Blackhole Complete Edition comes from Prague-based developer FiolaSoft Studio. This edition includes the original game, all DLC, artwork, soundtrack and other interesting additions.
Blackhole is best described as a 2D puzzle platformer with a sci-fi setting. The game has some very unique mechanics that see you having to manipulate gravity and rotate the world in order to solve puzzles and reach certain areas and objects.
The game is set in space and follows the crew of the Endera, who have set out on a mission to close off various black holes. The game starts with a fairly lengthy introduction, where you soon discover that you will be playing as the ‘coffee guy.’ Shortly after meeting the crew and A.I. overseer known as Auriel, your ship is pulled into a black hole and crash lands. From the wreckage you emerge and guided by Auriel you must explore the bizarre new world, find parts to repair the ship and try to get back home, which isn’t going to be easy. I actually really enjoyed the long build up t the game and the story elements overall are well written and delivered. Its clear from the start that the game has moments that are funny and despite the situation humour is a key point that flows throughout.
Blackhole has 6 acts which see you exploring very different locations and unique environments. As you reach each new area the puzzles become increasingly challenging and I really enjoyed the new gameplay mechanics that are slowly introduced. The controls are simple and that’s very important when it comes to a game like this that needs precision. You use the W, A, S, D keys to move and the space bar is used to jump. The controls are fairly responsive but is does take a few minutes to get and grasp of how your character moves through the world. You can also jump and climb ledges and this becomes important when you starting manipulating gravity.
After you have crash landed you start to move around and discover that there are various portals that lead you to mini-stages. These separate stages offer up various challenges that will test your skills and gradually teach you new mechanics and scenarios that you’re going to encounter during the game. You will soon find glowing section on floors and walls, that once jumped on rotate the world, giving you access to new areas that were previously inaccessible. As the game progresses you are facing with increasingly difficult environments that include water and lava segments. Hopefully by this time in the game you will have honed your skills enough to deal with those tricky situations.
During the mini-stages you travel to via portals you must collect orbs known as “selfburns,” in order to repair your ship. Auriel will help you on your journey by giving guidance and tips on how to take on each new challenge. During each stage there are multiple selfburns to be
Found and if you die before returning to the portal with all intact you have to restart that stage. This may sound simple enough but when you start rotating the world and try to avoid the various hazards it soon becomes very difficult. I found that it took me several trial runs for each stage before mastering it. The levels are brilliantly designed with a simple style but actually contains complex platforming. A series of mini stages makes up a zone, with an end puzzle for each zone where you attempt to rescue a crew member. You must have a certain number of selfburns to access the next area. Like I said each zone brings a new set of challenges and unique gameplay mechanics, whether its magnetic boots, rotating platforms or power gloves. This keeps the game feeling fresh and also each area has a distinct style.
I did have a couple of issues like some moments where the game stuttered and the framerate tended to drop. This became a problem at times when precise platforming was needed but you do have the option to change the graphics settings to deal with this. For a 2D platformer the graphics and overall presentation looks great, with interesting environments and complex level design. The characters are also unique and I enjoyed the story that was being told. I especially enjoyed the dialogue from you’re AI companion Auriel. The sound design is another strong feature of the game, with a varied soundtrack that changes according to each zone. The voice acting on the whole is pretty good, with some cheesy moments, but in general it was enjoyable to listen to. You do also have the option to skip moments of dialogue if you wish to do so.
Overall Blackhole Complete Edition is a decent package that contains some nice additions. You can even use Adventure Mode if you’re finding the game too tricky, where you can save your game by running over a portal. Blackhole is a fantastic 2D platformer with some wickedly difficult puzzles. The game feels like it has been made with a huge amount of love and care, which is clear from the intricate level design and humorous voice acting. With so many 2D platformers out there, Blackhole manages to feel unique, is fun to play and offers something a bit different.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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