How to Play Dark and Darker – Beginner Tips and Tricks

Our Dark and Darker beginner's guide will show you how to make the most of your early dungeon runs.

Dark and Darker is a self-proclaimed unforgiving hardcore fantasy FPS dungeon adventure. You’ll dive into a dark dungeon in search of treasure, but you’ll need to be wary of the monsters and other adventurers who may or may not be hostile. It’s dangerous to go alone, so let us give you some pointers in our how to play Dark and Darker beginner tips and tricks guide!

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Before you delve into the dungeon, you’ll need to create a character. There are six playable classes in the game right now, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The game gives you a brief overview of what the classes do, but you won’t really get a feel for them unless you try them.

So, we recommend just going with whatever looks cool to you at the moment, so don’t think too hard about your first character. You can make a character of every class, so if you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep playing as them.

Now, you’re ready to hop into the dungeons! Remember, your first runs are probably going to end horribly and quickly, but don’t give up!

Beginner Tip #1: Stay Alert and Examine your Surroundings

The very first thing you’ll probably notice about the game is that it is DARK… and we mean DARK! They don’t call this game Light and Lighter, after all! The only thing lighting your way are the torches littered around the dungeon halls, and of course your own personal torches.

You can hold out a lit torch by pressing the 3 key, by default. Of course, this takes up one of your hands, so fighting will be kind of hard. You can throw a torch to temporarily light up the surrounding area by right-clicking. You start out with three torches, but you can pick up your thrown torches to recover them.

You can’t avoid what you can’t see, so lighting up dark areas is always a safe bet. Open those ears as well—most enemies and traps in the game have some sort of signature sound they make, so you can tell if danger is right around the corner.

There were spike traps waiting in the dark for us here.

This is doubly important for trying to detect enemy players. If a player is running or jumping around, they’ll make very audible noises. Try to pinpoint where the noises are coming from, and evade the players or confront them.

Lastly, there are lots of objects scattered throughout the dungeon, including boxes, barrels, jars, and more. More often than not, you can usually get enemies temporarily stuck on these objects, giving you an advantage in combat. You can also stand on them for a height advantage.

To summarize, being alert and taking in your surroundings can help you plan combat encounters and know what’s up ahead. Getting the jump on an enemy player is HUGE in this game, so stay vigilant!

Related | How to Extract in Dark and Darker – Guide

Beginner Tip #2: Get Used to the Weighty Combat System

Left-click will swing your primary equipped weapon, while right-click uses your secondary weapon, or shield. When you swing your weapons, note how your center reticle changes.

Sometimes it’ll change into a small box, and other times it’ll be a line with arrows in it. These are directional indicators of how your weapon moves during a swing. For example, a mace swing always starts with a downward slam, so the reticle will change to a vertical line that points down.

The reason the game shows you this is that you can actually aim your attacks. It may not seem like it at first, but there is actual precision hit detection in this game. Weapons must actually make contact with a body part in order for a hit to register.

Attacking an enemy’s head deals the most damage. Attacking limbs deals the least damage, and attacking the chest deals moderate damage. Aim for the head when you can.

Depending on your class and weapon, your swing animations will vary in speed. Get used to your weapon, as it’ll be the difference between life and death.

Although there is no stamina meter to manage, spamming your attacks willy-nilly is a surefire way to miss all your swings, which quickly results in death.

If you’re using a shield, you’ll need to block in the direction of the attack. This can be a bit tricky if you don’t know the swing animations yet, but it’s useful in a pinch.

If you’re playing as a Ranger, you have access to a bow that can snipe enemies from afar. You have unlimited arrows, but after six shots, you need to refill your quiver by pressing the R key by default. As always, aim for the head!

Related | How to Get Arrows in Dark and Darker – Guide

Beginner Tip #3: Bob and Weave Through Enemy Attacks

When it comes to dealing with monsters, most of the monsters using melee weapons can be easily dodged. Get really close to them, then immediately start backpedaling.

You’ll bait out a swing, but you’ll be far away enough to not get hit by it. Step back in and then land a couple of hits, then back out again. Repeat the process as necessary.

Dodging is usually the most effective way to avoid damage! Movement in general is the key to getting out of attacks—you can jump over horizontal swings, crouch under high swings, and so forth.

As mentioned before, shields are a bit tricky and shouldn’t be relied upon, but they can be helpful in emergencies.

This is a little more complex with enemy players, but the same principle applies. Watch their swing animations carefully, and be sure to dodge accordingly. Try to bait out some swings if you don’t know how they attack to study them.

