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.