Finally, the first three entries in the Blackwell adventure series (Legacy, Unbound and Convergence) are out on iOS, so you can get your old-school point n’ click kicks on the move. We review Wadjet Eye’s iPhone/iPad version of this fantastic game series…
If we found we were suddenly able to see ghosts, like poor Rosangela Blackwell, we’d probably scream/hide under the bed/fill our pants – most likely all of them, and not necessarily in that order. Rosa’s a freelance journo with a dark family history, and in her first adventure game, Blackwell: Legacy, we discover why. The female Blackwells can not only see spirits, they’ve also been tasked with helping lost souls across to the other side.
The Blackwell games by developer Wadjet Eye Games found fame on the PC, and now they’ve been ported to iOS for a whole new audience. They’re your basic retro point n’ click adventures, where you tap around the 2D environments to examine stuff, pick up objects and chat with characters. You collect a small inventory of items (unlike most adventure games, you thankfully don’t lug a ladder and a ball of string around everywhere, just in case they’re mysteriously needed at some later point), and there’s an emphasis on picking up clues, which are kept in Rosa’s notebook.
There aren’t many traditional puzzles in the Blackwell games – rather, you must interrogate the shady cast of characters you come across, including the restless spirits, and piece together your evidence to progress. You can check out your notepad at any time, to try and form connections by selecting pairs of clues. It’s a unique mechanic that we haven’t seen in other adventure games, and we enjoyed trying to piece together everything we’d learned into some kind of coherent logic.
While the Blackwell games all have a connected plot – to do with Rosa meeting her ghostly companion Joey and coming to terms with his constant presence and her newfound spiritual role – each episode also has its own individual, self-contained story, usually to do with a malevolent entity that must be stopped. Some of the most intriguing segments involve helping wandering ghosts to cross over, a task that often proves difficult as they don’t realise they’re dead. You need to first convince them that they’ve passed on, usually by stirring up old memories.
The old-school artwork looks swish, even on the small iPhone screen – we’re just gutted that the game has a black border around it, which makes precision tapping a pain on the teeny iPhone screen. Every line is voice-acted, and well too, or you can turn the audio off and just read the subtitles if you want a bit of quiet or you’ve misplaced your earphones.
Adventure fans should definitely check out the Blackwell series on iOS. Here’s hoping parts 4 and 5 emerge on Apple devices soon…