Released in August 2019 on PC and developed by Unfold Games, DARQ is a horror adventure game that seems straight out of the imagination of Tim Burton. At the end of 2022, the title is coming in physical version on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series and Nintendo Switch, and it was on Sony’s latest console that we were lucky enough to receive it. An Ultimate Edition which reserves some bonuses, and which we will tell you about without further delay.
DARQ: Ultimate Edition, in its PS5 version, includes the base game, its 2 DLCs “The Crypt” and “The Tower”, the digital soundtrack, 9 stickers, a small 16-page artbook (which looks back on the environments and characters, all in English only) as well as the comics “DARQ Dream Journal” in digital version. Very nice little bonuses, the game being sold for around 30 euros depending on the resellers. We’ve been keeping tabs on the game for a long time, and this physical edition was our chance to take the plunge. After completing the adventure, we can clearly say: we loved it!
Be careful however, it should be noted that the game is very short. We took 2 hours to complete the 7 chapters of the game, and about 40 minutes more for the DLCs, which offer new environments and new puzzles. Because yes, DARQ can be considered a puzzle game, and you will have to help your character, Lloyd, to face his fears and get out of his nightmares. The atmosphere of the game is really excellent, with transitions between levels very well managed and a really terrible sound design! Add to that a few well-placed jumpscares, hide-and-seek sequences facing very creepy monsters, and you will understand that the immersion is there. There is absolutely nothing to complain about the sound aspect of the game, and the visuals are not left out, with very successful graphics. DARQ relies on anxiety and fear, with environments that are often dark and gloomy. We necessarily think of titles like Limbo, Inside or Little Nightmares, which are among our favorites of the genre.
The places visited turn out, despite the short lifespan, to be quite varied, and we go from a dimly lit alley to a train or even a hospital. Very unwelcoming places, which you will have to search to find the objects necessary for your progress. Nothing insurmountable don’t worry, but some puzzles require a minimum of thinking. Above all, they require you to find your bearings in space, your character being able, when possible, to walk on the walls or change plans (via levers, you go from the foreground to the background and vice versa). It will be used to circumvent an obstacle, to reach initially inaccessible areas or to recover an object necessary for progression. It’s really great, with very nice staging effects, which really make their effect coupled with the sound design. What makes your head spin? It’s possible !
As for the bestiary, it is really creepy! One sequence in particular is very well done in terms of staging, with this enemy in a wheelchair approaching while you try, somehow, to solve a puzzle. The camera has fun turning 360 degrees to show you the threat coming, preventing you from seeing your character who acts on the mechanism of the puzzle. It’s very strong ! The game is breathtaking, but does not hold you by the hand. It will be up to you to visit the sets and understand what to do, and what to interact with. Too bad that time passes so quickly and that we link the chapters so quickly: we would have liked a little more! And even if the DLCs extend the experience somewhat, the set remains too short and does not really offer replayability, except to find some collectibles and unlock the trophies.
There really isn’t much to complain about with DARQ: Ultimate Edition. The game is beautiful, immersive, the sound design is great, the bestiary creepy, and the puzzles are logical and addictive. The Tim Burton atmosphere works well, and the few jumpscares are very effective! The only fault of the game is to be too short, and it ends in only 2 short hours. The 2 DLC add less than an hour of content, and we would like more. Despite everything, it would be a shame to miss it if you like the genre, especially since the physical version is really nice. We loved DARQ: Ultimate Edition, and can’t wait to see the studio’s next game.
- excellent atmosphere
- stunning and immersive visuals
- sound design
- interesting and original puzzles
- jumpscares, which work well
- transitions between levels and staging
- completed in only 2 hours, we would have liked to have more
- very little replayability