I love twin-stick shooting and mechs so when I saw the trailer for Blackwind, I just had to give it a go and I'm quite glad that I did.
Blackwind tells the tale of James Hawkins who finds himself in a mech known as a Battle Frame after his ship is gunned down. Upon landing on the alien planet of Medusa-42, he discovers that the Raknos (an alien race) is attacking mining colonies and James' father is missing, too. So, it's up to him to venture forth in order to fend off the aliens and hopefully reconnect with his dad. v1d30chumz 34-231-247-88
To be frank, I didn't really click with James and found his constant jokes to be kind of cringey with obvious one-liners and eye-rolling meta humour. With that in mind, the voice acting is well-done and I was happy whenever I met a new character along the journey. Plus, the visuals are rather standard yet there's a neon aesthetic to combat that really pops; so much so that it makes blasting away aliens even more satisfying, especially when you can perform a finishing move where you rip their limbs off and stab them into their chest.
Now that I'm talking about combat, Blackwind is an intuitive game to master. The core gameplay will have you running around with the left stick, aiming with the right, and you can jump, block, parry, and dash to avoid taking damage from your foes' attempted attacks. Meanwhile, your attacks consist of a couple of melee buttons, a long-range blaster, and homing missiles. As you progress, you'll learn more moves that change up the gameplay such as a glide ability, a temporary power boost mode called BlackMode, a ground-slam attack, various melee combos, and you can even detach a drone that can shoot and deploy mines with. Not only that, you can upgrade almost every move with earned currency that you get from defeating enemies. It's one heck of a rewarding arsenal for sure. 😄
Even though that sounds like a lot, Blackwind's gameplay remains intuitive which is excellent if you want to play it cooperatively with a friend as they can easily jump in with little explanation required. Another enjoyable aspect is exploration and puzzle-solving because you can find some cool things scattered around the world of Blackwind. For example, there are 15 skins to choose from and each one looks very cool. Thankfully, there is a fast-travel system that you can access at any upgrade station which streamlines things nicely.
On the downside, Blackwind's campaign is unfortunately uneven with many segments that are downright tedious. Specifically, the facilities that you have to explore will force you to run back and forth as you unlock doors and it's easy to get lost because there's only a small mini-map. Even outside of these facilities, I regularly didn't know what to do next as the vague objectives expect you to memorize where everything is which isn't always feasible. If there was a comprehensive map system with clear objectives, this wouldn't be an issue. Lastly, the controls can be finicky at times such as when you can't jump due to invisible ceilings and once in a while, my character would get pushed around and I'd have very little control over it. More often than not, that happened when I was controlling the drone.
Blackwind is an enjoyable twin-stick shooter that features intuitive gameplay and a wealth of satisfying moves. That being said, if its campaign was structured in a more comprehendible manner then it would be a much more fulfilling adventure.
- + Intuitive twin-stick action that's enjoyable solo or cooperatively with a friend
- + Flashy neon visuals and solid voice work
- + Lots of rewarding upgrades and secrets
- - Many parts of the campaign are tedious and it's very easy to not know how to progress
- - Controls can sometimes be finicky