The game to beat

“Darkest Dungeon” (Red Hook) is the one to beat for game of the year. Players assume the role of a young noble called on to inherit the estate of a relative. When you arrive at your ancestral home, you find it totally infested with horrific creatures. You then throw wave after wave of delightful but tragically disposable heroes at the marauding hordes until your home is restored. The combat and gameplay are as old as gaming itself — turn-based strategy in a fantasy setting. But the dazzling “Darkest Dungeon” wows players by making subtle but immensely satisfying tweaks. For example, rather than pushing tired old warrior, thief and mage character classes around, “Darkest Dungeon” created new ones. Don’t let the “Early Access” tag scare you. It is a full game with working features, even if its developers are still tinkering with it.

Rory Appleton, Fresno Bee