Review – Darq: Complete Edition

DARQ was one of those games that ended up flying under my radar for one reason or another. It wasn’t because a lack of interest, since it reminded me of some of my favorite macabre puzzle games like Limbo, Inside, and Little Nightmares. Whatever the reason was doesn’t matter now that we have the DARQ: Complete Edition. What better way to finally jump into a game you have been interested about than with the complete package? The Complete Edition of course comes with a better optimized version of the base game and two DLC levels. Was the wait worth it?

In DARQ you play as Lloyd, a young boy that is stuck in a lucid dream that he can’t seem to wake up from. As you explore the levels within your dream, solving puzzles, it’s clear that something sinister is lurking. Quickly Lloyd’s dreams start to become nightmares. Each time you complete a level, it will return you to your room. When you lay down to go to sleep your body starts to lift into the air as you enter the next level. Are you asleep? Awake? Or in between consciousness, stuck in a perpetual loop?

DARQ Walking on Walls

It has to be a dream if we are walking on walls, right?

These questions are what DARQ left me with and I’m a bit let down there wasn’t more. There is obviously a sinister side to these dreams and you need to fight through the nightmares, but what is the cause of the nightmares? What I loved about Limbo, Inside, and Little Nightmares is that they kept the story vague and up to interpretation. However, there was always a moment that tied the “bigger picture” together. DARQ left me with unanswered questions. Or is it as simple as dreams and nightmares are unpredictable? That feels too easy though. I wanted a revelation as to the root of the nightmares, but there was just nothing that was made clear.

The gameplay of DARQ is the main focus here, offering six varied levels with plenty of unique puzzles to solve within. The Complete Edition comes with an additional two levels as well. The core of the gameplay can be your basic adventure style game where you explore for items and use them or combined them for a solution. These were mostly used to setup the actual puzzles, which were very fun. None of them were extremely hard or frustrating, but not exactly simple enough to walk through.

DARQ: Complete Edition Using Your Head

Way to use your head, Lloyd!

Unfold Games use of the dreaming theme comes in handy when they were designing the puzzles. Using switches on the ground to flip the scene so now you’re walking on the walls or ceiling never got old. Popping off Lloyd’s head to control separately while activating switches or puzzles in tandem with your body is a great mechanic. I never grew dull of the level or puzzle designs, but that could be because of the short length as well. My only gripe with the gameplay is that the movement could feel sluggish and delayed. It caused a couple headaches for some puzzle sections, but overall it’s fine.

Visually, DARQ looks like it was taken straight out of a Tim Burton animated film. The black and white eerie atmosphere paired with things that could only happen in dreams, always sets an uneasy tone. The monster designs, while not grotesque, offer the feeling of tension of not wanting to be caught. Each level and puzzle has its own look and design, and I enjoyed them all. I usually do sound as its own paragraph, but truthfully there just isn’t much here. DARQ is neither super suspenseful or full of action and the soundtrack matches that. It’s very neutral and meets the macabre visuals fine. The rest of the sound effects through each level are done well and with quality. However, nothing in this department really stood out.

The tones set in each level with the visual design is fantastic.

DARQ is an experience that I’m glad I finally got to play. It offers unique puzzles and mechanics within a macabre theme that I love. It really made an effort to create a seamless experience that had me playing all the way through and enjoying every moment. I will mention that it is quite short, but I don’t mind as it offered a tight experience that had me engaged the entire time. If you’re looking for a weird and unique puzzle game that won’t melt your mind or over stay its welcome, I recommend picking up DARQ: Complete Edition.


Graphics: 8.0

DARQ has a very melancholy visual style that made me associate it with Tim Burton. It’s in all black and white and provides a nice eerie atmosphere.

Gameplay: 9.0

Despite some clunky control issues the puzzles in DARQ are well done. No puzzle will have you throwing the controller with frustrations, but it’s not a simple walk in the park either.

Sound: 6.5

Sound design stands out the least, but it’s not all bad. Since this isn’t a full blown horror game, nor is it a rousing adventure, the soundtrack remains fairly neutral.

Fun Factor: 7.0

While I loved the unique take on the puzzle design, I wish there was more effort in the story. It’s okay to be vague and let the player interpret some meanings, but even that is very loose here. DARQ is also pretty short even with including the two extra levels.

Final Verdict: 7.5

DARQ: Complete Edition is available now on Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC, Switch, and Xbox Series X|S.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X.

A copy of DARQ: Complete Edition was provided by the publisher.