2Dark
Developer: Gloomywood
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Steam, Xbox One
Reviewed By Brian M. Sammons

2Dark is a 2D (ha, see what they did there?) top down view game. Think of a dual-stick shooter, just without all of the bullet hell. This is stealth horror puzzle game. Yeah, that seems like a pretty weird combination, and things further make you go “hmmmm” when you learn that it’s from the creator of the game that started the whole survival horror thing. And if you just thought of Resident Evil when I said that, then you need to brush up on your horror gaming history, because I’m talking about the real granddaddy of it all, Alone in the Dark. So 2Dark has an interesting premise and a good creator pedigree, but is it worth a get, even at the bargain price of an indie game? Well grab your flashlight, a whole bunch of batteries, and let’s find out.

Despite the nostalgic retro graphics, things start off pretty dark in this game. I guess that’s appropriate from a game with “dark” in its title, created by a group of developers called Gloomywood. In fact things literally being in a town called Gloomywood, when your main character, a police detective named Smith, takes his family out to the woods for some good, cleaning communing with nature. Before the first night is over, your wife will be viciously murdered and both your son and daughter will be abducted. Jump ahead a number of years and your cop is now an ex-cop. He spends all his time, energy, and resources looking into cases of kidnapping, hoping to discover what happened to his children.

Yeah, so that’s some real cheery stuff for the basis of a game, huh?

As a former cop, you fall back on your old skills to investigate a number of creepy locations, relying more on stealth than out-and-out confrontation. You find items that you can use, puzzle-like, to progress forward. There are a mix of enemies to be avoided, or in some instances dispatched, and there a few ways and different weapons for you to do that. But rest assured, stealth is the key to this game. The combat is serviceable, but not great or even all that fun, and enemies always have an advantage over you. Even if you have a gun, bad guys will take three or four hits to go down, but they usually have guns too, and weirdly, usually one shot is enough to kill you. At the end of almost every level there is a boss to beat, some kids to rescue (see, that’s nice), and clues to gather so you can continue exploring the mystery of what happened to your family and why.

That’s all some good, creepy stuff. Now for some not so good, and buddy, is it a deal breaker.

But by far the biggest condemnation I can hold this game accountable for is the number of bugs that it still has at the time of release. Not the “ha, ha, look at that bit of weirdness, isn’t that funny?” kind of bugs. No I’m talking about bugs that stop the game flat, literally break the game, and make it impossible to progress. All you can do if that happens is restart a previous save and hope the glitch doesn’t appear again. That happened to me twice. The first time I was willing, begrudgingly, to overlook it. The second time? Oh, hell no. Now look, I’m guessing the development house that made this is a tiny outfit, but delivering a broken game is not acceptable in any way, shape, or form, no matter who you are, and it seems only video games are given a pass on it. Because god knows, they can (and hopefully will) patch it later. But for the here and now, I just can’t recommend this title. Shame, as it has a novel premise and a dark-as-night story, and I was enjoying my time with it until it just stopped working. But would you buy a broken car? What about a movie that stopped playing 37 minutes in? How about a novel with the last chapter removed? No, of course you wouldn’t, so don’t buy broken games. Maybe after a few patches this game will be worth a get. Maybe. But for now: pass.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.