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The marvellously malicious Darkest Dungeon gets a release date

A lovely little game of stress and disease and death.

What do Tapeworm, Dacnomania and The Red Plague all have in common? That's right: Darkest Dungeon! The illustrated, side-on, turn-based role-playing game that's steeped in filth, disease, death and all things grim and grimy. It's wonderful. And it now has a full, out-of-Early-Access release date: 19th January 2016.

That release date is a little later than initially intended - October to coincide neatly with Halloween - but a personal tragedy struck a member of the small Red Hook team and development had to slow down. Sorry to hear it, Red Hook - sending best wishes to all affected.

This is Tinel, one of my tanky types, who is bulimic and has The Red Plague.

Between now and January there will be a patch introducing a fabulous-sounding new playable hero called The Abomination, "[a] bloodthirsty class unlike anything currently in the game". There will also be two new monsters designed by backers of the game on Kickstarter, plus other "goodies" and bug fixes.

Darkest Dungeon is, well, dark. In it you're tasked with restoring an old manor to former glory by ridding it of the evil below, but it ain't easy, and your heroes will die - and stay dead forever. Either they're killed outright on a mission or they suffer too much stress, have a heart attack and immediately die.

There's a stress maximum of 200, and you can reach it easy-peasy as everything you do inflicts stress - even walking. Your own characters can go mad under pressure and suffer afflictions, too, and turn on their own team, hurling abuse, causing yet more stress. Then there are diseases, negative quirks... Darkest Dungeon soon becomes a game of balancing a hero roster based upon who's still standing and can survive an entire mission.

It's charmingly, grotesquely and viciously unique. Richard Cobbett fleshed out his thoughts on Darkest Dungeon when it hit Early Access (in remarkably polished form) in February this year.

Incidentally, Red Hook is interested in consoles and mobile platforms (including Vita), but the PC/Mac release comes first.

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