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Blackwell 3: Convergence

For: iPad   Also on: iPhone, Steam

Median medium

Product: Blackwell 3: Convergence | Developer: Wadjet Eye Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Blackwell 3: Convergence iPad, thumbnail 1
In my review of the first Blackwell game, Legacy, I touched on the character of Rosa - a lonely, vulnerable girl who is thrust into uncomfortable situations when she finds out she can talk to the recently deceased.

I was looking forward to seeing the character develop and gain self confidence over the course of this five-episode series.

And develop she did. Only, entirely off camera it seems. Convergence recasts the character (literally, with a new voice actress), turning the introverted girl into a mature and outgoing hunter of the occult.

She's now a gregarious party-goer, and not afraid to ask probing questions or throw murder accusations at someone's face.

It's a rapid transformation. And while I'm glad to see a change, it seems to have happened in the six month gap between Blackwell one and three. Wadjet Eye has apparently just skipped over what I thought was one of the most interesting aspects of the story.

Spooks in the city

The subtle characterisation has been replaced with a more dramatic story arc. There are sharp plot twists, the return of a character we thought was long dead, and a mysterious benevolent spirit.

The game moves at a faster pace. And while it's different, it's certainly exciting. There are tense spikes of action, and enigmatic scenes that keep you playing to see what happens next.

One thing that hasn't changed is the chemistry between Rosa and Joey. The relationship between the 20-something New Yorker and her '30s Sam Spade knock-off sidekick is deeper and better defined, and a lot of the best lines come in conversation between the two.

They also work together to solve puzzles, manipulating both the spectral and physical planes simultaneously to overcome obstacles.

Manhattan medium

The puzzles in general are well made. Most are smartly designed, but the execution is sometimes a little off. You might be halfway through a puzzle only to find you can't finish it until you hit some arbitrary point in the narrative. Or you might know what to do, but the game refuses to acknowledge it.

Sadly the clever notebook puzzles of the first two games (where you could link notes to find connections or contradictions) are gone too. Rosa now makes the connections herself, distancing you from the investigation.

Instead you spend much more time on the internet, searching for clues, reading emails, and tracking down addresses. These are fun, relatable puzzles, but they can be repetitive.

And it's a bit annoying that you have to trek back to Rosa's apartment every time you need to find an address. Hopefully miss Blackwell will get a smartphone in the next instalment.

New York, old ghosts

The presentation of the game is a huge step up from the previous games. The defiantly retro graphics are gorgeous, the voice quality is higher, the camera work is more playful, and the pacing is sharper.

It's a more well-rounded commercial package, rather than the scrappy indie projects of Blackwell Legacy and Unbound.

And while I can recommend the first two games, you don't need to play them to enjoy Convergence. Some lore will be left unexplained, but you can pick enough of it up that it won't matter.

And maybe that's wise. Blackwell 3: Convergence is definitely the breakout moment of the series, and the strongest episode yet. It has the smartest puzzles, the best presentation, and the most even plotting.

And while I'm not a huge fan of Rosa's rapid transformation, I'm still invested in the characters and looking forward to seeing this more dramatic, epic narrative unfold in Blackwell Deception and Epiphany.
Blackwell 3: Convergence
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 21 July 2014
Like Rosa herself, Blackwell 3: Convergence is a more confident and surefooted game. It's easily the best episode yet, but there are still improvements to make
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