this didn't stop its community from dumping over 4 million hours into "Dark and Darker." The test was originally slated to end Friday, but developer Ironmace Games extended the period by three additional days.

There's still a long way to go before "Dark and Darker" sees an actual release. It's scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2023, though more tests might be on the horizon if the devs deem it necessary.

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Dark and Darker is set inside an ancient citadel filled with undead Ironmace