DARQ, a fairly new IndieGoGo game campaign, tells the story of Lloyd – a boy who becomes aware of the fact that he is dreaming. Unfortunately for the boy, the dreams he has quickly become nightmares and all his attempts to wake up end in failure. In order to survive in this new world Lloyd learns how to bend the laws of physics and manipulate the game world.
As a unique horror game, sound in DARQ plays a huge roll. In order to navigate the game world Lloyd must rely on the location of sound as the environment is in complete darkness. Even more uniquely, the game world combines both 2d and 3d graphics. It seems that DARQ relies heavily on slow build and creepy atmosphere rather than gore and violence.
The game features puzzles that involve bending the laws of physics (walking on walls and ceilings, levitating), manipulating the dream world (creating items, spawning doors and entire locations), collecting and using found objects, and avoiding enemies. Each playthrough is completely different from the next due to randomly generated elements of gameplay.
More interestingly, the enemies within DARQ are creatively made. Like in most horror titles the enemies are much stronger than Lloyd and in open confrontation it’s inevitable that he will lose. The enemies, disfigured humans, are something that I’ve not come across in a while. Stealth and careful planning are the only way in which Lloyd can survive his dream world. In addition to hearing, most enemies posses good sight so not always being silent helps.
The game relies on some jump scares, not many, throughout. “A jump scare will never occur for the sake of an easy scare.”
DARQ looks like an interesting physiological horror game from the indie developer world, a twist which I feel makes it unique from the abundance of other horror titles. I can’t wait to help Lloyd break free from his dream world and back to reality.