A Walk In The Dark Review
The indie surge has been significant over the last decade. With Xbox Live Arcade leading the charge for small developers, we’ve seen a slew of classic titles over the years that may of otherwise never came to be. A Walk in the Dark from developers Flying Turtle was actually released five years ago on PC, at a time when the indie scene was becoming more prolific. And with every good title we also saw something best left alone. Prolific titles have been a clear influence for A Walk in the Dark. Super Meat Boy and Limbo being two primary examples. But can a blend of them both create something great?
There’s no fancy story or long winded cut scenes when you begin your walk in the dark. You first take control of a cat, called Bast. Whilst playing outdoors in the forest with your owner, a young girl known as Arielle, you wander a bit too far and accidentally awake an evil spirit. Woops. And as such, the spirit decides to take Arielle and imprison her, leaving Bast to save the day.
A Walk in the Dark takes its guise as a platformer, but not built in conventional standards. You have to work your way through 100 levels in your quest to save Arielle. Whilst this may sound a lot, each level is short, but also sweet.
The premise lay with working your way through each area without even touching an enemy or deathly traps in your environment. In a true one hit one kill nature, you’re going to have to summon all your platforming skills to navigate each level. Some of which can be completed in ten seconds, others may take a minute or so. But the real challenge presents itself with the structure of your environment. There’s many instances where you constantly have to think ahead, and act quick in a true test of skill. And whilst early levels ease you into the game, later on becomes much more testing. To the point of frustration, but also leaving you with the desire to beat each level, rather than let the game beat you. The controls are very responsive and fluid. It’s easy to make a mistake, but that’s only down to the player.
You split play between Bast and Arielle and with each comes a different play style. Bast features both normal, and fast scrolling levels to ramp up the challenge. Whilst Arielle’s environments test you in a different nature through being able to walk upside. Each style of play alternates regularly which never leads to you feeling exhausted with one particular style.
Graphically, A Walk in the Dark takes its inspiration from Limbo, with the forefront of levels in a shadowy, black setting. Whilst the backgrounds are simplistic, it’s a beautifully crafted design that’s pleasing on the eye. The eye-catching graphics are also coupled with an excellent and atmospheric soundtrack to suit the mood.
You may be able to blitz through the game in a few hours or less, dependent on skill. But there’s time challenges for each level to complete, along with a separate challenge mode to unlock to keep you coming back. It shall not be easy though. And the fact there’s an achievement for gaining a thousand deaths should put some context to the challenge you face ahead.
A Walk in the Dark doesn’t re-invent the wheel. But for a game that’s been available for five years already, it does stand the test of time with its Xbox One release. With well-crafted environments that feature a real challenge for even the most seasoned of gamers, this is one indie title that can firmly sit proud as part of any indie gaming fans collection.
A Walk in the Dark is available now from the Xbox Store, priced £5.79.