Blackbay Asylum – Review
Follow Genre: Indie/Adventure
Developer: TAD Productions AB
Publisher: KISS ltd.
Platform: PC

Blackbay Asylum – Review

Site Score
Good: Mindblowing puzzles and an interactive world
Bad: Topdown view doesn't work well with the horror
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(1 votes)
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Rating: 1.0/10 (1 vote cast)

From the indie developer TAD Productions AB comes the new indie adventure game called ‘Blackbay Asylum’. It was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, a famous horror novelist of the 20th century and was published by Kiss LTD.

Blackbay Asylum is not the game you think it to be when you look at it for the first time. The trailer gives you the impression that it is an extremely creepy game like Amnesia and Penumbra, but there really is more to it than meets the eye. Let’s sit down and take a look at exactly what Blackbay Asylum has to offer. 


The story starts off in a cell. You play as Doug Dunheiw, a psychopath who has been sent to Blackbay Asylum for ‘treatment and correction’. You find yourself in a cell and for an unknown reason, you can simply walk out. Accompanied by your good friend Teddy, your ‘Have a smiley day’ T-shirt and a diaper, you go find yourself a way out. When you run into your first mutated human or tentacle sticking out of the wall, it becomes clear that there is something very wrong with the Asylum. Somebody has been doing the wrong experiments and along the way you find out that you are somehow immune to the spreading, mutating virus that took over Blackbay Asylum.

Mutation, crazy doctors, a dark asylum, horror… in Blackbay Asylum the story revolves about those key parts. The story however is a little cliché and it doesn’t really get you emerged. The things that make Blackbay Asylum fun are the puzzles and the humoristic quotes , the story however doesn’t really feel important. You play to solve the puzzle and when you finish the puzzle you look for the next. For the story to work, it has to be really strong and overpower the thrill of solving hard puzzles.

It is a shame that there is such a big conflict between the story and the gameplay, because if you would read the story like you read a book it would not be half as bad as it seems in the game. Combined with such hard puzzles however, the story just doesn’t feel to work all that well.


Blackbay Asylum is a game you don’t play for its graphics. They don’t advertise with having great graphics and it quickly becomes clear that the graphics can be dated back to games from the early 2000’s. The topdown view you start off with kind of negates all the blood and the gore you find lying around in the Asylum. It’s not really scary either when you walk around in topdown view, but then again it works best for the puzzles.

Aside from the topdown view you sometimes find yourself looking through Doug’s eyes in first person view. That is where it becomes rather creepy. Most of the time when you are bound to a first person view, you find yourself in some kind of maze. In one of those mazes you are accompanied by crazy dolls that follow you with their eyes and have a note attached to them: “Happy birthday Doug!”. How thoughtful!

You can split Blackbay Asylum up into two groups graphic-wise. The topdown view, which doesn’t really work well with the whole horror setting and feels like an odd choice to us, and the first-person view which does a great job rising your blood pressure and really entertains you.

The opening soundtrack itself is pretty good, it helps to keep the game creepy. Music has always played a crucial part in horror, simply because it can really give you goose bumps. This is however again heavily influenced by the viewing point, because the simple topdown view really doesn’t work well with the horror setting and it makes the music kind of useless. The fact that there is no settings menu where you can adjust the sound volumes is not a very strong point either.


In the few parts of the game you actually play in first-person view, the music really helps. You want to shut it down, but not for the same reasons as you might want to shut it down in topdown perspective. In topdown, the music is abundant and doesn’t add to the game. It is possible that you just want to listen to your own music while solving the good puzzles Blackbay Asylum has to offer. In first-person view, you just want to shut it down because at times it makes the game ten times more creepy. And that is exactly what music should do in a horror game.

This is the point where Blackbay Asylum really shines. The gameplay is simple enough, because you basically use the spacebar for every (inter)action, but that is a good thing. The real strong point of Blackbay Asylum are the puzzles. They will make you dig deep, write down everything that looks suspicious and really pay attention to what you are doing. For example one puzzle has you look up old cellphone keyboards to figure out the door code of a server room.

Some of the puzzles are too hard and to comfortably roll through the game you might need a guide or walkthrough once in a while, but overall if you really pay attention to your surroundings and the clues that are given the puzzles should be doable.


Aside from the puzzles, the game is divided into 10 chapters. Each chapter tells a different part of the story and not every part is equally long. There is no real fighting in the game, just a few puzzles that involve throwing bombs into a monsters face or riding over people with lawn mower. No fighting doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do, because you can really interact with just about everything that you see and Doug has a very… unique opinion about what he morally should or shouldn’t do. Hearing appreciation for art out of the mouth of a psychopath is quite refreshing, yet a little disturbing.

The game has a pretty basic item systems. Some of the items in your chapter are interesting, at least in Doug’s eyes and you can pick them up to solve a puzzle with later on. There is only one permanent item that remains in your inventory and that is a pink-rainbowy diary that is actually rather useful. It helps you solve the puzzles, so it is good to check it out regularly. That is basically all there is most of the time to solving the puzzles, finding the right items and thinking how you can make them work with your environment. Doug is just an oversized, socially traumatized killer that wants to get him and his teddy out of the asylum.

Blackbay Asylum is a game you play for its puzzles and its humor, because the horror only works when you play the game in first-person mode. The first-person mode is great and it combines good puzzles, creepy surroundings in an old hospital and a ton of stress into a pretty good game. Most of the time however it is in topdown view and it is rather annoying. The puzzles are still good, the humorous comments are still amusing, but the rest just really doesn’t work.

If you plan to pick up a new indie puzzle game try out Blackbay Asylum. If you are looking for a new indie horror game, don’t.



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Blackbay Asylum - Review, 1.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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