D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Frugal Gaming Review

 

e314-02Roll Up, Roll Up For The Mystery Tour

Fabulous isn’t a word I’ve used before when trying to sum up a game, but it’s the only one that feels suitable when I think about D4.  An Xbox One exclusive with Kinect very much being the way it’s designed to be played may well have put some people off; but whether you choose to play via the Kinect or a regular controller you are in for a real if rather trippy treat!

To describe it as plainly as possible considering it’s creator, D4 or Dark Dreams Don’t Die to give the game it’s full title is a episodic mystery detective game.  You play as David Young, a former police officer turned private eye, who after the brutal murder of his wife has gained a rather interesting ability and a natty scar just like Harry Potter.  Now able to travel to a different point in space and time, its lets you delve into strange cases that would bamboozle regular investigators. The current first season of D4 includes three of these cases plus a rather lengthy prologue that sets up the ensuing madness.

Having only really used voice commands with the Kinect for the last year I was eager to try the game using only the motion controls and I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s clear from the get go that D4 is completely designed around Kinect and it works wonderfully well.  I played sitting down and for the majority of the time just one arm was needed.  Reach out and grab the footstep icon on the floor and you move; swipe left or right to turn on the spot.  Pushing, pulling and grabbing play a part too, it’s really simple and having tried both Kinect and a controller it’s a lot more fun playing with Kinect, especially in the action sequences which will find you fighting a woman who thinks she’s a cat and also a drug dealer in a plane that’s been struck by lightning twenty thousand feet in the air..

d4-01Um Diddle, Diddle Diddle, Um Diddle Ay

Whilst the game mechanics are pretty straight forward, finding clues and questioning people for the majority of the time, it’s the characters themselves and Swery’s personality which really make D4 something special.  I’ve already mentioned the woman who acts like a cat, I’m still not sure if she’s actually a woman and not really a cat who David see’s as a woman – it’s that crazy.  Add to that a fashion designer who wouldn’t have seemed out of place in the nineties TV show Eurotrash, who also has a deep and meaningful relationship with a mannequin;  a muscle mary trolley dolley with a bit of a temper only dulled by drugs; and an extremely strange Surgeon who appears halfway through episode one with knife and fork in hand as he confuses you with riddles. I’m also pretty sure that the main character is bisexual.  It’s a complete whirlwind of stereotypes, some turned completely on their heads, all knowingly mocked and I absolutely love it.

D4 looks great too, think of a much more colourful and polished version of the Walking Dead and you wouldn’t be far off, it’s the perfect art style to truly capture the bizarre ideas that are everywhere in the game.  Music is suitably groovy and ethereal at times; solid voice acting also brings the characters to life in an even more vibrant way and the casting is spot on.  I’d love to have seen the actors faces as they were reading the scripts, I really don’t know how they managed to get the lines out without breaking into fits of laughter.

d4-04It Shakes All Over Like A Jellyfish

You might well have gathered by now that I’ve absolutely loved playing D4, it’s refreshing and possibly the most bonkers game I’ve ever played.  It might not be for everyone but look at it this way – if you’re a fan of Swery you will love it.  If you’re a fan of Japanese games in general you’ll probably love it. Been staring at your Kinect wondering if you’ll ever use it? You’ll love it.

I’d never heard of Swery before playing this, I kind of thought my Kinect was never going to be used, and I still absolutely love it. I love D4 so much that I’m now a proud fan of Swery, I follow him on twitter and instagram, and I’ve just bought his previous game, Deadly Premonition on Steam. My one and only criticism of D4 is that I want more: more episodes, more crazy characters and just more Swery on Xbox one full stop.

9+1*/10

*  gets a +1 for featuring a lot a Cats because Cats rule.

D4 is available digitally for £11.99 on Xbox One and can be found HERE

Developed by Access Games

Published by Microsoft Studios

Written and Directed by Swery