REVIEW / Blackwood Crossing

A wonderful tale of life, love and loss.

The first person perspective has become the new vehicle to deliver some of the most compelling and emotional stories video games have seen in recent years, just think about Gone Home, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter or Adr1ft. Well, you can now add a new name to that competitive list of games, Blackwood Crossing. The story of Blackwood Crossing isn’t complex or the most original, however, with it’s stunning art direction, outstanding voice acting and beautiful attention to detail, the narrative within the game is deliver with a real emotional punch, one I’ve rarely felt before in video games.

You play as Scarlet, a young girl who has awoken on a moving train with her brother Finn. From the start the game is full of intrigue, with you not really knowing why your on this train or even where your going. It doesn’t take long to realise that this is your brother Finn’s story, who you follow through the majority of the game, by follow I don’t mean go from point A, to point B and repeat over and over.

The game play is broken up to chunks; you’ll follow Finn to a new location where more insight will be shared in regards to the game narrative, you’ll then soon find yourself back on the train, where you’ll need to complete small puzzle section to progress to the next interaction with Finn. Apologies if I’m being vague on the gameplay, i don’t want to go into any spoilers, Blackwood Crossing is best experience knowing very little about the games narrative.

The puzzles you play through are impactful conversations you must piece together, by doing so you’ll uncover the whole conversation and more shed insight into the story of Scarlett and Finn. As previously mention the voice acting is truly outstanding. There is not a lot of dialog shared throughout the games 3 hour playthrough, but every conversation you hear or engage in carries real emotional weight to the overall story. A mention has to go to Rosie Jones, the voiced Scarlett, and Kit Connor, who voiced Finn for their excellent performances .I would often become so caught up in the scenes between the sibling I wouldn’t notice onscreen prompts telling me to interact with an object. In fact I haven’t been so engaged in a story like this since the previously mention Gone Home, and it’s fair to say Blackwood Crossings narrative is on par with Fullbright’s iconic indie game of 2015.

Developer Paper Seven’s attention to detail throughout the game is amazing. With you playing through a world that Finn is creating , there are quirky pop-culture references everywhere; whether its a classic 90’ movie poster recreated to star Finn, or a nostalgic take on a toy some many of us hold deer to our childhoods. Almost everything you come across helps build this world that really does feel likes it’s being created by a 10 year old boy.

Blackwood Crossing is a remarkable tale of life, love and loss. Playing through the endearing and vibrant world is a pleasure and with a host of hidden 80’s and 90’s references you’ll often stop and take a moment to reflect on where you where when you watch that movie or played with that toy. Blackwood Crossing is an example of how story telling can be done to dramatic effect in video games, with its brilliant writing and outstanding voice acting drawing you in, you’ll really feel the full emotional impact of the games stunning conclusion.