We tried the demo of Darwake: Awakening from the Nightmare, the upcoming project by LF Vision, an Italian indie game studio.


LF Vision is working on a 2D adventure puzzle game called Darwake: Awakening from the Nightmare, and from the title alone, it’s evident that it’s a horror game set in a surreal context.

The demo is very short (about ten minutes), yet it allows us to grasp the tone and atmosphere of the story, as well as appreciate its technical quality right away.

LF Vision is an Italian team of independent developers. Luigi Fuggi is the founder and serves as the Art Director and Project Manager. The team consists of industry experts aiming to create products that offer an immersive and innovative artistic and graphic experience.

Darwake: Awakening from the Nightmare appears to be their debut title, and I believe there are promising signs that we’ll soon encounter a well-crafted and distinctly unique product.

A Haunting Adventure

The demo provides us with the basic information we need to understand the heart of Darwake: Awakening from the Nightmare’s storytelling, although I hope the plot unfolds more originally than it seems.

Our protagonist is Darwin, a child initially seen lying down, surrounded by adults—the Marelaw, presumably his family—desperately assisting him as Darwin fails to wake up, despite all possible medical efforts.

His awakening depends on him.

From here, we immediately embark on the adventure. It’s a chilling, horror-toned journey where terrifying creatures watch young Darwin progress along a path in the woods. The child is trapped in his own mind and, like in a dream, faces dangers and misadventures that, once solved, hopefully lead to his awakening.

Darwin’s goal in this dreamlike adventure appears to be to reach—and perhaps save—a girl named Lisa, presumably his sister. When we first encounter her, she is crying and runs away, prompting us to clearly pursue and somehow reach her.

This reminds me a lot of Limbo, but also Bramble: The Mountain King, where a fragile and defenseless child must chase after a sister.

We won’t face this journey into the subconscious alone. At some point, we encounter an owl that acts as a companion and, importantly, reaches the highest and most inaccessible points in Darwin’s place. When I tried the demo with a Playstation controller, I found myself using the “square” button to switch between the owl and Darwin.

In the demo, the actions are very basic: in addition to the mentioned “square” button, we can jump with the “X” button, while the “circle” button allows us to grab or push certain objects.

A Style that Works

Darwake: Awakening from the Nightmare is a hand-drawn 2D adventure puzzle game, with gameplay that is quite simple and follows in the footsteps of cult classics like Limbo, where we navigate through a path filled with dangers that often we can’t avoid, and maybe dying is the best way to understand how to overcome the obstacle. Fortunately, similar to Limbo, the checkpoints are so frequent that we don’t have to replay long sections of the game. I also found similarities with Little Nightmares, another game where atmosphere, aesthetics, and storytelling play a predominant role over gameplay.

Another game that Darwake reminded me of is Darq, not so much for its graphic style or gameplay, but for the eerie atmosphere and sickly air surrounding the protagonist. In both cases, the protagonist explores the depths of their own mind, experiencing the adventure within a dream.

The originality, in this case, lies mainly in the artistic style, characterized by an expressive and creative design that I greatly appreciated.

In fact, the aspect we can analyze the most in these brief ten minutes of the demo is the graphics. Darwake is a side-scrolling platformer, but thanks to the type of illustrations, it gains depth, almost resembling 3D.

The creatures in the background are also the standout feature. Excellently crafted from a technical standpoint and very original, they create a sense of unease and clearly convey the danger of the challenging journey Darwin must face.

In Conclusion

I’m very curious to experience Darwake: Awakening from the Nightmare in its entirety because, to be honest, the demo leaves us somewhat unsatisfied. It gives us a glimpse of the product but shows us very little, leaving us curious to continue exploring this nightmare rich in interesting ideas.


Unfortunately, we don’t have a official release date yet, and we hope there won’t be too long of a wait. I’m always excited to discover Italian products, especially when they have a strongly expressive aesthetic like LF Vision’s, to which I sincerely wish great success with this small yet fascinating gem.

Useful links:

LF Vision official website

Darwake: Awakening from the Nightmare Steam page

I'm an Italian artist who came late to the gaming world but fell in love with it right away. I'm not the best gamer, and I choose titles that appeal to my personal preferences, but I can appreciate the graphics content and artistic solutions above all, even as I learn about all the fascinating game development features.