Dark and Deep First Impressions – Watch Out What Podcasts You Listen to

When it comes to horror games, I prefer a more psychological experience, rather than one that bombards you with jump scares. When I saw the Dark and Deep trailer with its mysterious aesthetic, it looked like it was the kind of experience I was looking for. Once I realized that, on top of that, the game was being created by a solo developer, I was even more impressed, eager to see how the game is like.

Dark and Deep starts with you playing a character by the name of Samuel Judge, as he’s driving and listening to a podcast (aptly) named Dark and Deep. Along the way, his van loses control and drives off a cliff, while a mysterious girl watches. He wakes up in an unknown area that doesn’t look like our normal reality, and now he presumably needs to find his way out.

The story is split into three main Parts, but for this demo I was only able to play the majority of the first, and the opening of the second. It’s not clear if you continue playing as Samuel between these Parts, or if you switch characters. Either way, I did find the story quite interesting, and I have a lot of questions that I would like to see answered in the full version of the game.

The gameplay is fairly simple, as you can only do simple actions such as jumping and picking up objects. The biggest mechanic in this game revolves around using Frames that you can pick up. Once you find a Frame, you can hold it up to use its unique function. From what I was able to play, I saw two Frames — one lets you find hidden objects, while the other allows you to see and kill enemies by looking through it.

dark and deep frame use
One of the main uses of this Frame is to reveal pools of Ember

Levels in the game are fairly linear, without any branching paths, and the puzzles so far have been pretty simple, centered around activating machines using a… something you find, called Ember (it’s a mysterious substance with a few uses, but it’s a bit difficult to describe). While the puzzles slowly got more involved once the enemies started to get introduced into the gameplay, I still found them quite easy.

Overall, while the idea of using the Frames is intriguing, I think the gameplay could start feeling stale if the developer doesn’t add more challenges and interesting items to discover in the upcoming Parts. The tutorials do suggest that there will be more Frames to get, which I am hoping would contribute to the excitement, along with a larger variety of enemies.

Overall, I enjoyed Dark and Deep. If nothing else, the story did catch my interest, and now I want to see how the girl and the mysterious place (and maybe even that podcast) connect with Samuel himself. Of course, the experience will be even more enticing if things do pick up a bit after the introduction, along with some novelty and variety for the game’s enemies and the core Frame mechanic.

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I'm a huge gamer who especially loves the Final Fantasy series. I will play just about any game, especially if it has anything resembling a Dragoon.

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