Genre:                Adventure  

Developer & Publisher:           Helsinki Noir          

Released:         October 2015       

Requirements (minimum):

OS: Windows 7+

DirectX: Version 9.0

Hard Drive: 586 MB available space



By flotsam

Black Island

Helsinki Noir

I have no idea how to make a game and I admire people who can. Whether it’s a major commercial production or a minimal labour of love, it’s so much more than I could do.

Nonetheless, if you decide to sell it, and notwithstanding the price, it needs to be entertaining and engaging.

Black Island is unfortunately a lacklustre affair.

According to Steam, I played for 36 minutes to get to the end. That is indicative of the benign nature of the puzzles and the puzzling, even allowing for the “simon says” lights puzzle at the end.

Black Island is, as the name suggests, an island, perhaps a little like the one Dr. Moreau had. Strange goings-on are revealed, but we start in a tent with no memories and a headache. You will find out later the reason for the headache.

Finding the map will allow you to leave the first location and visit three other places on the island. A fourth will became available once you have completed a few conundrums. Each location is made up of a couple of separate static scenes, with some searching to be done. You don’t get hotspots, but you get the odd sparkle here and there suggesting something to look at. Otherwise just click on things and see what happens. There will generally be a few things to find in each location.

It plays in the first person, and the inventory is a big rucksack that sits bottom left. Items can be combined, and are dragged into the game world to use them. The map sits bottom right, and the menu is accessed top right. You can get hints in the menu, access the videos, and continue or exit the game.

There is some sparse ambient sound and a vision or two, and some objects that open and close, but it's by and large a fairly “still” game. Photorealistic environments are something that I enjoy, but these were somewhat flat and sterile. 

Four videos provide the movement and the emotion, and apart from the cheesy doctor they weren’t too bad. They provided the only real atmosphere there was, and for me, the game seemed to be a means to watch them. By comparison with the game, they also seemed a little stuck on.

All of which meant the story didn’t resonate, but it did remind me of Flowers for Algernon.

It was “to be continued”, and while it wasn’t bad, its ordinariness won’t be compelling me to come back.

Grade: C minus

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB


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