Darkest Dungeon: The Color of Madness

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Darkest Dungeon: The Color of Madness Game Poster Image
Mature alien tale has gory visuals in alternate dimension.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The objective is to save a village from an alien menace that threatens to destroy it and the rest of the world.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heroes can be both noble and profane in their words and actions. Saving the town is positive, but their methods to restore their sanity can be morally questionable.

Ease of Play

Success depends on strategy, forethought, and the right amount of risk-taking. Even with planning, gameplay can be challenging and difficult as you explore dungeons and environments.

Violence

Constant cartoon violence with blood and gore; images of mental distress/breakdown. Players use swords, guns, and other weapons against other human creatures and monsters. Heroes and monsters are shown stabbed, burned by acid or fire, and dismembered.

Sex

Heroes can de-stress after a dungeon run by going to a brothel. Some female monsters wear revealing outfits. 

Language

Occasional instances of "hell" and "damned" in dialogue.

Consumerism

Latest expansion to very popular strategy role-playing game Darkest Dungeon.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Heroes de-stress after quests by visiting a tavern to drink. They also use drugs to heal and power up.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Darkest Dungeon: The Color of Madness is a downloadable add-on to the popular fantasy role-playing game, Darkest Dungeon. The focus of the game is near-constant combat, complete with blood and gore, and players are rewarded during gauntlet-style fights for the number of kills they rack up. Heroes and monsters are shown being stabbed, shot, dismembered, and burned with fire and acid. In addition to physical trauma, heroes suffer mental trauma and are shown having mental break-downs and dying from stress-related heart attacks. Heroes are shown visiting taverns and brothels and using alcohol and drugs. Some female monsters wear revealing outfits, and dialog contains the occasional instance of “damned” or “hell.”

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What's it about?

DARKEST DUNGEON: THE COLOR OF MADNESS is an alien-themed add-on pack to Darkest Dungeon that revolves around driving an alien entity from a mill on the outskirts of the player's ancestral village. Players take on a new faction and three new bosses, fighting wave after wave of enemies and earning Comet Shards. This new form of currency can be used to buy powerful new battle trinkets and new blueprints to expand their village's districts. New musical themes set the mood at a new location known as The Farmstead, while useful new curios help players wage war against comet-spawned monsters across time and space.

Is it any good?

The talented team at Red Hook Studios does it again by having a Lovecraftian entity invade its first-rate dungeon-crawler. Building upon stellar role-playing game mechanics, Darkest Dungeon: The Color of Madness challenges you to fight in another dimension, beyond the dusky forests and shadowy crypts. Removing the exploration aspect of the original, The Color of Madness focuses exclusively on combat. The action's nonstop as you fight through multiple waves of eerie enemies, earning brief rest breaks only by filling kill meters. Three gauntlet levels (novice, veteran, and endless) provide plenty of opportunity for earning Comet Shards which can be traded for a wide range of cool battle trinkets. Gather enough Shards, and you can also buy blueprints to build four new structures that offer your heroes various health benefits.

Alien combat has other advantages as well: for instance, surviving a fight with The Thing From the Stars grants heroes useful power-ups (called “Quirks) they can't get any other way. New lighting effects and music are a welcome departure from the look and sound of the original game, and having access to new high-level heroes almost right off the bat is a definite thrill. While its bloody imagery and themes of madness and moral dissolution are definitely not for younger kids, it's well worth the five dollar asking price for older gamers. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Darkest Dungeon: The Color of Madness reduced because you're fighting against alien creatures and monsters? Does the impact seem more intense because of the focus on combat?

  • How does Darkest Dungeon represents mental health, stress, and mental illness? Is it accurate? 

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