DARQ: Complete Edition
Developer: Unfold Games
Genre(s): Puzzle, Horror, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Xbox, PlayStation and PC – Steam)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 18/03/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Many of us will experience a nightmare once or twice in our lives, but luckily we can escape this horror and awaken ourselves. But what happens when the nightmare of lucid dreaming becomes a reality, and even more so, becomes an escape from reality? When presented with the chance to explore the world of Lloyd’s frightful mind and his chilling tale I had to dive in, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the feeling of the complete unknown? Check out more below in this Rapid Review of DARQ: Complete Edition.
We begin Lloyd’s story in his dilapidated apartment and the game sends us straight into the terrible tale of Lloyd’s mind. Instantly I am overcome with the aesthetic this game carries. The minimalist audio intensifies the harrowing scenario we have found ourselves in, alongside the simplistic colour palette used to define the genre; this game is not for the weak. Lloyd himself can be seen as a limp boy, overcome with sadness, who is summoning for an escape. This 2D puzzle game brings more to the surface than just a challenge and if you find yourself to be a fan of games similar to Little Nightmares, Portal and It Takes Two, this might just be your next conquest.
As you venture through Lloyd’s mind, you are challenged to complete many puzzles in order to unlock the next chapter of the game. The controls of this story are all about walking up walls, across ceilings, and swinging on every level imaginable – but in no other direction than forwards. The game takes you down a twisted, delusional path of the dreams taking over Lloyd and why he is the dreary dude we see.
Each new room tells a tale from start to finish. We begin the story with an old mattress and venture to spooky car parks, hallways overcome with the wretched, and attics hiding the unknown. In each new location, you can discover tricks in order to complete the puzzles. The game teases you as you make your way through the challenges and pass what could be a potentially useful item, or where you may need to return to at some point in order to complete the full circle of your hard work. If you see a wall, try walking on it. If you see a lever, pull it. A button? Push that thing so hard, it will probably benefit you later on in the game. Everything and anything has a purpose, and you will be surprised at what it takes to complete the puzzles and accomplish the next stage towards regaining Lloyd’s reality.
I am not the best when it comes to puzzle games. It takes me a long time to figure it out, but I still love playing them despite it usually taking me longer than the average player to complete. After playing Little Nightmares (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and seeing the trailer for the DARQ: Complete Collection I thought I would give this a go, as it reminded me of the game. Instantly, the atmosphere of significant spook overwhelmed the ambience, and I knew this was the game for me. Spooky, mixed with puzzles, let’s bring it on! As I played through the game, one thing that really stood out was the puzzles. They were manageable and I was impressed with the game’s ability to turn the simplest object into a life saving bridge. Old-fashioned watch? What you actually have there my friend is a huge watch, which can be used as a bridge.
Challenging or Child’s Play?
The puzzles themselves, I didn’t find too difficult. If anything it felt like the game was not long enough, because when the tasks did start proving to be difficult, I was a mere one chapter from finishing. The first couple of chapters felt like I was learning the logistics of the game and how the developers thought when creating the puzzles. After two or so tries, I could fly through. I quickly learned from past mistakes what type of items were required and what the game can hide up its sleeve. As mentioned above, just when I did start to struggle, I had nearly completed the game and it felt as if there could have been much more challenge ahead. This particularly shocked me as I am not the brightest spark with puzzle games, but these seemed (in some instances) effortless.
Beware of the Scare
Throughout the game, while completing puzzles you are introduced to a variety of characters, also known as the ‘bad guys’, the ‘enemy’ – the dude you definitely don’t want to get on the wrong side with. I particularly liked this element of the game when completing the levels as each one carried a unique identity and added to the scare factor. They were not your average scary dude and tested your senses, through jump scares, shocking sound effects, and their presence itself sending shivers.
Would I introduce Lloyd to friends?
Yes is the simple answer. DARQ: Complete Edition is light-hearted fun. It is effortless in its scare factor and a pleasant experience. It’s not the most testing game but it definitely sends a spook to your spine. I am intrigued by the graphics of this game, and the thought process behind Lloyd’s lucid dreams, but I would not jump to play it again. I like to look back on this game as a once in a lifetime experience. I was able to be part of Lloyd’s story, and that has been an incredible journey to enjoy, but I will not be jumping to tell the tale all over again.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can purchase DARQ: Complete Edition on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.