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Arena Axe Murder Simulator Darwin Project Finally Gets Release Date, Also Coming to PS4

Okay, it’s not really an axe murder simulator. But stick around, because Darwin Project is worth check out. Created by Scavenger Studio, Darwin Project is a battle royale game with a twist. No no, don’t click away! I mean it! I know that battle royale now feels like the Harlem Shake of genres. But Darwin Project is actually really interesting. It sets itself apart by having audience participation, which lets Twitch viewers vote to… wait no please come back!

So yeah, on paper, Darwin Project sounds like a game generated from an algorithm designed to generate clicks in 2016. I’ll be honest, I am very much over the battle royale genre. It can join open-world crafting survival and “WoW killer” in the list of descriptors that make my eyes glaze over. But Darwin Project is legitimately different. Here’s the basics. Darwin Project is on the surface similar to many other battle royale games. You and nine other players drop into a large open arena. Armed with nothing but your axe and bow, you must both scavenge and harvest to try and upgrade your gear. The goal is to be the last person standing. Meanwhile, an 11th player will take the role of Show Director. The director’s job is to make the game fun to watch.

While it sounds like a gimmick, Darwin Project‘s Show Director adds a genuinely interesting element to the otherwise predictable genre. If players aren’t fighting enough, the Director can force people into conflicts. If a certain player is dominating the competition, the Director can reveal their position to even the odds. Since the show director has no stake in who wins, it adds an extra layer to the PvP that isn’t directly confrontational. Do you do fun stuff to try to draw the attention of the Director in an attempt to enlist their aid, or do you try and fade into the background and avoid their baleful gaze? Besides, we all know that anyone with a TTV next to their username is just doing wacky shit to try and drum up more subscribers. So why not just go ahead and make that a character in your game?

To me, the real thing that makes Darwin Project stand out is the combat. Your basic loadout is your axe and your bow. The bow is relatively fast and accurate… for a bow. You can craft new gear to augment your playstyle, such as making your faster or more durable. In addition, you’ll be able to craft traps that can damage or disable your opponents. You’ll also be able to collect powerful gear such as glider wings or auto-turrets that can give you a big situational advantage. And that’s it. You can craft new arrows for your bow, but there’s no heavy machine gun or .50 cal sniper rifle to collect. If you want to dominate the battlefield, you have to actually get good. The combat is fast, frantic, and floaty, meaning it’ll take time to learn how to connect your swings and land your shots. If you want to win, you’ll need to be able to launch someone and followup with a quick arrow to the face before they land. You can also swat arrows away with your axe, which is dope. It’s the epitome of easy to learn, hard to master.

Darwin Project has been in Early Access for quite some time, but is finally launching into full release January 2020. This launch will also see the game landing on the PS4. The launch update includes a new class system, some new gear, and an updated item shop. If you’re on the PC, you can check out the game’s Steam Store page here. Oh, did I mention it’s also free to play? So check it out, and if you love Darwin Project buy a couple hats or something. Scavenger Studio has got to eat, you know.