Blackwind | PS5 Review
Blackwind, developed by Drakkar Dev and published by Blowfish Studios, is an isometric twin-stick shooter. As well as a single player option, you can also play with a friend via local co-op. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
Upon starting Blackwind you take on the role of James, a mere teenager, who's been trapped inside a prototype of a mech suit known as Battle Frame. James and his father were on their way to a colonised planet when their ship was shot down, as the ship is crashing to the ground James’ father puts him into the suit and ejects him. Now, James must use his newfound suit's powers to fend off the alien invaders to save himself on this new planet.
Blackwind focuses on fast-paced combat. In your mech suit, you’ll have both a melee attack (both heavy and light) and also your gunner turrets, as well as a laser beam. As you progress through the levels, you’ll be able to level up the mech suit and upgrade its abilities. The gameplay and movement feels relatively intuitive and fluid and was relatively fun. My aim is absolutely abysmal, and my skills aren’t exactly up to scratch in the twin stick shooter department, so I often found myself relying on the melee abilities, which were certainly more my speed.
With isometric twin-stick shooters, I always feel like the developers are very limited with what they can create visually and despite that restriction, I found Blackwind to be quite a nice looking game. The visuals were clear and crisp, and the attention to detail was definitely there. One thing I liked is that there was a bit of variety amongst the various areas in the game, and you never simply spent the entire game in a dark spacecraft and instead there were levels in snowy mountains and this variety made a big difference for me enjoyment wise. Throughout the levels, you’ll find there's a lot of backtracking required to progress. For example, a door will be locked, and you’ll need to explore the level to find the passcode for it; and then make your way back to the door again to progress further. Luckily, there is a fast travel system in play that will limit this for you.
Despite the fast travel system, Blackwind quickly became quite infuriating for me in the sense that the gameplay was fun, but it just felt like every mission was all the same thing, just re-skinned in a new area and there was also very little variety in the enemy types throughout which felt like it negated the good sides for me somewhat. Considering Blackwind certainly isn’t a short game for its genre, I think it could have benefitted from a bit more variety and imagination put into the enemies and the steps required to complete the missions. Initially it showed great promise but after my fifth or sixth time doing the same thing in a different location, fighting the same enemies in the exact same ways - it certainly got a little bit tedious for me.
Overall, Blackwind was enjoyable - certainly not perfect, but was a crisp, clean experience. It got a little bit slow and repetitive in places, but overall, it’s a good experience if you don’t want anything that will expect too much of its players but still provide fun. Blackwind was a fun experience and was well-designed, and if you can see through its flaws, which are by no means game breaking, you’ll have a very interesting time shooting your way through robots and aliens in your mech suit!
Lj’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Many thanks to Blowfish Studios for the Review Key.