Black Sails


Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Deck 13 Interactive

Released:  September 2015

PC Requirements:  

  • OS: Windows XP (SP3) / Vista (SP2) / Windows 7
  • Processor: Processor with at least 2 GhZ
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Direct X9 Compatible Graphics Card with at least 128MB Ram
  • DirectX: Version 9.0




by flotsam


Black Sails

Deck 13 Interactive

So what happens when your ship sinks in the middle of nowhere? If you are Ana and Lex, just climb up a rope and hop on board a passing other one. But then find yourself stuck in a cabin, and sorting out what you think of each other.

Apparently what you think of each other can spill over into how helpful Lex might be. I was rather nice, and he actually wasnít much use, but then I donít know how less helpful he would have been if I had been cranky. You donít play Lex, but you do have conversations with him which, in my game, provided some direction about bigger objectives. It was up to you and Ana to achieve and solve them all though.

You do get to play Fiona, a vision or perhaps something else, who is a 7 year old girl also on the same ship. Most of the time though is spent as Ana, a feisty journalist who is determined to find out what and where they are and what is going on.

Black Sails proclaims to be creepy and mysterious, and that is probably apt. Horror it isnít (although bits of Fionaís story are a tad horrific), and it didnít scare, and the mystery certainly outweighed the creepy, but there were some creepy-ish bits. The sound palette does a good job of adding to the atmosphere of a dark and not altogether inviting ship, and if you play as suggested with the lights off and the sound up, there might be a jump moment here and there.

What there wonít be is a terribly user friendly perspective. The camera has a mind of its own, and by the end I was thoroughly annoyed. Small spaces can be a giant pain to get around, directions can change because of a turned around camera, and you can find yourself hopping about all over the place simply to be able to get to the other side of the room. For me, it was a major irritant. You may not feel the same, but donít say I didnít warn you.

Apart from getting around, the puzzling is largely inventory based. As ever, some conundrums are less obvious than others, but by and large I thought there was reasonable feedback from the game about what might be needed, even if what that was might be a tad fanciful. There were one or two solves that were beyond me, and one or two that were silly. I am also still not sure what to think of the disappearing sextant, but I did like the ďwhere has the ship beenĒ puzzle which it was part of, and which was more an out and out puzzle than an inventory conundrum.

Hotspots are plentiful, and can be very tiny, so the reveal hotspot icon came in handy. The little gear, or the hand icon, was equally welcomely revealed at times. Notes and pages are found throughout the game, which add some depth to the strange goings on, but are awfully hard to read.

It is inspired by (not based on) a true story, which wonít be apparent till the end, and which offers some alternative ends depending on some choices. I have played one so far, which was probably the nice one, but I wonít really know till I try and trigger the others.

The inventory is in a ribbon at the top left of screen, and dragging items onto the magnifying glass will let you look more closely or result in things being taken apart.

It isnít terribly long, but some of the puzzling did keep me scratching my head. I reckon I spent about 6 hours, which would have been longer without a peek or two at a walkthrough.

It is third person point and click all the way, you can save at will, and continue where you left off. If ghosty ship based tales shiver your timbers, you will likely find this a solid, if unspectacular, voyage.

Grade: B

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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