Darq isn’t the kind of game I’d expect to get a new gen upgrade, but Feardemic have really put the effort in for this Complete Edition.
Featuring two DLCs, as well as the original experience, refined to the highest quality, this chilling noir puzzler really does deserve your attention.
You play as a young lad name Lloyd who’s having a bit of trouble with his sleep. See, everytime he goes to sleep, he finds himself in this topsy turvy world full of lampshades with legs and jump scares for days.
To escape each mini nightmare, Lloyd has to solve a series of unorthodox puzzles, like finding severed arms to pull down levers, or using his own head to hold open door switches. Really…
But the weirdest part of all is that when Lloyd actually finds a way out of the horror, he ends up right back where he started. In his own bedroom. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.
Despite being all in black and white, the graphics really shine now on Series X and the smoothness in which everything moves and flows is hypnotic at times. There’s definitely a Burton esque vibe to it all, which really fits the jumpscares it chucks in from time to time.
But the thing that really stood out to me is the creativity in scenes. One minute you’re at a subway station, jumping through ticket machines, the next you’re at a gas station that seems stuck in the middle of nowhere. Then you’re traipsing through ghost towers and secret labs. It’s a fascinating ride.
The cool thing about Darq is how the game gradually introduces new mechanics to keep things fresh. Initially, you might just pass this off as a side-scrolling puzzler, but eventually you’ll learn that you can actually rotate the environment and climb walls, and even spin it around on its axis so you can enter areas that you may have just assumed were background.
The challenges, of course, also get harder as a result, and you’ll even have to be aware of wandering enemies. Lloyd doesn’t have anything to fight back with and he’s not got a health bar to protect him. You’re either going to have to find another way around or hide and hope you don’t get discovered.
All told, Darq’s a pretty short experience and there’s not a lot of reason to dive back in when you’re done. The game can be wrapped up in under an hour if you speed through, but the narrative journey it takes you on is actually quite compelling.
Fortunately, the new DLCs added in this collection really tax the grey matter even further, adding new mechanics that weren’t in the base game and bringing some additional length on top of what was already there, so that helps round things out a bit more.
Price may be a bit of a stumbling block for some, especially with the speed in which you can float through the base campaign, but this is a well-designed, carefully thought-out title that doesn’t outstay its welcome too much and does leave something of a lasting impression.
Basically, if you enjoy a good puzzler, don’t mind a scare or two, and appreciate a refined noir aesthetic, you really can’t go far wrong with Darq Complete Edition. It was a genuinely nice surprise from the time I booted up to when the credits rolled and one I’ve already recommended to a few friends.
Don’t sleep on this one!
+ Beautiful noir aesthetic
+ Smart gradual implementation of new mechanics
– Very short and price may be a stumbling block
– Can feel a little repetitive at times.
Darq Complete Edition is now available on PC, PS5, Xbox, and Switch
Tested on XSX
Code kindly provided by Terminals