DARQ: Complete Edition – Review
Follow Genre: Horror, Puzzle
Developer: Unfold Games
Publisher: Feardemic
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PS5

DARQ: Complete Edition – Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Atmosphere, Short but sweet
Bad: Responsiveness of the controls at moments
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

DARQ is a game that is actually almost two years old by now, but it recently gained some attention again with the release of its ‘Complete Edition’ for the next generation, as well as the Switch. The original endeavor of Lloyd, in the nightmare realm he finds himself in, was quite short but kept a lot of gamers entertained for a few hours. Now, the Complete Edition has been released, with both DLC packages included. These DLCs are now also free on Steam.

Story

Much like Little Nightmares, the game just throws you into the gameplay without any context or information as to what the hell is going on. We soon find ourselves solving puzzles, where eerie monsters lurk around, while eventually always ending up in what seems to be our bedroom. This repeats itself until the credits start rolling.

When actually looking up what the game is about, it is somewhat what we expect, namely the main character is trapped in a dream-like world. He never truly snaps out of it, and it’s up to you to find a way out. We actually liked the fact we didn’t get a full explanation of the story, and this summary we just added also doesn’t really explain most things that are going on. This has a certain charm and makes you speculate on what everything could mean.

Graphics

When booting up the PS5 version of DARQ, we instantly had that ‘Little Nightmares’ vibe, albeit darqer. We loved the old-school aesthetics, where it feels like you’re playing through an artsy 60s horror movie, with a reasonable amount of details in its backgrounds. The overall decors are simplistically handled, albeit with the necessary details making you feel quite uneasy from time to time. The ghoulish enemies you come across also ooze that something is truly wrong with Lloyd’s current situation.

Sound

The sound design of the game is actually perfect for what is happening onscreen. We enjoyed the atmospheric background noises, as well as the simple sound effects. That being said, there were occasions that the sound got very grating and annoying when trying to figure out a puzzle. For example, in the second chapter, subway trains kept passing every two seconds, making a horribly loud and annoying sound, while you were navigating yourself through the room.

Gameplay

DARQ: Complete Edition is, as the name states, the complete edition of the horror puzzle game that was released in 2019. This edition also includes the two different DLCs. The game will throw you in short levels, where more than often you have to manipulate your environment in order to crack the conundrum laid out before you. The overall offset is quite simple, but some puzzles will put your grey matter to work.

The game, even with all the DLC included, is short. Veteran puzzlers will be able to finish the game under the two-hour mark, while others may be in for a longer ride. Nonetheless, for the content you’re getting, you’re also paying a fairly low price, so that evens each other out. You’ll get quality puzzles, and it’s ideal to play in short bursts, as most levels will not take you longer than half an hour, even when taking your time.

While the game introduces a few new mechanics from time to time, the overall offset is quite simple, and the controls are not hard to master. You often only need to press one or two buttons, mind your timing and/or run away from the odd abomination. If you like the creepy atmosphere but are afraid your skill level might be lacking, we can easily say that this game has a low threshold to overcome for those new to the genre. The controls sometimes felt a bit wonky in terms of responsiveness though, where sprinting or the required action(s) didn’t trigger immediately upon pressing the corresponding button.

Conclusion

While some puzzles will take a bit longer than others, the Complete Edition of DARQ is a bite-sized horror puzzle game. We enjoyed the game from start to finish, but it never truly reaches for the sky and ends up playing things relatively safe. Is that a problem? Not at all. This game is certainly worth picking up for its low retail price, especially if you like games in the same vein, such as the Little Nightmares series. Even though the latter may not be exactly the same, it still gave us a similar goosebumps experience.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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DARQ: Complete Edition - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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