HomeReviews4/5 ReviewDARQ: Ultimate Edition Review

DARQ: Ultimate Edition Review


DARQ is a surreal puzzle-solving game that follows Lloyd, a boy who finds himself trapped in a lucid nightmare.

What immediately stands out about DARQ is the visual and atmospheric design. The style is reminiscent of games like Limbo, Inside, and Little Nightmares. The monochromatic color scheme and moody lighting does a great job in setting the tone and mood of the game. The eerie palette, combined with the fantastic enemy and world design, make for a suspenseful game.

darq ultimate edition review 1

The gameplay is built on physics based puzzle-solving which allows you to manipulate the orientation of the world by walking along walls and placing small items in big ways. The puzzles are fairly intuitive to figure out. As long as you continue exploring, the answers to all of them will eventually work themselves out for you.

There is one exception, which I won’t spoil, but it’s important to remember that you do have the ability to crouch walk and sneak. I say this because the game doesn’t really point it out to you, and there is no need to use it until you’re a few levels into the game. It doesn’t help that the normal walk animation keeps Lloyd hunched over like he is in his stealth walk, so it’s hard to even realize you’re changing anything the first time you use it.

But beyond that, the puzzles are typically built around finding items and using them in the right spot. It’s a bit like a point and click adventure, just without the pointing and clicking.

There are seven levels to play through, each with their own theme. One takes place on a train, another in a theatre, and so on. The game relies on atmospheric storytelling and something I wish I would’ve known going into it is that there is a hidden journal page in each level which reveals more about DARQ’s backstory. I didn’t find any of these my first time playing through the game, and I only realized they existed as I got to the end of the main story with only one achievement.

As I mentioned earlier, the enemy and world design are great and the abominations that haunt Lloyd’s nightmares definitely sell the horror of DARQ. I’m also glad that there is no combat in the game. Throughout, Lloyd remains defenseless and must avoid the dangers. It keeps the tone and story consistent with how you are supposed to feel. Powerless and desperate to find a way out of the dark.

darq ultimate edition review 2

All that being said, it is not a perfect game. You need to remember that you can sneak, but it isn’t mentioned at all. This issue is compounded because sneaking isn’t needed until you’ve already completed a good portion of the game.

This is a more forgivable issue though because DARQ: Ultimate Edition doesn’t really explain any of its mechanics. You’re like a newborn learning to walk in the most terrifying circumstances possible. The lack of a tutorial just bolsters the immersion in the world. It’s a bit of a catch-22, where they could either make a tutorial and ruin the immersion, or leave you to your own devices.

That being said, there are two areas where DARQ does suffer. Its incredibly basic enemy behavior and overall length. While I think the enemy and character design fit great into the world of DARQ, their behavior is too simplistic. Most enemies you encounter will patrol a corridor that Lloyd needs to pass to solve a puzzle. Their patrol path is fixed and their movement on it, slow. This forces you to wait for them to slowly shamble across the screen, before hopping into the obvious hiding spot, and then waiting for them to walk by again.

It’s annoying when a level makes you do this multiple times in the same spot, especially when there isn’t any difficulty in it. It’s just tedious and takes up extra time. It’s not the end of the world, but it stands out, especially considering my second main issue – the short play time.

darq ultimate edition review 3

I managed to get through the main story found in DARQ: Ultimate Edition in about an hour and a half. When a game is that short, all the time you spend standing and waiting feels so much longer. Granted, there are an additional two levels with this being the Ultimate Edition, but even then you shouldn’t expect to get more than a few hours out of this game.

An additional note to consider, I know some people really struggle with jump scares and will want to know if they should be worried about them going into a game like DARQ. There are some minor “jump scares” present throughout a playthrough, but some of them are telegraphed in a pretty obvious way. In which case, I’m not even sure I could call them jump scares. So unless you have a crippling phobia and can’t handle any jump scares at all, I wouldn’t let those fears dissuade you from picking up a copy.

Overall, DARQ is a decent puzzle game that has an incredibly well-built atmosphere. The few shortcomings don’t overrule the positives, and if you are looking for a short and creepy game to play, then DARQ: Ultimate Edition is a great fit.

DARQ: Ultimate Edition is on the Xbox Store

Ryan Taylor
Ryan Taylor
Grew up playing the Nintendo 64 where I fell in love with the Legend of Zelda series. As I got older though my console of choice changed, first to PS2, and then finally to the Xbox 360, which I've been playing on for over a decade now. And since my first day booting up my Xbox, I've upgraded consoles and even built a gaming PC. Because at the end of the day I just love gaming.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow Us On Socials


Our current writing team


Join the chat

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x