I’ve recently had the chance to try the indie horror, Dark and Deep. Developed by solo creator Walter Woods, a professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Dark and Deep, has players living through the eyes of an IT guy who has a troubled past and an obsession with conspiracy podcasts.

As of writing this preview and playing the demo version of Dark and Deep. The game does have controller support and is intended to be playable on Valve’s Steam Deck upon release.

While I love a broad spectrum of game genres, horror and puzzles aren’t what I usually invest time into. However, coming from a similar background as the developer. I felt compelled to jump in and experience the game.

Check out the Release Date Trailer

In the opening segment of the game, you find yourself in a van, listening to a podcast titled “Dark and Deep: Dear Listener.” As you glance around, you see evidence scattered everywhere and a body, wrapped and sealed, lying before you. The podcast ends abruptly as the van careens off a cliff, throwing everything, including the mysterious body, into chaos. A dark figure watches this unfold.

When the true gameplay begins, you find yourself in a corridor. From the start, you realize you’re an ordinary man. Your movements are heavy and deliberate, your footsteps echoing through the corridor. The walls are adorned with eerie pictures, giving you the sensation of descending into hell. The artwork is characterized by thick, heavy black lines on a white canvas, a theme that continues into your environment as you leave the corridor.

Before you, an open cavern. A shadow cast by a person, which you can’t find. In front of you, an ornate mirror. Picking this up and looking through, you can see someone there. Turning the mirror around, a message is presented to you. As you begin to approach the mysterious figure, they disappear.

This is very much how the narrative unfolds throughout your time with Dark and Deep. A series of mysterious, and unseen figures and messages which push you on as you uncover what has happened.

In the darkness, there’s more to discover than just story beats and collectibles. As you progress through the story, you will encounter distorted creatures intent on taking your life. Initially, you are unable to directly combat these entities that seek to extinguish your spark. However, you can drive them back by looking at them through a picture frame and focusing on them.

Look at that creepy boy!

At this point in the game’s development, their animations are a bit stiff, which can make locating and focusing on them challenging. However, after a brief adjustment period, you’ll be able to tackle them with ease. Despite this, the frequent jump scares might be overwhelming, especially for someone who tends to be twitchy in these types of games.

As you delve further into Dark and Deep, you discover what appears to be your desk. This setting provides opportunities to listen to podcasts and converse with an offscreen character. While the attention to detail is impressive throughout the entire experience, it truly shines here. The subtle interactions offer glimpses into your character’s persona, allowing you to piece together details and get a sense of who you are. Even just sitting there, listening to the podcasts and the sponsored segments that follow each episode, the world feels believable and alive.

Dark and Deep has a lot to offer fans of the cult horror scene. Everything presented here is crisp, with audio cues that perfectly enhance the tension. The focus on conspiracies, combined with the main character’s journey, creates an intriguing story that I can’t wait to fully explore when the game launches.

Try the demo of Dark and Deep now on Steam, and be sure to leave feedback for the developer, Walter Woods. You can also join his Discord to discuss the game further.