BLACKHOLE: COMPLETE EDITION
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on August 16, 2017
Ground control to coffee guy
Ground control to coffee guy
Collect all nanobots and make this spaceship fly
Ground control to coffee guy...
My sincere apologies to everyone who loves David Bowie for this utterly silly rendition of Space Oddity, but it does sum up the basic premise of the game I'm going to review today. Yes, space cadets; it's time to earn our stripes and save the earth from the threat of Black Holes!
The year is 2121. A brave space crew is on their way to the last black hole in the known universe, with the intention to close it once and for all and save the earth, and all of humanity, from the threat of being sucked into oblivion. You are one of these crew members. So, what are you? A radio specialist? An explosive expert? A genius that knows all there is to know about our universe? No, you're... the coffee-maker assistant. Or, as you are known to the rest of the crew: the Coffee Guy!
Before I go on, I would like to ask you, guys and girls out there, a question. Why the hell do we want to go out into space anyway?! I don't know if it's just me, but in every movie or game that I've ever seen and played, the only things that seem to happen out there are, well, bad! It's always :"sudden decompression" this, or "Captain, we seem to have drifted off course by about a gazillion miles!" that. Or even, and this is my personal favorite: the never-failing "OH MY GOD WE'RE GOING TO DIE!!!!" This last one might be caused by any number of reasons, such as: heading straight for the sun or getting our asses handed to us by an advanced race of perpetually angry aliens.
But, all that aside, we're going on a dangerous mission anyway! And we've got a crack crew, so what could possibly be wrong? What do you mean, we're off course and are being sucked into the very black hole we were meant to close?! Luckily our ship, the spaceship Endera, comes equipped with a state of the art AI that can get us out of this predicament safe and sound. But alas, our captain suffers from an ego that is roughly the same size as our universe, so he decides he can save the crew on his own and overrides the AI. Long story short: things go awry at the speed of light and the Endera crash lands in the black hole. All of the crew is missing, except for you, the Coffee guy and the AI, which is now transferred to a PDA. Being a female AI, she is not happy about this lack of sexiness and gives you a hard time about it... incessantly.
Be that as it may; it is now your job to repair the Endera and, if it's in all possible, find the missing crew members! To do so, you will have to make your way through a strange and alien universe and collect little nanobots, called Selfburns. You will need to collect at least one Selfburn in each stage in order to repair your spaceship. And let me tell you; this sounds easier than it is! Why? Because you are human and can only jump so high. So, in order to collect the Selfburns, you will need to change the direction of gravity. Now, this in itself is not a new concept, but the way Blackhole goes about doing this, is. Instead of your character flying all over the screen when you change gravity, the entire level rotates to match your personal "south". What this does is that it gives you a new perspective on a level every time the direction changes.
You see, every level contains a number of glowing areas that, when you jump on them, change the alignment of said levels, according to the way the areas are positioned. So if one of these areas is located on a wall and you jump "on" it, this wall will become the new floor in an instant. The trick is to hit the right areas in the right sequence to turn the level in such a way that lets you collect the Selfburns you so desperately need. As you progress through the game, the puzzles get harder and harder (as one might suspect) and it will become increasingly more difficult to reach a spot from where you can collect these Selfburns.
The game consists of six acts that all have their own theme and come with their own set of unique items that can help you solve the puzzle, like crates that you can push around, pulley systems, walls which you can actually climb or even trampolines! At the end of every act, you can save a crewmember, slowly building your crew back to its original state as well as proceed to the next act. Even though you only need to collect only one Selfburn per level, it's much more fun to try and collect them all. In doing so, you set a time that is saved for future reference. You can even go back and try to improve your time, if you like.
Visually, Blackhole is a real treat; the comic style of the game works really well with the wacky storyline and dialogs, as well as the fast paced gameplay. The characters in the game are really cool and the voice acting is top-notch. The game is really challenging and is guaranteed to give even the most seasoned platforming veteran a run for his or her money. And, as if that isn't enough, the developers at Fiolasoft Studio even released two DLC packs: Testing Laboratory and the Secret of Entity, the former of which explains a bit about how Coffee Guy got his position aboard the Endera, while the latter tells about the exploits of the crew after the events of the original game.
Now, I can almost hear you ask: Why are you reviewing a game that was originally released in 2015? The answer to that, my friends, is simple! Enter: Blackhole: Complete Edition. That's right; now, we can all enjoy the original game, as well as its two DLC packs on our Playstation 4 and Xbox one! Now, even those among us who don't have the money to buy a decent pc (or those who don't have the patience to put up with all the crap Microsoft Windows throws our way) can also play this frantic platform puzzle game! And the best thing is that it comes in one awesome collection! No hassle with additional content downloads, just pop in your disc and have the space adventure of a lifetime.
The more perceptive among you might have noticed by now that I really like this game. And yes, it truly has all the elements that someone like me (being a long time platforming fan) will ever need! The levels are challenging, the art style is really cool and the story is of a wacky and zany quality that even Monty Python would be proud of! All in all, Blackhole is a very cool game that deserves to be played by almost everyone that loves a good puzzle platform game. It even comes with an option that lets you control the amount of conversation during the game. You can choose to either: play the full experience and listen to every single line the developers have come up with (which, by the way, is my favorite mode), tone down the amount of conversation, speeding up the game somewhat, or even turn off the conversations entirely, making the game much, much faster and purely focused on the gameplay, without any story whatsoever.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; my take on Blackhole: Complete Edition. I would heartily recommend this game to everyone who wants to have loads of gaming fun. So what are you waiting for? Get your copy today and try to prove me wrong... I dare you!
BLACKHOLE: COMPLETE EDITION
February 27, 2015 (PC / Linux / OS X)
August 8, 2017 (Complete Edition on PS 4 / XBox One)