When a game sells itself on being demonic hell and full of demons and such I expect it to deliver. More Dark puts all of its demonic prowess into its promotional art and instead gives you a block puzzle game that is all about creating paths to traverse around single screen levels. There is barely a demon in sight.
There are a few crucial mechanics to More Dark which took me a while to get used to across its 60 levels. the first of which is that you can push blocks but not pull them and the blocks can be dropped or pushed onto your enemies. Once you’ve killed all the enemies by squashing them by block or by jump, you need to reach the exit. Often levels revolve around knowing when to push a block somewhere to create a path back out of a corner you’ve worked yourself into. Early on your jump is… well…woeful. The level design works with this and the fact that levels screen wrap. Run or push a block off one side of the screen, it’ll appear on the other.
What follows is 60 levels that slowly introduce other mechanics such as bombs, enemies that move (!) and double jumps that will add new variations to things. The goal always remains the same though – kill the enemies and get out. Boss levels are laughably easy. The first one just runs back and forth and you jump on its head a few times. It might shoot something occasionally. It is very generic. What is more fun is that following a boss you’ll get a retro inspired minigame. Fancy playing breakout with a bouncy demon? Go for it! It breaks up the monotony and I’d have liked to have seen these ideas explored further.
The main issue with More Dark is that it is so safe and generic that it doesn’t stand out for being bad or good. It just is. I immediately forgot about it after playing and had to refresh myself by looking at gameplay footage I’d captured when it came to making the review video. That isn’t a ringing endorsement. I also found the controls a bit cumbersome. Your character handles in a very heavy manner that meant on more than a few occasions, I wasn’t sure if a jump was going to work or not. I felt like I’d do the same thing twice and get different results. I’m also surprised Ratalaika Games didn’t bring this to Vita as its a natural fit for quick puzzling on the go. Next time I won’t be suckered in by the promo art. Lesson learned.
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