Reviews: Blackwell Unbound
Travel back in time to play both Rosangela's aunt and her spirit guide Joey Malone in the second game in the Blackwell Chronicles
Developer: Wadjet Eye Games
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Genre: Mystery Fantasy Adventure
Release Date: Q4 2007
Note: Originally published 24 January 2008
The Blackwell legacy continues…sort of! In an interesting twist, the story is continued by going back in time to 1973. Instead of Roseangela Blackwell, the player joins Joey Mallone, Blackwell spirit guide, and Roseangela’s aunt, Lauren Blackwell, investigating supernatural goings-on and freeing lost souls in the process. I won’t say any more about the story except to say that the game has brilliant script-writing with characters that stay with you, stellar voice acting, a professional musical score, and anything else you can think of is a high standard. In short, this is a joy to play. I can’t recommend this game enough. It has been one of the best gaming experiences that I’ve had. The only negatives I can convey are that it is on the short side and a little easy. This is going to be one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever done!
The interface is straightforward and intuitive like in the first episode. The players control either Lauren Blackwell or Joey Mallone. The game is point-and-click. Saving and restoring games is easy: the interface scrolls down from the top of the screen when the mouse is moved there.
One of the really great things about the puzzles is that some can only be solved by either Joey or Lauren by themselves. This adds another dimension to the puzzle-solving.
The music, ambient sound, and acting are all top-notch, mixed in very well so that levels are always very solid. Those with a bent for jazz will be tapping their toes while playing. There is even a theme song!
Characters are interesting and we grow to care about them…deeply. The dialog and interactions in this story are sensational. In addition to the twisted storyline in this game, there is an overarching ominous feeling that permeates the game and links in to the previous episode (a sequel, really) and the upcoming third part of the series.
And should you get “bored” during the game (this is about as likely as a politician telling the truth to their electorate), you can switch on the commentary, DVD-style, which lets the listener into the process involved in designing and developing the game, courtesy of Dave and Erin Robinson, lead artist.
One of the quality extras that Dave includes in his games are all the bonuses. In The Blackwell Legacy, Dave provided all the extras to anyone successfully completing the game. This time he’s turned them into Easter eggs acquired by taking photographs of particular people in the game. This then provides the successful player with a password that is used in conjunction with the photographs. The four bonus areas are:
- Bloopers and voice actor directing
- Concept art including bonus art for episode three, The Blackwell Convergence
- Music created for but not used in the game
- Interview with the game’s artist
All I can say is that I am blown away by everything Dave Gilbert does. Every game is high quality, but amazingly, the quality is getting better with each successive release!
Dave is keen to get feedback about his games and even invites criticism on his website. He has a droll sense of humor, which is apparent in all his games too. Visit www.wadjeteyegames.com. This is definitely a developer going places FAST!
As I’ve said earlier, I like this game A LOT. It readily deserves an A. I don’t want to say anything more to lessen a player’s enjoyment so a short review is all that’s needed here. Stop wasting time reading my review and get yourself a copy!
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