When I first saw the gameplay for Darksburg at PAX East, I thought there was some mistake with the number of controllers and people using them. However, I was assured that the game is in fact not a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, but rather a four-player co-op game in the style of one.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of MOBAs, but perhaps Darksburg is a gateway drug for them. Or, just a fun co-op game that MOBA and non-MOBA fans can bond over. I hope it’s the latter, as I hear they can be addicting, but hey, you do you.
In the game, each player takes on the role of a survivor in a medieval fantasy town plagued by a bad case of the hordes of undead. I chose to play as a cross-wielding nun, because it’s not every day you get to see a habit-wearing Sister smash a zombie in the face. There was also a tank-like warrior, a speedy archer, and a hulking werewolf. I almost chose the werewolf, who looked like an absolute beast (heyo!) in the hands of the player who went before me, but the nun won out.
Speaking with the team, I found out that Darksburg each character has their own attributes in addition to abilities they share, and that these were designed to promote co-op play. For example, there isn’t a set healer character, but rather any character can get healed once by another player (or twice if they have a special item, more on that later).
There’s no story mode for the game, rather each campaign takes place in a separate map that provides lore on the town and its unfortunate inhabitants. The time to complete each map varies, but I was told that generally, people took around 15 minutes on average.
The Mastery System acts as a skill tree for characters, awarding points in order to customize characters for different playstyles. For example, players can make their characters more powerful when they’re low on health. These talents are unique to each character and can work in tandem with each other. They can also work as combos with trinkets, which have affects such as being able to repel zombies. Additionally, items can be found in maps, such as the aforementioned healing salve, which I was told is quite rare. Sadly I did not find one in my playthrough, and my nun went to meet the lord.
Developed by Shiro Games, Darksburg will go into early access on Steam in September of this year. The team plans to develop it there further before potentially porting it to consoles if possible.