Walking through the convention floor, Max and I found ourselves at a large booth, simply titled “Mixer” with what appeared to be an eSports tournament-style competition setup. The game that was being played was called The Darwin Project, by the Canadian studio Scavengers. We waited in line and eventually made our way to our seats to compete in the tournament. The game is set up as a free-for-all deathmatch, where you scavenge for resources in order to craft armor, fires, and arrows. You’re armed with a bow and an axe and nothing else, and you fight each other to gain more resources and to survive. I came across another player soon after we loaded in, and the fight was extremely intense. My heart was pounding and my hands were shaky, but I won the fight and got “first blood” in the mini-tournament. Much to my dismay, when I looked to my right, I had been fighting Max.
The map is divided into seven hexagonal zones, and as the match goes on more and more of them will get marked as “forbidden”. Throughout the match you’ll start to get cold and have to build fires to warm up, and in forbidden zones you’ll get a lot colder a lot faster. Closing the zones forces the fight into a smaller and smaller section of the map, forcing a sudden death scenario at the very end. A zone can also get nuked, forcing players to flee for fear of instant death.
Eventually, we whittled our way from 8 or 9 players down to three of us, and resource management became very tough. One of the other players killed me from behind with out me seeing them, and the last two players were forced to fight in a shrinking section of the last remaining zone. Combat is extremely satisfying, even when only watching, as hits can send people flying and create visual flair. While arrows are hard to hit, it’s an amazing feeling when you hit one.
As an experience, Mixer integration added a lot to the game, allowing the game organizer to do various actions, like nuking a part of the map, or marking a player for death. These actions were put to a vote through Mixer to the viewers of the twitch stream, who voted on and decided how the flow of the game went. It was a very fun experience, and a very interesting and challenging game.