How to play the new game that's taking Twitch by storm.
Our Darwin Project guide explains how the game’s Inmate and Director roles work, with tips, tricks and strategy advice to help you win more games.
The Darwin Project is the latest game to explode into life on Twitch, and we’re delighted to say that it’s a genuinely refreshing take on the Battle Royale genre that has started to feel just a little bit stale in recent months. The game hit Early Access on Steam just over a week ago, and it’s clearly ticking all the right boxes for competitive gamers, as the numbers online are huge right now.
The setting is a rather bleak dystopian landscape located in the Canadian Rockies. A new Ice Age is coming, and in a mixture of part-entertainment and part-science, a group of players are invited to survive the brutal climate and fight each to the death. Rather than the usual ensemble of 100 or so players you might be expecting though, the Darwin Project sees just ten players getting stuck into one another.
Even better, once you’ve got bored of playing the game as one of the programme’s hardy participants, you can even take on the role of Game Director and influence the playable zone in any number of devious ways.
In our guide to the Darwin Project, we’ve got a complete overview of how the game works and we’ll be adding to the information contained within it continuously over time. After that we’ve highlighted some really useful videos and provided some tips and tricks that we think should give you an advantage as a new player.
We’ll have many more updates for you in the coming days, but here’s what you need to know right now:
Use the following links to quickly navigate to the section of the guide you’re most interested in right now!
1. Innmates – The role of the core participants in The Darwin Project.
2. Show Director – Your role and responsibilites as the game’s Director.
3. Crafting Wheel – Tips for choosing crafts and setting up your wheel.
4. Map – How the playable zone is managed in The Darwin Project.
5. Equipment – The most important items you’ll need to be able to cook up quickly.
6. Armour – How this defensive item works and why it’s so important!
7. Weapons – How to use your weapons to take down the other Inmates.
8. Stamina and Warmth – Don’t succumb to the limitations of these vital stats.
9. Tips and Tricks – How to get ahead of the pack.
There are ten Inmates competing for – ahem – glory in The Darwin Project and they enter the playable area armed only with a Bow, an Arrow and an Axe. There are various customisation options if you want to tweak your character a little bit.
The role of the Inmate is to lay traps and take out their fellow competitors until only one Inmate is left standing at the end of any given match. Inmates achieve this by tracking the footprints of their prey – and minimising their own trails too.
The second role in The Darwin Project is that of Show Director. While in this role, the Director’s job is to steer the game in such a way that maximum enjoyment is provided for those watching the game (ie Twitch viewers).
This comes in the form of special powers, which can be used to affect gameplay. Powers include – but are not limited to – closing down zones on the map, dropping nukes, targeting specific players, or unleashing gravity storms.
The Director gains the use of these devastating skills by picking up Ability Points throughout the match.
As a Director, it’s important to play into the role as best you can, and always remember that you’re entertaining the audience as much as yourself. Give that struggling player an extra advantage, for example, and punish those people who aren’t playing nicely.
The Crafting Wheel is an important element of the game, and you can set it up in advance. The Wheel affects which items you can actually make use of in battle, so take time to set things up exactly as you want them, and don’t just leave it to the pre-game lobby either – you can actually tweak the settings in the main menu where you’re totally free from time pressure.
Community wisdom suggests that Smoke Bombs are excellent for evading other players and so are a popular choice. Be aware though that if you take in any of the non-standard arrows, you won’t start off with the usual bunch of five basic ones – you’ll have to find crafting materials and get them made straight away.
It’s really important that you manage your Powers well too. Popular choices in this regard involve the Energy Shield, Radar and Teleporter, but note that although these are permanent advantages once crafted, you’ll have to locate Electronics drops to make them in the first place. These are highly desirable in-game drops and you’ll not be alone in attempting to secure this advantage.
A quick note on choosing your crafting spots. It’s not only a time-consuming process (leaving you exposed), but crafting also leaves behind tell-tale signs of your activity. These remnants allow other players to track you easily, so try to duck into a location a little off the beaten track when it comes to choosing your crafting spot.
Players start off in a location known as The Lobby. This is the kind of waiting area you’ll be familiar with from other Battle Royale games, and while you’re in this zone you have all the ammo you could possibly want to throw at the other players (it doesn’t do damage, sadly, but it’s still good fun!)
Once the game itself begins, players move into a new area called The Arena, and this is where all of the action actually plays out. The Arena consists of seven separate zones, and these are slowly restricted over time to ensure players are pushed towards one another in an increasingly restricted playable space.
Note that the Director retains some power to lock these zones down beyond the natural reduction in size that occurs over time.
