I absolutely adore the walking simulator genre or at least it’s one of the several names certain adventure narrative titles are given by the online gaming community. Essentially, these are titles that allow just about anyone to enjoy the video game without having to remember different input combinations or complex game mechanics.
In the past I’ve enjoyed these such titles which include Life is Strange, Firewatch, Gone Home, and Virginia. As you could imagine, when Blackwood Crossing was unveiled, it was one title I instantly became attracted towards.
Could Blackwood Crossing be another hit title such as Life is Strange? One that tugs at our heartstrings and leads us on an enduring narrative campaign? Let’s break down the video game and ultimately give you our impressions.
Since this is a shorter title, I won’t dwell too long on the narrative, especially since the story is a key aspect in Blackwood Crossing. Players take on the role of a teenage girl named Scarlett who finds herself in a makeshift dream world. Tasked with watching over her younger brother, Finn, Scarlett taps into a void of personal life, love, and loss.
If you enjoy deep rich narratives, Blackwood Crossing really had some substance to go through, though I really wished it went on longer as I completed the game surprisingly in under two hours. Grant it, I probably could have stretched it out further if I opted to explore areas though it was a bit hard to do with the narrative enticing me to progress.
Game mechanics are easy to grasp. Players can maneuver around the world, interact or investigate with NPCs and objects, along with cycle through items you’ve picked up along the way. Besides exploration, progressing the title will require puzzle solving, most of which are simple to get through and doesn’t offer very much of a challenge.
Furthermore, while on the subject of game mechanics, I honestly wished there was an ability to give Scarlett a slight boost in movement. I felt moving around the game world was a crawl and it did become a slight annoyance at times.
While Scarlett can interact with NPCs, when communicating with her brother Finn, the game presents players with three choices that adjusts her tone of replies and remarks. You could go the gentle route and comfort Finn or scold him. Unfortunately, after playing through the game twice, the different responses didn’t alter the story or narrative.
Visually the game was bright and colorful at times though could instantly transform into a dark cold world. Shadows were also a bigger portion of the visuals with Blackwood Crossing and helped set the tone of a particular scene.
I also don’t have any complaints when it comes to the audio side of things. Most of the cast sounded great and while there wasn’t much of an ambient sound throughout the game, the soundtrack felt absolutely perfect.
Again, I could go further on with the narrative, though with being as short as it is, I don’t want to spoil what you’ll unfold when starting it up. I’m actually a bit disappointed that the development team over at PaperSeven LTD didn’t expand a bit more for the title. In fact, the ending scene was almost too much of a tease and felt as it ended way too abruptly.With this being my one real gripe when it came to the video game, its not one that would really sway gamers from picking up the title for the PC, PS4, or Xbox One.
Looking back at it now, maybe this is more of a double-edged sword issue for the developers. On one side, the game was too short, but the narrative was rich enough that it has me hoping this will not be the last time we see Scarlett.
Disclosure: A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes.