Blackwell Deception Review (PC)

Game Review: Blackwell Deception
Release: October 12, 2011
Genre: Retro Adventure
Developer: Wadjet Eye Games
Available Platforms: PC
Players: 1
MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: Not Rated

Wadjet Eye Games brings us another retro Sierra Online styled adventure game. You might recall, I took a look at Gemini Rue some time ago, and took issue with some of the user interface choices as well as the pricing. The opportunity has come along to review another Wadjet Eye game, and am I glad I did.

In The Blackwell Deception, the fourth installment in the Blackwell series, you can play as either Rosangela Blackwell, a young, quirky psychic that can see and talk to ghosts, or you can play as Joey, her ghostly partner. Each have their own set of abilities (or lack thereof) . Rosa (or Red as Joey calls her because of her hair) has access to a smart-phone with a note pad to store all of you clues, internet access so you can use the Oogle search engine, e-mail and of course, make phone calls. Rosaalso can carry inventory items where Joey cannot. In fact, being a ghost, Joey can’t touch anything, or talk to anyone except Rosa and other ghosts. The controls have been reduced to left clicking to interact with something and right clicking to look at something which makes for a very intuitive interface to find your way through the locations looking for clues and solving puzzles.

Together, this unlikely pair help ghosts to “cross over” by aiding them in letting go of life and accepting that they have died. It’s all a bit “Nancy Drew” – in a good, whodunit kind of way. The story doesn’t get bogged down in forensic details or the like, instead, the focus is on the relationships between the characters and what the ghosts are holding on to in this world, keeping them here.

The Blackwell Deception has the retro graphics, animation, and simplified controls to put it into the commercial class of retro games. There is nothing amateur here. The jazzy noire vibe of the music is perfect for the game and complements Joey’s dated, Rat-Pack attitude nicely. With full character voicing combined with seasoned writing, the characters are lively and believable. Even though the subject matter deals with murder and drug abuse, the game is mild enough for teens without worry. The spiritual content is not preachy and the death is not gory; instead, the star of this game is the story and its characters.

All of the conversations are also point and click, making dialog nicely guided to keep you on track. Following all of the threads often pays off in either info gained or a funny remark. If you ever loose track of what you need to do next, just having Rosa talk to Joey to “plan their next move” will point you in the right direction. I found this to be rather nice in cases where I had missed a clue when examining a location.

The only issue I had with the game was getting my computer to support the antiquated 640 x 480 resolution required for the game; my video drivers just did not support it.  I did have a laptop that supported the correct resolution, so all was fine. If you are already into retro games, you are familiar with issues like this and their work-a-rounds. Just be aware that you may need to tweak your video drivers to run this. Just download the demo and try that first to be sure you are ready to run.

Overall, The Blackwell Deception makes me want to play all three of the previous Blackwell titles also. If you can get in on the pre-order that goes through October 16, 2011, you can order a DVD with all four Blackwell games on it for $24.99 – A great deal, otherwise, you can grab Blackwell Deception for $14.99 and get The Blackwell Convergence for free. If you missed the “pre-order DVD, there is a Blackwell pack with the earlier three Blackwell games for $19.99. With all of these purchasing deals and options, there’s no reason to avoid getting the free demo and checking out this game.

  • Excellent Voice acting was terrible
  • Characters Well Developed
  • Enjoyable and Compelling Story
  • Perfect User Interface
  • Possible Video Driver Issues

Final Score: 9 out of 10

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  • Epidion

    From your closing comments: “Excellent Voice acting was terrible”.
    I’m assuming this was a typo, given that your review didn’t otherwise express any issues with the voice acting.  I hope it gets fixed for the readers who go directly to the “verdict” section of the review.
    Otherwise, good review.  ^^;