Day 491: Dark Delve

Posted: 2012/03/15 in Indie Games

“Dark Delve” is a turn-based, first-person, exploration-focused RPG for 80 Microsoft Points. For a lot of you, that’s an insta-buy. For the rest of you, here are my further thoughts.

The game has some sliding block and switch pulling puzzles in first-person mode as you explore the nicely rendered game. Well, when you’re exploring the castle in the game that is, when you’re in the town you navigate it on a static screen that will be familiar to those who played the classic “Sid Meier’s Pirates!” way back when on systems like the Amiga or Commodore 64.

When combat occurs, you switch to a 2D combat screen that’s extremely retro, in a way that some will find charming and others a bit cheesy. The rest of the game is quite polished, so this stands out by being less so, but even here little touches of animation work surprisingly well to mitigate that effect and, as I say, some will find it charming anyway. The battle system has depth, and the game is an inexpensive and ambitious offering making it a no-brainer for most RPG fans. This is the homage to “The Bard’s Tale” that I’ve been waiting for.

Here’s what the developer (Checkmark Games) has to say about the game:

“Sharpen your swords and study your spellbooks, great adventure awaits! Explore multiple dungeon maps, defeating foes to gain treasure and level up your characters. Many secrets and puzzles await to be discovered. Attempt to defeat several unique dungeon keepers in challenge mode, or create an unique party of up to 4 characters to solve a centuries old tragedy in the Campaign mode.”

  1. That Pirates! reference made my morning. I still play that game.

    I’ve been meaning to pick this up for a while. It seems right up my street.

    • I’ve bought Pirates! a few times now, first on the Amiga, then on the CD32, and finally on the Xbox 360. I also played the Commodore 64 version extensively, which was (I think) the absolute original version, and a technical marvel in its day.

      • David Loves Sandy says:

        I have been trying to avoid repurchasing Pirates! for a very long time now. I think the price is inflated at the moment even for a used copy of the original Xbox version it is just better to spend the 1200 pts they want for it for the d/l version. I just bought Civilization IV Gold for only $8 delivered and knowing I’m going to be spending many hours playing this game makes the price feel even more inflated. While playing Civ though I can’t help thinking how much fun Pirates! is too. Anything that Sid touched is great. They need to open up a Gaming Hall Of Fame and he would be part of the first group initiated into this hall.

      • David Loves Sandy says:

        OK…I just saw it was on sale back in November for half price. Must have missed that with the holidays around the corner. Wonder if it will go on sale again?

  2. David Loves Sandy says:

    I have been the proud owner of this game for several months now ever since it came out. There was even a recent update on January 10th of this year that added lots of extra content. I love this game. It brings me back to a time right after Zork when we went from text only games to having limited graphics. I love dungeon crawlers and this game delivers nicely for 80pts. I even enjoy the quirky artwork that the author did. And it does take some thinking to figure best way to utilize what is at your disposal on this game. I appreciate that in a game as opposed to those games that just let you go through the motions and finish.

    If you go to you can read the developers blogs regarding this game a he even has some hints about the games mechanics that may be of some help to those that are fortunate enough to add this game to their collections.

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