A Dark Room Walkthrough
Inspired by Candy Box, A Dark Room is a simple text-based game that quickly balloons into something far more complex. Your rush to survive a cold night evolves into building a community, exploring a blasted landscape, and, in the end, fleeing to a better place. This walkthrough will help you get through each step of the game; you can give it a try here.
The Dark Room
First steps. You can quickly turn the Dark Room into a lit one by lighting and stoking the fire. Keep doing this until a stranger staggers into the room. Persist until she's warmed. Eventually you'll unlock a new area: a Silent Forest. You're just getting started.
Starting Your Village
Yes, now it's time to build a village. To do this, you must accumulate resources, starting with the absolute minimum of Wood and working your way up from there. This will require some waiting. For now, keep collecting Wood until you have enough for a Cart. A Cart will allow you to collect more Wood whenever you Gather.
Keep collecting wood and you'll soon have enough to build a Hut. Do so and your builder will assure you that it will quickly be filled with villagers. She's telling the truth, as workers will move in within a minute or two. Thus begins your little village.
Although Traps are another viable concern, and the first thing you can build, you should focus on building Huts. Huts get progressively more expensive as you buy more, but each one will raise your village's population. The more villagers you have, the more people will be collecting wood every ten seconds. Build Huts up to the maximum of 80 population and your village will be ready for greater feats of production. If Huts aren't an option for building yet, simply wait until you have more Wood.
Building Your Village
Much of this portion of A Dark Room is a waiting game. You need to accumulate resources and build structures as they become available.
- Traps. Mentioned earlier, Traps are useful for gathering Meat, Teeth, Fur, Cloth, and Scales. The more Traps you have, the more of each item you'll get. Scales are particularly scarce, so you'll want to max out your Traps—which can be difficult, as creatures from the woods will periodically tromp in and destroy a random amount. Be prepared to rebuild your Traps often. Trap efficiency improves if they're Baited.
- Trading Post. Once you collect at least one Fur from a Trap, you'll unlock the Trading Post. The Trading Post allows you to purchase other resources and unique items. It's usually better to find these items on your own, but in some cases (namely the Compass) you don't have much choice in the matter.
- Tannery. Collecting a single Fur also unlocks the Tannery. Constructing one allows you to reallocate Gatherers to Tanners. Tanners use up the Fur you collect from Traps and turn it into Leather at a ratio of 5:1. This will eat up Fur quickly, but you need Leather to proceed. Not much choice.
- Lodge. Collecting Meat from a Trap will unlock the Lodge. Lodges allow you to reassign Gatherers as Hunters and Trappers. Hunters gather Meat and Fur, which are really handy early on; Trappers change Meat to Bait, which will make your Traps more effective.
- Smokehouse. Collecting meat from a Trap will also unlock the Smokehouse. The Smokehouse will allow you to appoint Charcuitiers, who will turn Wood and Meat into Cured Meat. Cured Meat isn't useful now, but later it will allow you to go on adventures and not starve.
- Workshop. Once you have some Leather from a Tanner, you can build a Workshop. Workshops allow you to construct various items, most of which are useful while you're adventuring. The range of items you can make and build expands as you collect new resources.
While you're building, you'll likely get hit by periodic problems. Things like to steal into your room at night, and if you don't bother to check, they'll filch your wood (and they may manage to take some even if you do check). You may also find your Traps smashed by wild animals, and if you're particularly unlucky, your villagers will be attacked and killed by wild beasts. These are temporary setbacks, but you'll have to deal with them.
With the bad comes the good, and periodically you'll receive visitors to your village. They have a variety of requests, most of which will benefit your village in some way.
Now's a good time to start piling up a lot of Fur and Leather. You'll need both for the next part of the game: A Dusty Path.
A Dusty Path
Once you have enough resources (400 Furs, 20 Scales, and 10 Teeth, or less if you encounter a Nomad), you can buy a Compass. The Compass unlocks a Dusty Path, which encompasses the rest of the world outside your tiny village. It's out here that you'll fight enemies, scavenge for items, and discover just how messed up things have become.
The world beyond the village is treacherous. You'll want the following before you head out, which means gathering a lot of Fur, Leather, Cloth, and Wood:
- Four or five Torches
- Nine or ten Cured Meats
- The Waterskin
- A Bone Spear
- A Rucksack
- L Armour
Leaving town without these items is possible, but inadvisable. If you don't die of starvation or a lack of water, you'll be killed by the beasts and scavengers in the Path's wastelands.
