Dark is a platform game where you control a diamond shaped character who you must help find the way out of a series of caves. Along the way are some puzzles to work out and shards to collect. Will the game brighten up your day or will it be a grey grim morning, read on to find out.
Dark was an entry in the Dream Build Play 2009 competition and while it did not win, it stood out to me as an interesting game as the game is played in darkness while making great use of lighting effects to show your path. It is a platform game with some basic puzzle solving that is made a bit more original as you can not always see what you are supposed to do which adds to the challenge. Puzzles include pushing a cog down a platform to complete a series of cogs which activate a lift for example.
The controls can sometimes be a little fiddly to jump, I found that if you are pushing against a wall or object your character will not always jump, like it is stuck in the wall, usually releasing the joypad will allow you to jump. This does occasionally mean you will mistime a jump which I found a little annoying. Otherwise the controls work well and the physics interaction with objects seems to be good. One issue I did run into was on the Factory level, mid way through the level, the game started to freeze up for a number of seconds before unfreezing for a few more and then freezing again, eventually the game was unplayable and I had to quit back to the game menu.
The graphics are the main talking point of the game, the characters, caves and objects are all black and would otherwise be very bland but thanks to the lighting it brings it to life. Some scenes in the game look great as different light sources mix with each other to really light up areas. The music is a relaxing piano song and works very well with the style of the game. Sound effects are OK and are used when your character jumps, collects shards and objects interact with each other.
There are five short levels which will take well under a hour to complete, it took me around 30 minutes which I found very short. There are shards of light to collect on each level but this seems to have no effect on completing a level or not, it would have been a good idea to make the player collect all the shards in order to complete it. The length of the game almost makes me feel like the game is more of a technical demo or an unfinished game which is a shame as with some more work and a lot more levels this could be a good game.
This is a tricky one to recommend buying, the style of the game grows on you but you cant help feeling that after reaching the end credits level in 30 minutes you have been short changed. Compared to other games costing 80 :MSPoints: there is not a great deal, but for the experience of playing it is kinda worth spending the points if you have them spare and want to try something different.
More information on Dark as well as the trial and full version of the game can be found on the Marketplace.