2Dark is a brand new indie game from developer Gloomywood. It features an interesting story premise that shows potential for a dark story and gameplay featuring nods to several of the cult classic horror franchises like Silent Hill and Alone in the Dark. However the game fails to execute these in a way that is fun to play and experience, resulting in an uneven experience that struggles to keep us entertained or motivated to actually finish the game.
My first impressions of the game were positive, largely because the game does have a rather grim and gorgeous opening that makes the player interested in the story. The visuals are also one of the highlights of the game which feature an interesting art style. Characters appears to be rendered in 3D while the game features a mix of 2D and 3D art style evoking a similarity to the old-school pixel art. However while the visuals are nice, they are unfortunately buried among one of the forced mechanics in the game, which is exploration in dark, linear levels full of traps and enemies.
The gameplay featured in 2Dark relies heavily on levels shrouded in darkness that also serve the purpose to highlight the mechanic of using a light, torch or lighter to navigate them. This method evokes the memory of Silent Hill, which had similar mechanics that made people use light when needed in order to discover objects or explore around the world map. The execution is the same in 2Dark however the way it is implemented is not ideal, and just leads to further frustration.
Starting the game the first time gives the impression of cheap indie game, which is a direct contrast to the price of it, currently sitting at $24.99. It is hard to argue this price point considering how lackluster the actual gameplay is, and how hard the game tries to establish itself as a horror game, but fails to feel like one. 2Dark isn’t exactly a bad game per se, it just isn’t as fun to play. Maybe you might enjoy it if you like a frustrating control scheme, clunky inventory management and a save system that baffles because of its use of archaic mechanics to feed on nostalgic memories.
Each of the level featured in 2Dark is rather linear and exploration in them can end up a chore thanks to the inventory management, the lack of visual cues for traps and even items, and the lack of proper saving system that forces the player to manually save before each checkpoint. There is combat featured in the game that allows either melee attacks or using firearms but thanks to the control scheme, it is nowhere as fun to try it out, just as it is the case with exploration.
The basic gameplay involves saving childrens that can be called out to either follow the player or stop so they avoid death from the enemies or traps. However this is another gameplay mechanics that needed time to flesh out because it doesn’t mesh well with some of the level design. Not to mention the addition of Stealth is already bad enough, having to navigate children while forcing to go through a section with Stealth is the tipping point for a archaic design in 2Dark.
Since I played the game on PS4, the control scheme took a while to get used to and it was never as simple to play thanks to the implementation of it. Inventory management is handled using the d-pad while there is also the option to use the weapons or other equip-able items with a dialog wheel. The issue here is that it is not an ideal scenario when you have to manually check and set everything without any explanation on how it works.
It is a shame to see a game like 2Dark failing to hit the potential it shows because I am sure a lot of hard work has been spent to make this game. Still, this doesn’t excuse the flaws it has, but perhaps if you can overlook them, you might have a better time with the game.
2Dark Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: 2Dark is a stealth adventure horror game directed by Frédérick Raynal.
2Dark is a frustrating mess of a game that shows plenty of promise as a concept, but fails to deliver on every single one of them.