Through the Darkest of Times is an intense strategy game by HandyGames that focuses on Nazi Germany. The year is 1933 and Adolf Hitler has just been appointed chancellor. With the Nazi threat looming over the people of Germany, players take control of a small resistance group in Berlin. You complete missions and gain support as you undermine the Nazi regime in this bleak and harrowing title.
Normally, even violent games strive to create a sense of happiness for their players. Through the Darkest of Times, however, strives to elicit less positive emotions. And it succeeds. Each scene you watch unfold will leave you ill at ease and you’ll second-guess every decision you make. This is exactly how a game about Nazi Germany should make you feel. Each turn begins with three newspaper headlines that update the characters on the current events under the Nazi regime. This is a nice touch that allows players to feel a bleak despair as the headlines grow more and more alarming.
At first, gameplay seems simple enough. You’ll view available missions on your map and assign members of your group to complete them. Sounds simple right? Through the Darkest of Times complicates gameplay by adding character traits into the mix. Meeting with a former unionist might seem like a simple mission but sending a white-collar member of your group isn’t going to work in your favor here. Religion matters too. A Catholic member is better suited to speak with a priest than a Communist.
You can only have up to five members in your resistance group at a time. You’ll want to make sure it’s a diversified group as different missions hinge on different characteristics. However, diversity can lead to hostility within your resistance. It might seem like a good idea to recruit both a Communist and a Catholic conservative but their difference in beliefs may become problematic enough that one member chooses to leave the group.
Additionally, maintaining morale and retaining your supporters are vital to Through the Darkest of Times’s gameplay. If either reaches zero it is game over. Complete a “Go dancing” mission to boost morale by 50 points or a “Visit a museum” mission to boost morale by 40 points.
Feel the Heat
As Rebels in Nazi Germany, your group strives to remain unnoticed. However, each mission carries its dangers. Even a mission such as buying paper or paint can raise suspicion. Members of your group may be spotted during missions, which will raise their heat level. If the heat level gets too high, they’ll be arrested.
It’s also possible for members to turn against the resistance. In my playthrough I had to kick a man out of the resistance after I caught him trying to smuggle a list of our supporters out of headquarters. Members may also quit if they feel they are in too much danger.
Through the Darkest of Times not only challenges players it also tugs at their heartstrings. Gameplay is surprisingly difficult given the game’s simple interface. The game is incredibly bleak but what else would you expect from a game about Nazi Germany?
Is It Hardcore?
With a harrowing historical storyline and challenging gameplay Through the Darkest of Times will keep players on the edge of their seats as they attempt to thwart the Nazi regime.