Horror games that reflect the Tim Burton style of Expressionism are always a treat to play when done right. DARQ is one of the latest games to take a page out of this style to produce a rather eerie and compelling puzzle experience that will catch your eye the moment you set your eyes on it.
As soon as you get started with this game, the deep atmosphere will completely absorb you. Your characters face will reflect the gloomy and dark surroundings evoking similar feelings as you take control of the character. An underlying fear that even in what appears to be your safe space, you are only a moment away from something taking a turn for the worst.
The most attractive element of the game outside of the visuals is how easy it is to just pick up and play. There is no extended tutorial, endless dialogue or boring intro puzzles that hold your hand as you get used to the controls. DARQ throws you into the fun pretty quickly but doesn’t let that be a sign that the game is easy.
DARQ presents you with a 2.5d side scroller that puts a rather unique perspective on the genre. Although the camera always remains to the side, your character possesses a unique ability to rotate the camera that will allow you to walk up walls and even unlock areas of the background and foreground that would normally be inaccessible for this genre.
The levels are rather small but when you consider your unique ability to change the perspective of the camera, you end up with incredibly compact levels that offer an enjoyable level of challenge that will really make you think when you get stuck.
Each of the levels will bring you to a new location, just as sombre and unhappy as the last. The levels of suspense can go through the roof at times when you are rushing to solve a puzzle as a dark shadow in a wheelchair slowly creeks down a shadowy hallway toward you. The thrill you get is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game.
The game is rather short, consisting of only 7 levels which you could beat in a few hours. The complete edition comes with two additional levels. These levels present some new challenges to help you spend a little more time in this peculiarly dark world.
The game has very little in terms of a story and this is a shame. Although the game is quite enjoyable without it, the experience could have been a little longer with the help of a story to guide it along.
The absence of a traditional story isn’t a complete misfortune, however. The lack of structure to the adventure conveys a level of hopelessness. The despondent tone follows you through the levels as you feel for the character as he shows visible fear from the predicament he finds himself in, even if it is not entirely clear to you.
Despite being based on the roots of a horror experience, the game is not scary in a traditional sense. Fantastic for those of you who hate cheap jump scares. The game successfully instils fear and sadness through its incredible art style and well-crafted levels to leave you feeling a little shaken up as the adventure ends and the final credits roll.