„The Dark“ is an audio game. Since I worked on an audio game last year (ditched the project, though) I really expected it to be accessible – but unfortunately the main menu, the tutorial and the winning screen are without any audio feedback.
However, playing the game itself is possible for visual impaired and blind people: After starting the game, press return to start. Press ESC for 5 seconds to return to the main menu and then press return to restart. Ingame, use the Up-Arrow-Key to walk forward, left or right arrow keys to turn by 90°, and down arrow for a 180° turn, A-key for attack and the F-Key or H-Key to use herbs. Alt and F4 to quit the game. If you can’t move in any direction anymore but didn’t hear a death scream from your character, you have won.
As you might have figured out after this short tutorial, the game itself is very, very raw and a bit barebone. After having entered a dungeon to fight a nameless evil, your character was blinded by a curse. Eager to fulfill the mission you have to start to use your head to navigate through the corridors and rooms – whenever you hit a wall with it, a „bonk“ sound is played. On your way, you’ll encounter enemies that you fight by hitting into the right direction, and objects that can are either picked up or are instantly activated by your character. The nature of the latter is never explained, but the corresponding sounds seemingly indicate their use.
The game requires a lot of trial and error and – at least for me – some good old mapping. The fact that you don’t get any information about the game except the basic controls is both frustrating and exciting – in the end it tickled me enough that I retried again and again until I eventually finished it, and I had a fun time doing so. While the need of having to guess about pretty much every aspect of the game is a matter of taste, in the end the game works well, is fully playable and covers a niche that is still sparsely endowed. Also, it could be a good blueprint for a more fleshed out and detailed game – the basic concept could easily be expended on, and especially the addition of acoustic narration would allow for a deep and interesting gameplay.
„The Dark“ is available on Itch for 1$, which is fair. The game was also included in the bundle for racial justice. Native Linux support is available.
The developer, Eric Koziol, seems to make mainly mobile phone games by now. Beside of „The Dark“ they made a rudimentary life simulator that I didn’t play, but it seems like the antithesis to Timothy Learys idea of entering another existence by playing video games, pointing out the uniformity of existence. The other game they made looks like a much less experimental 2D action game.
If you want to dig deeper into audio games, AudioGames.net offers a good list. Some of the entries require you to be trained in precise hearing, while others are easily accessible.