Lucid Nightmares: DARQ

DARQ [official site] is a horror game about a man trapped inside lucid dreams. The world is unstable, turning around him as he creeps through its various environments, trying to avoid the horrors that are chasing him. When I first saw footage, almost a year ago, it reminded me of Knock-Knock, Ice-Pick Lodge’s haunted nightmare of a game. Now, Inside is playing at the front of my mind as I watch this new video, and its animations of our poor protagonist sneaking and stumbling. It looks lovely, in a horrid sort of way, and it’ll be out next year.

Good audio can make all the difference in a horror game and that doll/statue that shrieks, folds backwards and shoots forward like a derailed animatronic is making a beeline toward my own cluster of night-time anxieties. Welcome to the club, hideous thought made manifest, make yourself discomfortable.

DARQ is a stealthy sort of game, though I’m not quite sure how much space there is for evasion or cowering, given the environments shown in the video. They seem suitably claustrophobic from a horror angle, but difficult to read as spaces that’d allow you to do much more than walk left or right. That said, Knock-Knock managed to make something similar work, and there might well be more expansive areas in DARQ. I look forward to finding out more.


  1. ZedClampet says:

    That trailer is amazing.

  2. Monggerel says:

    Seems spurious. My lucid dreams have always been pleasant or at least surprsing and interesting as opposed to scary. Even the ones that started as actual nightmares always ended up turning into curiosities. My favorite is the sort where I realise I’m in a dream, but instead of trying to control it, I just go with it and see what shit my brain comes up with and then try to do divination based on the imagery. (try it if you can, it’s a fun game!)
    So I dunno, this game seems to make a big hoo-haw out of a hee-how.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Yeah, because it’s based on your personal experience of lucid dreaming.

      Seriously though, there’s a whole Gothic tradition about horror and dreams that has little to do with trying to represent the ‘reality’ of experimenting them.

      • LucidDreamer says:

        Its not his personal experience it is as he says. There is actually whole science and a lot of studies made on that field.

        Explain please how can you have horror experience if you get realization you are THE CREATOR? How can you intentionally make yourself afraid?

        Its impossible to have lucid nightmare! If you have nightmare you are not lucid!

        Vivid is the word you are looking for i guess.

        • Sarfrin says:

          Maybe it could be about a boy who becomes aware that he’s dreaming and the dream turns into a nightmare. He can’t wake up but he gradually learns to manipulate the dream world so he can survive the nightmare. Just a wild guess.

        • preshrunk_cyberpunk says:

          You’re taking the name of this game far too personally and far, far too seriously.

        • trashbarge says:

          the guy who coined the term “lucid dreaming” literally did so while documenting lucid nightmares but ok

          link to

  3. LucidDreamer says:

    I registered and logged just to comment on this..

    Whoever made this game and used word lucid, obviously does not know what lucid means.

    Being lucid in a dream makes you a ‘GOD’. Nothing can harm you and you are not afraid of anything. You can fly, you can teleport you can do what ever you want. Its like you play a game with infinite possibilities while using GOD MODE cheats.

    If anything nightmare can be a trigger to get lucid, but the moment you are lucid all baddies turn to ash, get cute and cuddly or become your puppet to control.

    Its like they used lucid just to be cool. While in actuality lucid dreaming is one of the coolest things in life, no joke!

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      With a user name like that, I guess you’re an expert on this topic :P.

      I’ve experienced lucid dreaming a few times and that was great. One time, I was in a shopping mall and thought to myself “this is boring, lets try if I can fly around this place” and so I jumped up and never came down again.

      The name of this game made me think of Dark by Realmforge Studios and published by Kalypso Media. That game wasn’t a nightmare, unless you count mediocrity as nightmarish.