Game Review: Enter a train of feels in Blackwood Crossing
Who doesn't love a good fairy tale with a happy ever after? I assume most of you do. But fairy tales are not just pleasant stories for children, but lessons about life itself, about feelings such as fear, loss, good and evil and of course human weaknesses. The British PaperSeven brings us the Blackwood Crossing, an interactive story that deals with issues such as the loss of loved ones and family bonds, that will touch your heart.
The main character of the game is young red-haired Scarlett, who upon waking up on an empty magical train with no driver, she begins trying to find her younger brother Finn who dressed up as a super hero, hides in various places in the train. We soon realize that we are inside a dream which was created by the protagonist's subconscious. But soon the dream turns to nightmare and it will be hard to tell what is real and what is not. It is a journey between fantasy and reality.
Blackwood Crossing is a first person game very simple in its mechanics. The button for each corresponding action (search, interact, etc.) appears on the screen when you have reached a designated spot. You will find many checkpoints while progressing that will allow you to take a breath.
In every dialogue you can choose the way Scarlett will answer (sarcastic, polite or naughty), but your choices do not affect the progression of the story in any way. There is only a small number of easy to figure out puzzles, that are limited to interacting with other characters in the right order, memories of characters (such as the grandparents’), collecting objects that are necessary for advancing (such as unlocking a door) and bringing towards the light a dark fog that every so often blocks your way. Everything is done in a very simple way, without requiring special thought. An interesting feature is the super powers you acquire and you can use in certain parts of the game.
The game touches upon issues such as family relationships, adulthood, loss and guilt, issues that are part of our lives in one way or the other. It is neither a happy fairy tale nor a children’s game, but instead it is a touching little story (doesn’t take more than 2-3 hours to complete) that will speak to your heart. It is also very close to being an interactive adventure rather than a game.
Pricing & Availability
Blackwood Crossing is available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can find the PC version on Steam and GOG.com for $16. I understand that the price might seem a little too high for a game that doesn’t last long, nor has any replay value. But if you enjoy an interactive experience then you won’t regret your choice.
Graphics & Sounds
The graphics are beautiful and colorful, and the main characters’ designs make them very likable and unique. The environments and places you visit are gorgeous (e.g. an island with lush green trees, grass and running water, as well as dark caves, where the lack of light makes it hard to find the way). What I didn’t quite like is how slow the protagonist moves but got used to it after a while. The music is also very pleasant and calming, with melancholic tunes that fit perfectly the theme and atmosphere of the game. The voice acting is also noteworthy.
Blackwood Crossing is the story of two siblings each in different phases of their lives, and a reminder of how our actions affect others even when we don’t realize or care to know about it. Because of its subject, it is not a game that will satisfy everyone, and it is certainly not a game that will lift your spirits even if visually it looks cute and light-hearted. It is however, a touching tale that will give you feels. Let us know your thoughts and impressions in the comments below.
Blackwood Crossing screenshots (above) and trailer (below)