First-person games where you walk around slowly and not do much else are a growing trend. In strolls Blackwood Crossing, an emotional tale involving siblings and their journey to find peace. However, is it a tale worth telling?
Blackwood Crossing begins with Scarlet waking up on a train where her brother Finn acts like a stereotypical little boy and teases her. However, things soon turn mysterious when strange seemingly lifeless masked individuals are discovered onboard. We realise soon into the journey that these people are from the siblings' past but what are they doing here and why are they so creepy?
Thankfully, the world of Blackwood Crossing is absolutely gorgeous. Although you'll only explore a handful of environments (including the train, a tree house, and a lovely little island), everything comes together to form a memorable and wonderfully atmospheric tale. Some moments can be filled with tension while others are laidback with a subtle sense of wistfulness. This is Blackwood Crossing's strongest feature by far so if you enjoy simply being in an unfamiliar world then you'll like what you see here.
Considering Finn is the only substantial character in the entire game that you'll interact with, it's fantastic to see how well he is portrayed. The animations are phenomenal and he ends up coming across as a character lifted straight from a Disney movie. The voice acting is well-done, too, although the odd line seems like it's delivered without much emotional context.
All of this being said, I'm reviewing a video game and not a movie so let's move on to the gameplay. Unfortunately, Blackwood Crossing is one of the most boring games that I've ever played. Not only does Scarlet walk super-slow, most "puzzles" are extremely tedious. For example, walking around a large area while trying to interact with people in the correct order can be nothing short of irritating. Keep in mind; you have to accomplish that exact feat a few times which is ridiculous. Other situations involve absorbing fire then carrying it to certain places and drawing black clouds to light sources. None of this is tricky or thought-provoking so it all ends up being downright boring shortly into the adventure. If that's not enough, the entire game can easily be completed in one sitting and there are absolutely no replay incentives (unless you just have to get all of the trophies / achievements).
Finally, let's discuss the story for a bit. Don't worry; I won't spoil anything. Basically, you'll either appreciate the emotional aspect or find it too straightforward and obvious to enjoy. In other words, it absolutely features a beautiful story but on the other hand, it's delivered in a predictable way. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because I can see many people taking a heartfelt experience away from Blackwood Crossing. It's just that it could have been presented in a way that kept you guessing instead of unfolding as linearly as it does.
As a video game, Blackwood Crossing fails to deliver any sort of worthwhile gameplay. However, as an interactive experience, some may find its emotional story relatable and heartfelt which might just make it a satisfying journey.
- + Beautiful visuals and well-accomplished atmosphere that forms a memorable world
- + Finn's animations are superb
- + Can be a touching story for some
- - The gameplay is tedious and unchallenging with no real puzzles to be found
- - Incredibly short with no replay value
- - Others may find the story too cliché