2Dark [official site] looks like something that might emerge from the Ice-Pick Lodge. It’s a top-down stealth game in which you infiltrate the lairs of serial killers, attempting to rescue the children that they’ve kidnapped. Cheery stuff. Judging by the first trailer, below, sound is the central mechanic. Noises in the darkness are marked on-screen visually so that you can track their movement and direction. Most of the sounds appear to be variants of sobbing and muffled screams. Like I said – cheery stuff. Somehow, the super deformed art style just makes the whole thing even more creepy to my eyes.
This is Frederick Raynal’s first survival horror games since the original Alone in the Dark. Since then, the Little Big Adventure games have been his most recognisable work. I’d much rather have something small, weird and horrid than any kind of successor (spiritual or otherwise) to either Little Big Adventure or Alone in the Dark. This looks like just the ticket: Go in, get the kids, make your way out without losing your head.
Sounds simple enough but the traps strewn about the place and the need to shepherd, manage and convince children to follow you could be your undoing. Admittedly, the team management aspects that form part of your rescues could lead to nothing more than irritating escort missions, but they sound more intriguing, on paper at least:
“Players have a tough challenge ahead of them as they confront one serial killer after the other in their respective lairs. They will have to find the way out, save and manage the terrified, and not always well disciplined, children, confront horror-hunger beings, avoid traps, and much more besides. Through the different levels, the player will discover his adversary’s backstory and motivations and the terrifying secret of Gloomywood Orphanage!”
“Horror-hunger beings”. Yes!
The best stealth games always have a delicious tension that is only ever a couple of steps from triggering my flight response. It’s why the Thief games were able to creep into horrifying places without losing their sense of self; everything about a life in the shadows, hunted and hounded, can quickly make a victim of the player character.
If 2Dark is successful, it might well play with that idea of victimhood. The transition from rescuer to target should happen naturally as you delve too deep in places that are (ahem) too dark.
Following a successful crowdfunding campaign last year, 2Dark is now available to preorder, which will provide access to the beta. That preorder costs €20 and the full game is set for release sometime next year.