Darkwood Forest, by C3rb3rus offers an atmospheric and interactive environment which offers a touch of elven-like fantasy and a little whimsy.
As the name might suggest, the setting is a forest, perhaps caught in the dimming light of twilight as the light angles down through the branches of huge trees surrounding a body of dark water. Beyond the ring of trees sits a rugged, denuded landscape, almost lunar in its appearance, which offers an otherworldly feeling to the setting.
A wooden board walk runs around the water, winding under the roots of the trees and along the shoreline. Ornate lanterns illuminate this path, with giant mushrooms, the undersides of their cups glowing softly, adding a little more colour to the scene. The lanterns tend to put one in mind of elven lamps, although the boats – one of which gently tracks its way in a never-ending loop around the water – are perhaps more sampan in style and have tyres as fenders, again revealing this is not necessarily a purely fantasy realm.
Similarly, while the huge trees might be mistaken for Mallorn right out of Tolkien, with their platforms and wooden walkways running around and between the great trunks, a closer look reveals the platforms aren’t typical elven structures. Electric-like lights are strung around some, all have corrugated tin roofs, and one is emblazoned with a sign: BAR. So if these are the property of elves, then they are a most unusual bunch.
Follow the board walk and you’ll sooner or later come to a wooden elevator gently rising and falling between the board walk and the platforms above. The ride, when you step into it, is extremely smooth, and once on the platforms, you can walk to where steps wind further up the trunk of a tree to one of the buildings.
“You can’t enter the building yet.” C3rb3rus told me. “Eventually they will be, but I have some other things to do first.” Instead, follow the suspended walkway in the other direction from the elevator and you can catch a ride aboard the airship which gently circles through the trees. A simple dirigible with a boat-like gondola slung beneath it, this also has a fantasy feel to it. Boarding it is simply a matter of stepping onto the deck as it comes to a brief halt alongside the platform.
The ride, like that of the elevator, is very smooth and offers an excellent view of the landscape below. There is a brief stop before the airship returns to the tree platform, but getting off there isn’t recommended. As you do look down from the airship, you might spot a track cutting its way through the landscape just beyond the ring of trees. Starting near the spawn point, the path leads – by way of a water crossing – to another little touch of fantasy.
Darkwood Forest is a beautifully defined setting, restful, a little haunting in style – but not in a bad way – and richly atmospheric. The airship, the boat (which can be boarded via
SHIFT-click teleport) and elevator are all very smoothly done, and the vertical nature of the setting, with the tree platforms and buildings, make it something of a unique setting.