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Blackwell 1: Legacy

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone, Steam

Occult classic

Product: Blackwell 1: Legacy | Developer: Wadjet Eye Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure, Conversion | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Blackwell 1: Legacy iPad, thumbnail 1
If movies, TV, and video games have taught us anything (unlikely), it's that zombies need to be shot in the head, time machines are rarely a good idea, and ghosts don't know they're ghosts.

That last one is certainly the case in Blackwell 1: Legacy, from point-and-click comeback king Wadjet Eye Games (Shivah, Gemini Rue).

When Rosa Blackwell finds out she can talk to the dead (thanks to a visit from her spirit guide - a trilby-wearing noir type called Joey Mallone), her first challenge is to make them accept that they've actually kicked the bucket.

This generally means doing some digging so you can either figure out how the spirit died, or find something that will help them come to terms with their death.

I see dead people

Rosa - an aspiring author, stuck writing for an obscure New York newspaper - is certainly an interesting character. She's flawed and vulnerable, and has stilted conversations full of awkward smiles and uncomfortable small talk.

It makes for a captivating story about a lonely, introverted girl who is thrust into social situations where she has to play psychoanalyst to the recently deceased.

It's only touched on in this opening episode (there are four more Blackwell games, and three more with Rosa as the hero), but it makes a change from playing peppy, surefooted occult-hunters.

Characterisation and dialogue play a big part in the game. You'll experience lots of talking (all fully voiced, with great actors), endless conversation trees, and reams of correspondence to leaf through.

Basically, you need a strong stomach for narrative and exposition to enjoy Blackwell 1: Legacy.


This is a point-and-click adventure, though, so you will get some puzzles. But there are only a few of the goofy item combination conundrums you might see in a game like Monkey Island.

You do pick up the odd item, but most of the time you pick up clues. Interesting names, places, and bits of information are automatically added to your notebook and become your weapons in conversations and interviews.

You can also combine two clues if you spot a connection or contradiction. This makes for some of the better puzzles in the game, and lets you feel like a little like an investigator.

Phantom detective

This first Blackwell game was obviously intended to be something of a pilot episode for the series. It's shorter and cheaper than the rest, and sets up (but doesn't fully capitalise on) the franchise's characters, conceit, and puzzle design.

Rosa and Joey are both interesting, multifaceted characters with intriguing back stories to explore. The chemistry between the two of them is solid as well.

The notebook puzzles have a lot of promise too, and the overall concept is unique for a game.

If you can sit through hours of dialogue, and you don't mind deliberately vintage graphics, you'll be raring to continue the story after this short, simple, but rather captivating introduction to the world of Blackwell.
Blackwell 1: Legacy
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 10 July 2014
Blackwell: Legacy acts like a pilot episode, introducing a promising concept, characters, and puzzles but leaving you a little wanting
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