There's no shortage of games falling squarely into the "not suitable for kids" category, but occasionally some games push even that to its limits. 2Dark, despite its oddly cute and almost whimsical design, is definitely not suitable for children. The disclaimer on the opening screen even warns of "cruel and shocking content." Make no mistake -- 2Dark is a deeply disturbing game. Throughout the course of the story, references are made to fighting against "child rapists," cannibals, and serial killers, while children are shown to be kidnapped, tortured, and sometimes killed. While Smith is capable of fighting his way through some of the bad guys, players are challenged to try to rescue these kids, then lead them away by sneaking around in the shadows without ever resorting to murder. At the start, the kids are more than willing to follow Smith to safety, but on later levels, these kids exhibit a sort of Stockholm syndrome, refusing to leave their captivity and stubbornly fighting against attempts to save their lives. It's a creepy, dark, and skin-crawling premise that can leave players with a lingering sense of dread long after they've stopped playing.
But if you can strip away 2Dark's somewhat sadistic plot and somehow look past it to the actual gameplay, what you're left with is an average, if not bland, stealth game. You'll need to sneak in the shadows, picking up useful tools along the way and trying your best not to draw any attention to yourself. If you're spotted, it's not usually too difficult to run away and hide, but the problem is that the minute you step out of hiding, you're usually going to run right back into what you ran from to start with. On top of this, there are a lot of cheap traps, puzzles, and other obstacles hiding around each corner, most of which you don't learn about until after it's too late. This means a lot of trial and error, made worse by the fact that, unless you've saved the game frequently, you'll likely be forced to restart the entire level. And since you only have one slot to save the game, there's no way to go back and revisit things without resetting the adventure in its entirety. All in all, it makes for a somewhat frustrating experience, brought down even further when you have to view it through the grisly filter of the game's plot. The game itself may not be expensive, but the bill for the therapy you might need after playing it sure won't be cheap.