Also keep in mind that you can sheathe your weapon away by pressing the X key by default. When your weapon is sheathed, your movement speed is increased, which can help you escape from a dangerous predicament. Don’t be afraid to retreat if it’s looking bad!

Beginner Tip #4: Keep an Eye on the Minimap

The safe playing zone will shrink over time due to the Death Swarm, which is marked by the red area on the minimap. The safe zone is highlighted with the white circle, so make sure you’re heading towards it.

It can be very easy to get lost in moment-to-moment encounters with monsters or enemy players, so always glance over at the minimap to make sure you’re on track.

If you’re caught out in the Death Swarm, you’ll take damage over time until you’re dead. If you’re stuck in a particularly dense room with enemies still around, it’s pretty much a death sentence.

Beginner Tip #5: Grab the Loot and Escape

Slain monsters and enemy players can be looted. Monsters will have a random assortment of gear and treasure, while enemy players usually have lots of stuff on them. Make sure to clear the room before you stop to loot!

In addition to treasure, you’ll also find supplies and consumables, like bandages and potions. If you’re wounded, find a safe place and use a bandage to heal some health. Bandages take a LONG time to use, so make sure you’re secure before doing it.

Gold and treasures can’t be used in the dungeon, but if you manage to escape, you can sell them to merchants to earn lots of gold. So, how does one exactly escape?

Well, towards the end of the match, which is roughly about ten minutes in, the safe zone will shrink to a small area. At this time, Escape Portals start spawning in the safe zone, and they look like little blue pillars.

Interact with one to start the summoning process, which takes quite a while. Be careful of hiding players who are waiting to ambush you! Once the summoning is done, a blue Escape Portal will appear. Enter it to finish your run and claim all your precious loot.

The Escape Portal will stay open until someone enters it, so you can wait around and look for more treasure if you want. This is incredibly risky though, as enemy players can steal it, and you’ll have to look for another one.

It’s usually better to be safe than sorry and enter an Escape Portal as soon as it opens. If you die in the dungeon, you’ll lose any treasure you had on you, plus any equipment that isn’t a part of your class’ starting equipment.

Related | How to Escape in Dark and Darker – Guide

Beginner Tip #6: Tinker with your Class Perks

Whether you managed to escape from the dungeon with your loot intact, your character gains experience upon match completion. As you level up, you’ll unlock additional perk slots for your character.

Perks grant your character additional passive abilities that you can utilize during a match. You start with one perk slot, and unlock additional slots at levels 5, 10, and 15.

Each class typically has a pool of around eight perks, and since you only have four slots, you’ll have to pick and choose how you want to build your character. Try them all out and see which ones you like the most.

In addition to perks, characters also have active skills that can turn the tide of battle. You have two skill slots, and they’re unlocked immediately. Classes generally only have around four skills, so they’re similar to the perks.

For classes that can use magic, you can also use spells. First, you must equip a Spell Memory skill in one of your skill slots in order to equip spells. Secondly, each spell has a memory cost. You can exceed your Spell Memory cap, but this reduces your spell casting speed.

However, if you equip Spell Memory to both of your skill slots, you can equip a second set of spells. Your spell casting speed will probably be slow, but it’s an option.

Related | How to use Pickpocket Perk in Dark and Darker – Guide

Beginner Tip #7: Never give up!

And with that, you’ve learned pretty much the basics of Dark and Darker. We have to reiterate that this game is very challenging, and you WILL die many times.

But don’t be discouraged—dying is a part of the process! Hopefully, with each death, you gain a little more knowledge and nuance about how the game mechanics work. You’ll do better next time!

After you’ve sold your first batch of treasure, you can buy better equipment and supplies to start your next run strong. Just be careful, as the rules still apply—dying will cause you to lose everything!

It can be extremely demoralizing when this happens, but don’t sweat it, it happens to all of us. Take a break if you need to, then jump back in when you’re feeling it!

If you want to practice or try some new strategies out, we recommend not bringing anything with you. Stash your most precious gear and treasure, so that you can go into the dungeon without having to worry about losing stuff.

That concludes our how to play Dark and Darker beginner tips and tricks guide. Have any other important tips that we should know? Let us know in the comments below!

Image of Jeremy Kanjanapangka
Jeremy Kanjanapangka
Jeremy is a Content Writer for Touch, Tap, Play, and has been writing in the games journalism industry for almost a decade now. With a degree in English and a passion for games, he loves to talk and write about all kinds of games. While you can find him covering the latest and greatest games, there is a special place in his heart for RPGs, action-adventure games, fighting games, and anything Nintendo related.

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How to Play Dark and Darker – Beginner Tips and Tricks

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