“D4,” short for “Dark Dreams Don’t Die,” is an adventure game from Hidetaka Suehiro (aka SWERY), the director of “Deadly Premonition” among other titles. “D4” takes a different tack from some of SWERY’s earlier work, however, casting players in the role of Detective David Young, a former Boston PD sleuth turned private eye who is obsessed with getting to the bottom of his wife’s murder. The game world is a blending of reality, David’s fantasies, and his ability to travel back in time and experience things as they happened in the past. It’s all presented with a stylish, cel-shaded look with plenty of character and slick animation and lighting.
As a Kinect-driven game, motion controls are a major part of the “D4” experience, letting you reach out to examine objects or execute quick deflect gestures to ward off attackers. But unlike your fitness or dancing title, a game of “D4” can still be played while seated on the couch — even with a controller, should you prefer. But don’t expect indiscriminate flailing; exploring the world requires stamina points, and players will only have a limited number of these in a given area. Thus a puzzle element comes into play, requiring players to carefully choose what they do, and in what order they do it, based on the clues the game gives them.
Additionally, “D4” features plenty of murder-mystery story, revolving around a series of bizarre interactions with characters David encounters throughout the game. Some, like the enigmatic Amanda, a woman who “just started living at his house one day,” seem highly mysterious at first. Others will come to be understood by examining clues — the sole of a woman’s high-heeled shoe, for example, can trigger one of David’s time-traveling memories. David himself keeps a running internal monologue, film-noir style, to let you know what’s going on in his head. But the game is also filled with between-the-lines allusions and interconnected story elements that will only be revealed as players get further and further in.
“D4” is planned for a first season, with more seasons to come in the future. It is single-player only and will be available exclusively for the Xbox One this year.