Have you ever dreamed of playing a Tim Burton game by way of MC Escher in a zero gravity environment? No? Oh, well, okay then. You kind of ruined this.
For those of you that answered yes, DARQ is here on Indiegogo to give you exactly that.
DARQ is a 2D psychological horror game with a couple of unique selling points. First is the zero gravity world, accredited to the main character, Lloyd, realizing he’s trapped in a dream that’s becoming a nightmare. Because of this, he’s able to bend the not-reality around him in some pretty interesting ways. The art style, as you can see, is gorgeous, and reminds me of A Nightmare Before Christmas with the character’s long, lanky limbs and dark, gothic environments.
Most interestingly is the flashlight mechanic. There is no fighting in DARQ, instead you have to run and hide from monsters. These monsters have good sight, and will see you if your flashlight is on. Hence, you have to turn it off, and immerse yourself in total darkness. At that point, you have to use a combination of the game’s sound system and zero gravity traversal to sneak past and hide from enemies. For example, the crowdfunding page points out that “faster and more irregular breathing indicates higher level of alertness.”
The premise of the game as mentioned earlier is that you play a boy named Lloyd who’s stuck in his nightmare. You have to solve puzzles by once again bending the rules of physics, stealth around monsters, and make choices to get out alive. The game will apparently have multiple endings depending on those choices as well, though what exactly that means isn’t elaborated on. In that regard, DARQ is part survival horror, part adventure game, part puzzler, and even part platformer.
Unfold Games, the developer behind the game, is placing a high emphasis on randomly generated levels, and dynamic environments. Level’s will be different in each play through, and enemy placement and puzzle locations will change as well, in the hopes of keeping the tension high.
The team is composed of two people, brothers Wlad and Damian Marhulets. Wlad has experience as a Hollywood composer, and will provide the game’s soundtrack. Damian is the programmer on the game, and works at a multimedia company that “represents” this game.
Overall, the campaign looks to be well laid out. The game is well explained, the goals and perfectly stated, and there’s a breakdown of where the money will go. Being on Indiegogo, the team has decided to opt for Flexible Funding, meaning the team will get all the money donated to the project whether it reaches it’s $20,000 goal or not.
“We set our goal at $20.000, which the amount that will allow us to hire an additional programmer for the period of 5-6 months, as well as to hire voice actors who will add life to our characters. If we don’t meet our goal, the game will be finished, but the development process will take much longer than expected and we won’t be able to add voice over (which is an important part of the concept).”
DARQ will be released on Steam in August 2016, as well as mobile if they hit their stretch goals. It’s refreshing to see a horror game that isn’t a first person survival rip-off of Slenderman, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.