Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading. In this installment, we’re covering DARQ Complete Edition by developer Unfold Games.
DARQ Complete Edition: (The Explanation)
DARQ is a game that wears its imagination on its sleeve. Like a love letter to expressionism and imaginative artist like Dali and Escher subverting the surreal as you venture deeper into a dream, or nightmare, as a silent protagonist trying to escape. The gameplay in DARQ is somewhat akin to games like Inside, Little Nightmares, and Limbo taking cues from those titles to create its unique gameplay loop.
During my time within DARQ’S dreamscape, I found myself navigating a mysterious house, a subway station, and a street. Each of the three areas played out along different axis of the dimensional plane, where sometimes I was walking around walls pushing myself to the ceiling, other times rotating the world around me by pulling on some chains hanging from the ceiling. Along with navigating the world, there are puzzles that need to be solved. There’s a certain order to how things need to be completed, and along your journey jump scares of antagonist seemingly craving that you will succumb to the nightmare world.
DARQ’S main selling point is its dreary world of drab grays, blacks, and highlighted areas. As you walk around the world you need to interact with objects, like pulling switches, moving gears, raising an elevator, turning a key, cranking a lever and more. The variety in my first hour intrigued me even after my intial EXPlay video recording. DARQ throws you into the game without much instruction and dialogue.
As you navigate left and right, and sometimes on the ceiling as the world spins around you, you will interact with items picking them up. Some places then allow you to drop the item onto it, for instance setting a cog on a pin might start a machine, opening up another area. Flipping a switch might open up a new walkway or doorway.
The atmosphere in DARQ is also very intriguing as the sounds of eerie creaks, wind, and things that go bump in the night are all around you. In the subway area, tram cars blast past you until you figure out how to stop them and venture deeper. There’s a subtle use of hightlight and lighting too that requires some timing and sneaking such as one area that has creatures with lamps for heads turning them on and off so you have to sneak past them.
If you like games like horror titles like Little Nightmares, Inside, and Limbo, you will feel right at home with DARQ Complete Edition.
DARQ Complete Edition: (The Gameplay)
Developer: Unfold Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Platformer, Puzzle, Action, Strategy
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: March 18, 2021 (EU & NA)
File Size: 5.2 GB