Blackbar – compellingly addictive novel adapted into a text based game
Oct 21, 2013 12:05 PM –
Blackbar is a text-based dystopian puzzle game with a compelling narrative and addictive ‘word-finding’ gameplay. For the uninitiated, dystopias are speculative future worlds, typically run by deeply authoritarian governments. Much like the most popular dystopian novels, the story pans out over a series of communications between the principal characters. Heavily censored, you have to work out the blackbarred words to progress the story. If you’re a fan of novels like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale or George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, this is an Android game you’ll want to try.
Tested on: Nexus 4
Pros & Cons:
- Intriguing story!
- Addictive gameplay!
- Well written and engaging!
- Text-based so will not appeal to all gamers.
- Some levels have little in the way of preceding clues.
To progress you have to guess what those missing words are
Blackbar is a short dystopian novel, interwoven into a word-puzzle game. You progress through the novel/game by solving word puzzles. In this futuristic world, the government has locked down communications and will heavily censor correspondence between individuals, leaving glaring black bars all over the written letters. To progress you have to guess what those missing words are.
To guess a word, simply tap on a black bar and type out the word, it goes yellow if you are correct. There are typically either clues or other hints which help you. Often, the words blacked out can be guessed through their relationship with the words around them. This means that early levels are relatively easy, but also means the developer can make later levels trickier.
…some levels literally have nothing for you to work on…
When a level has a clue or relates to something around it, this is fine and you have enough friction to work the word out, even if this is a little trial and error at times. However, I did notice that some levels literally have nothing for you to work on- there are spaces and you just have to either guess or look the answers up online (a full list of solutions is already available)
brutal and heavy-handed government totalitarianism contrasted with the very human responses
So while the game is great fun, I often felt it became unnecessarily difficult at times. Fortunately, you are kind of distracted by the compelling story line, brought to life by brutal and heavy-handed government totalitarianism contrasted with the very human responses from the main characters. You are always keen to read on, to work out the next puzzle and step closer to resolving the story.
‘Playing’ the game feels very akin to reading a novel, albeit in very short snippets. If you’re a voracious reader or generally like text-based games, you will feel right at home with Blackbar. However, if your contextual understanding of dystopia is visual masterpieces such as Dead Trigger, Blackbar will leave you disappointed. It’s engaging but you need the imagination to make it real.
If you do get into it, you’ll find it compellingly addictive and hard to put down
The game is lots of fun, but you really have to be into either word games or dystopian fiction in the first place. Without this, you’re not going to enjoy the game period. If you do get into it, you’ll find it compellingly addictive and hard to put down. Levels are broken up into tiny snippets of information; letters, communications, notes… so it’s easy to consume and always leaves you wanting to try the next level.
The ‘graphics’ are merely written texts, with black bars through them where they have been censored or coded. The challenge is to work these out for yourself. If you can get over the lack of actual graphics, it’s definitely a game you’ll want to play. There is no sound or music in the game, just like you do not get either with real novels.
Blackbar – Gameplay 1
Blackbar – Gameplay 2
Blackbar – Gameplay 3
Blackbar – Gameplay 4
Blackbar – Begin with heavily censored letters
Blackbar – Work out the clues
Blackbar – When correct, entries turn to yellow
Blackbar – Some puzzles are different, but all require text entry
Tags: Android App
, Android Apps
, Android Game
, AndroidTapp.com App Review
, Text-Based Game
Categorised in: Brain & Puzzle