Inmates are capable of crafting a number of different items in The Darwin Project. Here’s a list of some of the most important items that are available, and we’ll be expanding on this section considerably over the next couple of days:
- Bear Trap. Cost: 1 Wood. Immoblised and traps any player who runs over it. Lasts 6 seconds. Damage: 150
- Smoke Bomb. Cost: 1 Wood / 1 Leather. Releases smoke in the area you are in, hides your tracks and cancels any current tracking on you. Lasts for 12 seconds.
- Cage Trap. Cost: 1 Wood. Traps any player who runs over it. Lasts 20 seconds.
- Trip Wire. Cost: 1 Wood + 1 Leather. Any players who walks over it is revealed to all other players in the match. Lasts 30 seconds.
- Rigged Chest. Cost: 1 Leather. Reveals and damages players who attempt to open it. Lasts 60 seconds. Damage: 150
- Snowball. Cost: N/A. Can be used to extinguish fires or make enemies colder. Reduces affected players heat by 20%.
- Fire. Cost: 1 Wood. This stuff is absolutely vital for staying alive and increases the warmth of all players who are within its vicinity. Note, however, that this gives away your presence quite clearly, and therefore can be used for tracking purposes.
Armour is really important in this game, but you’ll need three Leather and Wood to get it crafted when you arrive in the arena. Make it your priority to harvest these items when you show up, as this piece of protective gear will save you from a solid whack.
Once you’ve got this item, don’t assume that you’re safe, get cocky and think you’re protected forever. Keep harvesting materials and ensure that you always have the means to make another chunk of Armour – sooner or later it will get pulverized by another player, and you’ll be glad you had the means to shore up your defenses once more!
Each Inmate starts off with the following weapons:
Axe – You can use this tool both for clattering other players melee-style, or for gathering materials such as Wood. If you land a hit with this decidedly nasty implement you’ll strike for 150 points of Damage.
Bow and Arrow – This is for hitting enemies at range, and you can craft a few different arrow types to suit the combat scenario at hand. There are Fire Arrows and Tracker Arrows, for example, and each one delivers 150 points of damage as standard.
Snowballs – Chuck a Snowball at another player and their heat bar will be decreased. Not good (for them at least).
Managing Stamina and Warmth
As an Inmate it’s really important that you pay extremely close attention to two key stats: Stamina and Warmth.
Stamina is vital for sprinting away from trouble, so keep one eye on your Stamina meter and ensure you always have the means to get away from an unfavourable engagement.
You also need to be extremely wary of your Warmth. You have two choices for staying out of trouble here. Either you ensure you always have a bit of Wood about you so you can knock a quick fire together, or you can craft a Fur Cloak which will take some of the sting out of the biting cold.
If you don’t look after your Warmth levels, the danger is that you will find your Health falling. That is going to put you at an enormous disadvantage when you consider that an engagement with another player is going to happen sooner rather than later. If they’ve taken the protective measures that you haven’t, the odds of success are only going to swing more firmly in their favour.
Tips, Tricks and Strategy Advice
Here’s a really useful video that gives a lot of extra insight into how to play The Darwin Project. We’ve given an overview of the most important points afterwards, but make sure you watch the whole thing and give the creator a sub and a like if you found it helpful:
- Start working on your keybinds and mousebinds early on. Get important crafted items bound so you can access them quickly. Also switch on “Harvest on Melee Attack” so you can just click and harvest items.
- When you spawn in you’ll probably see some harvestable materials. Look what’s available and grab them right away!
- Try to craft a few arrows at the very start of a match, and assuming you’ve not gone for standard arrows.
- Making a cloak is also really helpful so that you have a Cold Meter advantage right away.
- Try to tap or feather Sprint so you don’t use too much of it and leave yourself without the means to make a hasty retreat.
- Note that if you jump near a window you will actually vault through it.
- Use your intuition! Be mindful of your surroundings and be wary of being caught. Always assume the worst of a situation.
- If you see a target on the UI then this is a designated target granted by the Director. If you kill the target you’ll get a great reward. Just keep in mind, of course, that other players are going to have the same idea…
- Whenever someone tries to grab an Electronic resource you’ll be notified, so go and kill them and take it for yourself.
- See those weird pod clusters on the map? Hitting these will cause you to be boosted in the opposite direction from the one you’re currently facing.
- You don’t take fall damage as such, but falling great distances will cause your Stamina gauge to absolutely plummet. Be mindful of this when running from enemies and risk potentially taking a big fall.
- When you make a kill you’ll be healed, so get your strength back before running to the corpse and bagging your “free” loot.
- Watch out for forbidden zone alerts. If you don’t get to a new playable zone before the minute timer expires, you’re going to take damage and die.