Embarking on a Dusty Path takes you onto a world map. You can explore this map at your leisure, but there are a few things to bear in mind while you look around.
Each time you take a step, you'll use up one Water. Each time you take two steps, you'll use up one Cured Meat. Keep a close eye on these numbers! If either one runs out, you'll 'die' and be kicked back to the village.
You'll randomly run into antagonists as you wander. The further you go from the village, the tougher they get. If you lose a fight, you'll be kicked back to the village.
If for whatever reason you don't return to the village under your own power, you'll lose everything you were carrying. This includes items you picked up and items you started with, notably whatever weapons you had. Permanent items (armour, Rucksack, Waterskin, etc.) will not be lost.
As you explore, you'll uncover more of the map. Return to the village successfully and these areas will remain uncovered for subsequent journeys. Die, however, and the portions you explored will be filled in again.
During combat, Cured Meat can be used to restore 10 HP. Be careful not to rely on Cured Meat too much, as you'll still need it to survive wandering.
You can use multiple weapons in combat. For example, if you had a Bone Spear and an Iron Sword in your inventory, both would show up during a fight, and you could use one while the other cooled down. In this way, your character can constantly be attacking.
Your first goal should be to find an iron mine, denoted on the map as an I. Clear out houses (H) and other caves (V) until you come across an I. Though filled with semi-difficult beasts, a cleared iron mine will allow you to make your workers into Iron Miners. Iron can be used to create a slew of new items at the Workshop. You'll want these items for expanded exploration:
- I Armour
- Iron Sword
With these items, as well as more Cured Meat (in the 20s), you'll be better suited to exploring the edges of the wilderness. Keep on the lookout for a coal mine (C). Similar to the iron mine, coal mines can be cleared out, allowing you to recruit Coal Miners.
Back in the Village
With Iron and Coal discovered (and presumably unlocked, if you liberated both types of mines), you can create some new buildings and open other new options. The big one now is the Steelworks, which allows you to assign Steelworkers. Steel, which you may have found in small quantities in caves, allows you to build a slew of new equipment for adventuring:
- Water Tank
- S Armour
- Steel Sword
Steel Swords will occasionally pop up while adventuring. The rest you should buy before setting out on your next adventure; they'll allow you to go a lot further and repel much stronger opponents. Keep a Bone Spear, an Iron Sword, and a Steel Sword on you as you explore so you can dish out a ton of damage in short order.
With better items, you can now move beyond the meagre borders of the village and search new areas in a Dusty Path. You're strong enough now to leave the trees and explore the wastelands, though be wary of gun-toters. Bolas, which you've probably found while exploring towns, are fantastically useful against advanced enemies. So too are the Rifles they drop. Don't attempt to explore the edges of the map unless you have roughly 40 Cured Meats and a ready supply of Outposts that can restore your water.
Your main concern now should be to discover the sulphur mine on the map, which won't be that far from your village. Be warned: It's guarded by some potent soldiers who can wipe you out if you're not careful. If you're having trouble getting past them, wait until you've gained all of the Perks from visiting Masters before you run into battle. Once you have Sulphur in plentiful supply, build an Armoury. This will unlock Armourers, allowing you to churn out Bullets much more quickly than if you bought them from the Trading Post.
An Old Starship
As you're wandering the map, you will eventually come across a W. This is the landing spot of an Old Starship, which you ultimately have to fix up. Its hull needs work and its engines need upgrading; both require Alien Alloy. As you've probably discovered, Alien Alloy is quite rare, but ultimately worth it.
A Dark Room's final challenge hinges upon worthy engines and a strong hull. Add a point to Engines and your ship's responsiveness will improve. Add a point to Hull and you'll be allowed another hit. Another hit in what sense, you ask? Simple enough: You're headed into space.
Once you take off, you'll wind up in a fast-paced space sequence, soaring through what appears to be an asteroid belt. You need to dodge, weave, and blast through increasing numbers of space rocks. How much time you spend pumping points into Engines and Hull is up to you, but at least five points in each are recommended, if not more. It costs a lot to purchase Alien Alloy, so if you do come across any in the field, make bringing it back to your village a priority.
Weave through the asteroids successfully and you'll complete the game… and loop back to the beginning. No rest for the weary.