Sep 15, 2011

A spoiler-free Blackwell Deception preview

Having just finished playing through certain lovely bits of Blackwell Deception, the fourth installment in the Blackwell saga, I'm elated to announce that a) the game has been officially announced, b) its hefty demo is waiting to be downloaded, c) pre-orders have been made available and d) it's a very good adventure indeed. Really! You can verify everything I've said by clicking over to the very special web-space Wadjet Eye Games have joyously created.

But what is Blackwell Deception? Well, just in case you're having some sort of memory lapsus dear reader, let me remind you it, just like predecessors, is a commercial, indie, point-and-click adventure with traditional yet interesting mechanics, a full voice-over, a lovely soundtrack and excellent pixel-art, retro-esque graphics. It also is the latest entry in a series all about guiding psychic detectives Rosa and Joey (only one of them is corporeal and alive, mind) through intriguing and slightly dark mysteries and having them lead stray ghost to eternal rest, while modestly saving the day.

Actually, scrap that, here's what I'll do instead: I'll link you to understanding and save all them precious words for the thing's review. Cunning, eh? Just have a look at the Gnome's Lair reviews of Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound and Blackwell Convergence and you'll sort everything out. Failing that, there's also a pretty enlightening Dave Gilbert interview available for your reading pleasure.

Now, as this very post is supposed to be a preview, I wont go into much detail about Blackwell Deception, but will admit that I was once again pleasantly surprised by the fact the series is far from stagnating. The games do impressively seem to be getting bigger, better and more polished with every episode released and I can't help but get the feeling that the Blackwell series is maturing to become a true classic. Its two playable characters constantly evolve and become both more interesting and believable, the integration of gameplay and story becomes all the more seamless, subtle innovations are introduced and everything feels so much more polished. 

Deception, in particular, does look better than any Blackwell game before it, sports the customary top quality voice acting and soundtrack, and is fantastically animated by brilliant pixel artist and game designer Ben 304. What's more, the interface has been further streamlined, the game is much lengthier than the previous chapters and the plot -besides being perfectly standalone- does actually progress the wider over-arching story. And don't get me started on the characers' portraits, the multitude of new ghosts or the simple elegance of certain puzzles; that might just end up being too spoilery.

As for Blackwell's New York, well, it remains as Woody Allen-esque as ever... Slightly dark, well thought out, occasionally funny, vaguely threatening, rich, interesting and definitely pre-order worthy. 

Related @ Gnome's Lair:


  1. Nope! not a spoiler in sight, and still managed to pique my interest, I even found the thinly disguised cunning link... :)

    (heads off to read the entire Gnome game anthology...brings candle)

  2. You amazingly cunning brilliant elderly, you!

    Just be careful with that candle if you don't mind.

  3. no worries..



  4. An echoing candle? An empty lair perhaps?

    How odd...

  5. one unfortunate reprecussion of my recent absail into the google+1 lair, was that on cancelling my account all my +1 have disappeared from your posts

    (sits down to write stiffly worded letter of complaint...)

  6. They didn't!

    They did...

    (shakes fist; wildly)

    Make it fiery, firey and outraged.

  7. After playing the 'Deception' demo, I find myself more excited for a game than I've ever been, and I'm a new gamer, having played under eight or so games!

    The only drawback so far is Rosa's character portrait and the lack of animation in the character portraits. Joey looks alright (although he looked his best in 'Convergence'), but Rosa seems to not look like herself at all anymore.

    The plot is by far the most intriguing.

  8. Under eight games? You lucky person, you :)

    And trust me, you are going to love this one. Don't forget to come back here whenever you'd have me suggest the next 10 adventures you might enjoy...


  9. Well, now that you mention it, I have been researching "games similar to 'Blackwell'", but seem unable to trust sites that simply pop up with "games also purchased by those who purchased Blackwell".

    If you could suggest similar games (point-and-click, adventure, talk, detective, character portraits, that sort of thing) or similar independent game producers, I'd really appreciate it.

  10. The Blackwell series was made using the AGS engine, and a lot of other people use it to create, mostly free, games.
    Here is the main site:
    It contains lots of best of lists/award winners/picks of the month so it should keep you busy for as long as you want.
    It is simply the best option for new Blackwell-like games.

  11. 8) what a link... Mr.Wisnoski

    (abandons letter to Google+ and heads off to adventurgamestudio....)

  12. Jonathan made a fair point Laura. There are a ton of excellent and freeware point-and-click adventures available over at the AGS studios. Most of them are of course shorter and less polished than the Blackwell games...

    You could start off by grabbing some of Ben 304's excellent games here:

    You could also grab 5 Days a Stranger (a horror game) and of course Gemini Rue by the same company that produced the Blackwell games.

    Contemporary games you should enjoy are those by Telltale Games - especially the Monkey Island series.

    Oh, and you should definitely check out some of the classics:

    Day of the Tentacle
    Monkey Island 2
    Grim Fandango
    Gabriel Knight trilogy

  13. (stealthily follows Elderly)

  14. 8) sweet heavens... motherlode...

    and my mum said I lacked adventure in my life... pah! not anymore...

    (bows to Gnome...)

  15. (bows back)


    Really have to stop doing this...

  16. (moves the coffee table....)

    there that'll avoid the problem for the time being,

    (notices large lump developing on Gnome's forehead...)

    I'll get you an ice pack...

  17. And a vodka please.

    And something to eat.

    Is hurts...