Have you ever asked yourself what if Pikmin was a horror game? Well, the devs over at Melting Parrot have created just that with their newly released game, Dap. This horror-action game has you traversing a beautiful and eery world fighting off threats, solving puzzles, and avoiding the infection that twists you and your companions.
In Dap you are tasked with guiding other smaller Daps through a corrupted and dangerous world. An evil like never before snuck through a crack in reality and descended upon the forest in which our adventure takes place. You must get everyone home to your garden in the spirit realm.
The story in Dap is presented through short cutscenes and interactions with gods or other beings in the world. Dap has a beautiful way of showing you the story and what is happening that words aren’t always necessary. Just like how its aesthetic is beautifully crafted, its story is very visual too.
Throughout the game, you are haunted by a darker dap. This dap doesn’t confront you, but it is there to drive curiosity and lure you into new areas. As you progress this dap is shown through cutscenes to be working with the corrupted evil. However, the game does a good job of dangling the carrot in front of you that keeps you wanting to press forward despite the fog you remain in.
Fans of Pikmen will feel a little at home here. You talk to your Daps and can have them follow you or stay in place. Together with your crews of Daps you will be solving puzzles and fighting off corrupted enemies. These enemies appear to be corrupted daps, demons, other monstrosities, and gods.
Dap is a horror game of sorts. The atmosphere is that of a psychedelic trip and it keeps you on your toes. Enemies can appear out of nowhere. They attack fast and ferociously. The stress of walking through the forest after your first few encounters never quite leaves you. As you gather Daps you can collectively attack your foes. The more Daps with you, the stronger your attacks can become.
However, strength in numbers is not always the safest bet in this game. As you cross areas of pure corruption your fellow daps are slowly becoming corrupted themselves. Your army can turn against you in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful. Crafting fire pits will allow you to banish the corruption from you and your Daps before you head back into the world. Making sure you have enough supplies to craft these fires is truly a matter of life and death.
The Spirit Realm
In between chapters you are teleported to what I have called the spirit realm. It is here that you and the daps you have managed to rescue call home. In this space, you will find destroyed tree stumps and an inaccessible portal. Throughout your travels, you will find tree seeds that upon return you can use to revive these trees. The daps you have rescued will call these trees home after you feed them back to life. What will happen upon all the trees coming back will be for you to discover.
The aesthetic in Dap is what immediately grabbed my attention. The world has this psychedelic look to it. Bright colors with a scanline filter, the art has a way of drawing you in. It feels alien and familiar all at once. Zoom in on the trees and plants and you will notice these are made from small, intricate designs. This psychedelic mosaic creates a wonderous and captivating environment unlike any I have ever seen in a game.
The character models are also creative in interesting despite their simplicity. You and your Daps all have this creepy but cute look going for them. You can’t help but love how they look but the second they become corrupted they are a large and terrifying sight to behold. The enemies are all unique in their look and each has a terrifying aspect about them. The devs did such an awesome job creating a cohesive universe that is equally intriguing and terrifying.
One of the top necessary designs for horror games is sound. I can honestly say Dap does a wonderful job in this area. The design does such a good job with the ambiance that you will find your guard starting to drop, forgetting the horrors that surround you. Then, in an instant, you’re ripped from calmness into panic as you’re surrounded by screeching corrupted daps. It’s jarring and spaced out well enough that you never quite fully calm down because anything can pop up instantly.
There isn’t a whole lot that I found necessarily bad about Dap. After having played I do think that enemy variety wasn’t as varied as I would have liked. You do see a lot of the same enemies throughout the game.
The controls can be a bit much during larger fights. I found myself dying a lot, not because the fights were overly tough but because the controls were a bit complicated. I found myself having to move the left stick, aim with the right, hold the right trigger and press the left trigger, and dash with B, all pretty much simultaneously. It was a bit much at times.
Dap is an interesting take on horror games. It truly does a great job of creating a weird and captivating world. The devs sound design and character design did an amazing job of actually creeping me out and scaring me throughout my playthrough. The couple flaws it has are easily overlooked when the rest of the package is done so well. Dap was a pleasant surprise for me and fans of horror should definitely check this out.
Disclaimer: Dap was provided to me by the dev for my review
Dap is a terrifying and beautiful horror game with a dash of Pikmin-like combat and puzzles. One you do not want to miss.