Blackwell Epiphany: review

Blackwell Epiphany is what a proper point and click game should be. It’s intelligent, well written, interesting, and will make the cogs in your head whir round and round as you try and decipher the logical solutions to the puzzles that make up the game.

If you’ve played any of the past games in the series then you already know what to expect from the game but if you haven’t, the gist is that you play as Rosa and Joey; a duo that have to put up with each other as they help the deceased find peace. Rosa is essentially a spirit medium and can see and talk to ghosts; Joey is the ghost that is bound to her and must help her save the souls of the dead from purgatory and allow them to pass on.

They’ve made a great team in the past and the dynamic the two have still holds up well, and possibly shines a little harder in this instalment. Rosa and Joey are bound to each other and Joey can’t go much further than a couple dozen steps away from her; essentially tethered to her in a way that encourages her to take part in her otherworldly duties.

It’s a pretty dark tale this time around. Rosa and Joey begin by going about the usual business of saving lost souls, but are dragged into something that would chill Joey to his bones if he had any. Their routine of saving ghosts is interrupted when they witness a murder right in front of them and watch as the soul rises from its dead body. As they begin to talk to it, it suddenly comes under attack by some invisible source that wrenches the Soul apart completely – destroying it, and leaving both Rosa and Joey confused, terrified, and seeking answers.

This is a point and click game through and through but it lacks the heavy dosage of inventory items that are par for the course in this genre. It does mean that rather than spending ages trying every combination of inventory items (or with the environment), you get to spend more time talking to people or using your phone to search for clues. Which is by no means a bad thing; the added emphasis on talking to people to get answers feels far more involving, as you have to cleverly ask the right questions to suss out what you’re really after.

Searching the web for clues has been a big part of the past games and it is a little more prominent here as you will find yourself checking and double checking every name, location and event you come across to see if there is something more to it than it first seems. It is a great mechanic for both puzzles and for letting you feel more involved as you search out vital pieces of the story, although it can feel a little vague as to what will and won’t work, as you will spend extra time making sure you haven’t missed anything.

One big improvement to the game compared to the previous titles is the inclusion of a “Call Joey/Rosa” button. If your other half isn’t in the same room as you it does just as it says on the tin. They will come running to you– and if you’ve ever played a game with dual protagonists, then you know that the tedium of walking a character back to the other from another screen for whatever reason, banal or otherwise, is a welcome exclusion. It’s only a small feature but one that is much appreciated – especially when it cuts the time you waste when you are stuck on puzzles for lengths of time trying all possibilities across multiple locations.

The voice cast are just as high a quality as with the previous games and both the voices of Rosa and Joey return, giving the game that added edge that would be lacking if either were replaced. Everything is vocalised as well as subtitled, and the game is stronger for it. Wadjet Eye games have a very strong set of vocals behind the already strong writing and it just brings the world to life that little bit more considering that a fair few of the people you come across have already passed on.

This is the finale of the Blackwell series – something that we wish we didn’t have to say. It’s also probably the best in the series as well as the longest. It ends on an imperfect high note, as the ending is maybe a little bit of a curveball; but still quite a satisfying end to what was a very enjoyable and engrossing game.

critical score 9Critical Hit

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I've done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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