Our preview post below was published on April 12.
In Darkpass, a 1-4 players dungeon crawler game, you have suddenly fallen into the sewer system of nineteenth-century Paris, and must now escape this putrid universe, battling terrible beasts along the way. It will launch on Kickstarter on April 13.
In the solo mode, you will first choose to play as one of the available characters: the Butcher, the Alchemist, the Tailor, and a few others. Each character comes with its own mini, a board featuring its stats values, and two decks of cards - the action cards and the defense cards. There are ten action cards, eight of which are for attacking, one for dashing/exploring (to move further and pick up items), and one for resting and recovering some health points. All cards also feature a number of movement points that you can freely spend before taking the action. The attack cards specify which foes can be a target, and how much damage is dealt. You can simultaneously attack all foes that are consistent with the targeting pattern of the weapon. If you have used all of your attack cards, you can pick them up and shuffle them to re-form your deck. You can also, once per scenario, re-shuffle the discard into the deck before it is depleted, for instance if you already used up the best cards.
The game is played through a succession of chambers (=scenarios) that get increasingly difficult to go through (from level 1 to level 5). A map book tells you which tiles to combine to form the current chamber you are trying to get across. The map features the locations of the various beasts that populate this chamber (rats, serpents, rabid pigeons, etc.), obstacles, item cards, and the location of the wrench that you must recover to open the valve that will allow you to exit the current chamber. However, all beasts must be slain before you can seize it! Besides the beasts, you can also get crushed by a giant rolling iron boulder, a device that was actually used to clean the sewers in the nineteenth century. If you run out of HP, you may reset the chamber and try again: all progression since the beginning of the campaign is not lost.
In the course of a scenario, you can hold as many items as you want, but can only carry over three of them from one chamber to the next. With each new level, you can replace two of the attack cards of your deck with better ones, to improve your character over the different chambers. By the end of the campaign, you should have been able to replace all of your Level 1 cards with cards from each higher level.
Beasts are characterized by their HP, melee attack bonus, range attack bonus, and defense bonus. They will only attack you if you come too close to them, and will relentlessly assault you afterwards. They also rely on a dual deck system (one for action and one for defense). All beasts share the same deck. Each time a beast attacks you, a card is drawn from your defense deck, that may negate all or part of the damage. The beast can similarly block your attacks with their own defense deck.
Each chamber has an air level, which serves as a time track. Before each round, you shuffle four tokens showing your character with two beast tokens, and lay them down on a track. You then pick up an air marker from the supply (there are initially as many of them as the air level of the chamber). Then, the air marker goes through all six tokens. If it’s one of yours, you take a turn by playing an action card. If it’s one of the beasts, all beasts will take a turn by taking an action card each, in a randomly decided initiative order. Once the air marker has gone through the track, the round is over, and the air marker is depleted. If you haven’t exited the chamber before all air markers are depleted, you lose the game and must start over the chamber again.