We’re a bit late with this, but this week someone decided to remake Darkstone. Its name may ring a faint bell with some as a Diablo-clone that dropped on the original Playstation over 10 years ago. It’s now a free-to-play roleplaying game (RPG) on both iOS and Android.
Fun fact about Darkstone: Its original PC release actually predates Diablo II, which is usually given as the standard for the isometric hack and slash genre, not its progenitor that released in 1997. On PsOne, where Darkstone release in 2001, it was oft pointed out as a vapid clone riding on the success of Diablo II. It’s actually just taking a good portion of inspiration from the first and putting its own touches with free camera angles, party system and more.
Weirdly enough, developer Anuman decided to port Darkstone pretty much as is for its mobile release, except with some forced monetization for resurrections and the likes. It wouldn’t have hurt to let go some of the dreadfully generic textures or extremely angular models. It sort of looks like the original Dungeon Siege, but even more somber, if you need some reference. That also released later on, in 2002. It’s like a history lesson up in here.
Still, once you get over its quirks, Darkstone still has that timeless dungeon-diving appeal that makes you lose tons of time on pointless quests. Path finding is rather random and sound effects may be grating after a while, but that’s why you have the mobile platform to pick up and play whenever you’d like.
We played around for an hour or two and we didn’t feel impeded in our progress by some time-halting design, if you forget it cuts off gameplay to rate the thing once and throws in random ads. In return, you get to enjoy a lengthy real-time game with tons of loot, spells, upgrades; the whole shebang.
It’s free, so no reason not to try to relive some nostalgia. You can find Darkstone here.