With more and more 2D platformers flooding the market lately, it’s not easy to pick out the wheat from the chaff. Fortunately, Blackhole offers surprisingly fun and tight platforming, layered with witty writing, gorgeous art style and a really interesting story.
You are part of the crew of spaceship Endera, tasked with closing black holes across the galaxy that are a threat to mankind. On one such mission, the ship gets sucked into a massive black hole and crashes on a mysterious landmass, called the Entity. You the ‘Coffee Guy’ finds himself, along with the ship’s AI, responsible for fixing the spaceship, finding and saving the remaining crew members and closing the black hole for good.
You then play across numerous cleverly designed levels, via 2D platforming, with constant inputs from the Auriel, the ship’s AI. The writing is really good, specially with the AI’s sarcastic tone and the way the plot develops, and the game progresses. This is surprising for a 2D game, where story usually tends to take the back seat. The crew members are wonderfully voice-acted and have their own personalities.
You revive crew members and retrieve parts of the Spaceship as you progress across the various levels. Jumping and platforming is given a neat twist with the gravity bending mechanics. You need to collect an item called Selfburn. You can rotate the level by jumping on gravity platforms across the level. This allows you to navigate corners that are inaccessible otherwise and collect Selfburn. You do not need to collect every single one of these, and some of them do need some clever platforming. As you finish levels and crew members are revived you can go back to the central hub, ie where the ship crashed, and talk to them in order to get a bit more of the story. Some of the backtracking can feel a bit tedious, but they are diminished due to the strong writing throughout.
The levels are offer a ton of variety, constantly challenging and amazing you with their design. Each level has their own trick, be it climbable walls, pulley systems, or more. You need to both collect the Selfburn and return to the exit. This can get really tough at times, but luckily allows you to continue without collecting all of them.
Challenging and really charming, Blackhole is an excellent platformer that offers a ton of levels to play, powered by an enjoyable story and interesting gameplay elements.