Developer: FiolaSoft Studio
Publisher: FiolaSoft Studio
Platform: PC, (Mac, Linux, PS Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One coming later this year)
Tested on: PC
BLACKHOLE – Review
BLACKHOLE is FiolaSoft Studio’s latest project and it proves to be a very good one. It’s a 2D sci-fi platformer that strongly depends on elements of logic, an amazing story and awesome music. Get ready to close some black holes and possibly get stuck in them and die!
In the near future, black holes have started becoming a big threat to mankind. Bright scientists have come up with a solution for this, but it’s a dangerous and possibly one-way mission. They decide to station a crew onside the Endera, and their job is to close all black holes that pose a threat. You are also on this crew and guess what your important duty is? Right, you’re the coffee guy!
The story starts with you and your crew that go on a routine mission to close yet another black hole. Everybody is confident that this one will pose no threat like all the other ones, but when you get close to the black hole it suddenly starts growing in size and intensity. Your ship is sucked into the black hole and it crashes on an Entity: an object resembling a planet. You, the coffee guy, are the first one to wake up and you discover a copied artificial intelligence of the ship, Auriel, on your PDA. You and Auriel come up with a plan and decide to try and patch up the ship and find the rest of the crew.
BLACKHOLE’s story is pretty good and it has a lot of humor in it. Instead of simply telling you the story, BLACKHOLE lets you work for it! Black Boxes can be found scattered across the Entities which contain audio recordings prior to sending your crew into space. This way, Auriel regains some of her memory because not everything was stored on the PDA.
The graphics in BLACKHOLE are very nice for a 2D platformer. All graphics and animations have been hand-painted and it’s that kind of dedication that makes a game look beautiful. All of the different entities in the game have their own theme to them. From normal caves and jungles to futuristic levels.
Most of the time, the game runs at a smooth 50 fps, but it does seem to have some issues when a lot is happening at the same time, dropping under 30 fps even on a good machine.
Sound wise, BLACKHOLE gets another good score. The music is very versatile, ranging from a fairytale orchestra to rhytmic drums and even dubstep, it makes the levels both peaceful and exciting at times. Sound effects are also very well done. The characters sound great and all dialogues have been narrated in English voices, including all of the puns that Auriel makes.
BLACKHOLE would be one of the first games to call itself a hardcore platformer before you’ve even started playing. But guess what, they’re totally right. Completing all levels with a perfect score will require good logical thinking and a lot of time, so let’s get to it!
You’re basically on a quest to get out of the black hole, and to do that, you need selfburns. These are tiny little balls with nanobots that are scattered around the levels. In order to progress, you have to collect as many selfburns as you can, but usually you can leave the level after collecting 1 or 2. The controls are pretty basic, as you’d expect from a platformer. You can run, jump, interact with objects and reset your character. Finding all the selfburns is usually pretty easy, but actually getting to them is the hard part. On top of that, after collecting them, you have to make it back to the start of the level in one piece, or else you’ll have to start over.
Well, running and jumping sounds pretty easy, what’s hard about that?! Well, the game utilizes and manipulates a rather fun element: gravity! In order to complete levels, you’ll have to twist and change gravity by touching special platforms that will turn the level around. It’s all pretty simple at first but it gets extremely hard very quickly.
If this all doesn’t convince you yet, there’s even more mechanics that will blow your mind. Get ready for lava, pulley systems, bouncy platforms, water, ice and much more. All of these elements take the game from hard to hardcore because you don’t have to be good at just puzzling, but also platforming, and this at the same time!
However, some functions of the game are not accessible yet like the controls option or some other options in the menus, but surely this will be filled in over time. Additionally, if the project receives ongoing support for at least 6 months, the developers will provide new levels for all players for free. On top of that, they might even throw in “Challenge Vault” tournaments, giving players worldwide the chance to compete with each other with new challenges every week.
BLACKHOLE advertises itself as a hardcore platformer and it’s definitely justified. The game will frustrate you at times but also bring you loads of enjoyment with all of the humor and clever levels. The developers are also taking the community into account, offering free content if their game gets enough support. If you’re a hardcore platformer fan, this is a must have for you!