A Walk in the Dark Reviews

1,278,626 (747,075)
TA Score for this game: 390
Posted on 06 September 17 at 06:35, Edited on 06 September 17 at 10:01
This review has 6 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Once upon a time, there was a girl and her cat. One day, they were playing in the woods, when the cat was distracted by a shiny.

If you know cats, you know how they are with shinies.

The cat ran off into the woods, the girl was kidnapped, the cat... we don't need a story here. This is a side-scrolling, 2-D platformer. Girl meets cat, yada yada.

A Walk in the Dark may draw many comparisons to the incomparable LIMBO, perhaps the gold standard of the dark side-scrolling platformer. Several other games have attempted to replicate the feel and elegance of LIMBO, notably Monochroma, but haven't really approached it. A Walk in the Dark attempts to add a few twists to the pattern, and those allow it to succeed on its own.

Rather than being a single continuous adventure, A Walk in the Dark is comprised of 100 discrete levels. The player begins as Bast, a cat, leaping and clawing through levels while avoiding spikes, porcupines, missiles, and buzzsaws. (Has anyone really considered what buzzsaws are doing in the middle of a forest?) As levels increase in difficulty, leaps must be timed to avoid obstacles--the standard fare of platformers.

After several levels, we assume the role Arielle, Bast's caretaker. (Remember, while dogs have owners, cats have staff. Those of you with cats know what I mean.) In these levels, we are introduced to her jump mechanic: every time she jumps, she flips from ground to ceiling and vice versa. These levels require quite a different method and problem solving, but the goal remains the same.

Further along, returning to Bast, we are introduced to the forced side-scroll. Bast must flip from floor to ceiling, avoiding obstacles along the way. Levels become more complicated as lighted spots on the floor and ceiling trigger an automatic flip. Players must learn the pattern in order to move through the level, since there is no time to stop and examine the path ahead.

As you might expect from any game with spinning buzzsaws in every wall and tree, you can expect to die quite often, disappearing in a puff of dust. Avoiding death can be tricky due to the precise timing needed to navigate the obstacles. One drawback to the game is that the movement of the characters does not seem to be quite as fluid as it could be, leading to some frustration at times. However, I found over time that once I was used to the movement, this was no longer a problem. (In other words, I only had to blame myself for dying over and over.)

There are several achievements tied to dying quite a number of times, but there is another achievement for completing all 100 levels in one setting whilst dying no more than 10 times. In playing through this, I died in excess of 10 times **in one level,** so this will likely require quite a lot of practice and patience (and perhaps judicious use of the pause menu and restart button). The game also features separate challenge levels that unlock through story progress. These seem to require a bit more precision than the rest, so you can expect to pad your death count some more.

The music in the game is worth noting. Composed for the game by Cody Cook, the game features 30 minutes of somber piano melodies that provide an excellent backdrop to the leaping and flipping throughout the game. The soundtrack also provides a modicum of calm just when controllers might be flying across the room.

A Walk in the Dark is a solid game with an inviting atmosphere and gameplay designed to test your platforming skills. Learning the best path through the 100 levels in the main game is enough to add replayabilty to the title, and the achievement list includes motivation to do that without being overly grindy.

And as an added bonus, you get to play as a cat. How cool is that?
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