Games Gazette Logo

DARQ is one of, if not 'the', weirdest games I have played in many, many years. It is also compulsive and addictive and mind-boggling. For £15.49 you get the complete edition which includes the Crypt and the Tower expansions. DARQ is a Dream translating game - the idea is to discover/decipher a young boys nightmarish dream and allow him to wake up. The graphics are sharp and clear.

The boy is Lloyd. He is awake in his nightmare but asleep in his bed. The boy in the dreamworld is an ultra-thin person who has almost skeletal features, including huge dark eyes, and is dressed in a hooped nightshirt and tight grey leggings. The dreamworld is greyscale and is surreal; nothing makes visual sense including the manner in which the walls turn as Lloyd approaches them - he can basically walk around all four walls of a room as each wall rotates to become the floor as he moves.

 

The dreamworld is full of what looks to be machinery, pipes, cogs, workspaces, tables and such-like. Every so often Lloyd will find something useful that he can pick up and carry in a regular PS style inventory wheel of bag spaces. Many items found are cogs that fit onto shafts which are highlighted as he passes them. The cogs fit most of the shafts and can usually be turned to operate a piece of machiney close by. Generally logic determines what machine operates via the cog, but occasionally logic isn't enough, imagination then rises to the forefront.

 

The puzzles are simple to complete once you have determined the necessary actions. As already mentioned, many of these actions require the use of cogs because they may lower and raise bridges across gaps that then allow you to walk down the walls to new areas that require investigating. The dreamworld is, or appears to be, a dungeon created in the belly of a massive factory of some sort.

Why Lloyd is dreaming this scenario and how he can escape from it is unclear but the only exit is for him to wake up. The good thing for Lloyd is that he knows he is dreaming and can thus act and react to the horror of being in this land of limbo. The bad thing is that unless he awakes he is forever going to be stuck in this nightmare.

 

There are plenty of video links for DARQ on the internet, many being found on YouTube. I discovered this short, less than a minute, trailer there. I never looked at it until after I had put many hours into playing the game. On my computer monitor it looks great but with the power of the PS4 and a large screen TV it is beyond amazing.

For lovers of the unusual, the unexpected, the strange and the weird. DARQ is impressive in itself. With the Tower and the Crypt YouTube here it is trebly impressive. It is also the nightmare none of us ever want to have. Enjoying someone else's tragedies could be considered voyeurism if it wasn't for the fact that you are leading Lloyd into misfortunes and agonies, and it is you who can save him.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015