The Blackwell Legacy

Blackwell Legacy CoverWhen we were selecting games for our new Indie Impression column, variety was the most important factor. We've had a cartoony roguelike, fast-paced platformer, and a spelunking adventure, all relatively action oriented games in their own right, but it turns out, one of the most popular genres for indie developers is the point and click adventure. Thanks to tools such as Adventure Game Studio, even you can make your own Monkey Island.

The Blackwell Legacy is the first title in a series of point and click adventure games developed by Wadjet Eye Games. With the first three games recently included in an Indie Royale bundle, our growing backlog of unplayed games seemed to double in one day. So in an effort to possibly kill three birds with one stone, we decided to check out the first Blackwell game and see if this series is worth playing.

As usual, impressions are presented individually, with a variety of time put into the game. If you have a suggestion on an indie title to highlight, or are a developer yourself, leave a comment or shoot us an email.


With Double Fine’s recent double fine Kickstarter craziness, I’ve had adventure games on the brain. Which is perfect, seeing as The Blackwell Legacy from Wadjet Eye Games was next on the list for The First Hour’s continuing series Indie Impression. Been meaning to give it a try, and so here was opportunity, selecting my front door and left-clicking to knock.

The Blackwell Legacy’s about a young woman named Rosangela “Rosa” Blackwell, book reviewer for the newspaper The Village Eye, who finds herself  looking into mysterious and unsettling family matters stemming from her aunt’s recent passing. Seems like dementia runs in her family, and if Rosa wants to put a stop to her own growing number of headaches, she’ll have to do what the Blackwell legacy says—who, by the way, is a ghost named Joey Mallone.

It is, for lack of better words, a point-and-click game. Traditional in all those senses: you point, you click, you listen, you repeat the process until all options have been exhausted. There is nothing wrong with this format except to say that you spend a lot of time listening, and maybe the idle chatter could’ve been trimmed some. I mean, one part with Rosa’s neighbor reminded me of those long stretches of cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, where there’s not much to do but pay attention. And it’s worth paying attention as the story is particularly intriguing, but you do get to the point—pun totally intended—where you realize you’re not “playing” a whole lot. And at first, the voice acting came across rather wooden, but as Rosa continued on and dished out sarcasm in massive heaps, I began to just imagine Sande Chen channeling Janeane Garofalo with unrelenting ferocity. Just like the voice acting, the game gets better as it goes on; the first chunk is paced pretty slowly to let Rosa’s personality and family history grow naturally.

Graphically, The Blackwell Legacy is all about the retro days, when Day of the Tentacle and The Secret of Monkey Island stood supreme, with pixelated art from corner to corner. Looks good, but then again, I’ve always had a soft spot for pixel work. The only time things get jarring is when Rosa looks at a photo, which is much higher res art than the game itself, or a hand-written note, where it is lower res. Occasionally, lip movement on characters’ portraits during dialogue comes off as wonky, but otherwise it’s all easy on the eyes and non-offensive.

I’m enjoying The Blackwell Legacy quite a lot, especially now that the plot has begun to show its legs. As it’s part of a series, I can’t imagine this being a long adventure, but it is one worth finishing.

Blackwell Legacy Rosa Joey Infinity


From the first moments of starting up, I expected to be very impressed with The Blackwell Legacy. It began with a well-presented opening sequence directly followed by an encounter that appeals to base subconscious emotions. The creators of this game definitely know what they're doing. And sure enough, the game held up very well through the end. I came in with no preconceptions and came out extremely impressed by this title. This is a perfect example of how point-and-click adventure games should be made. Legacy contains strong directing all around, quality presentation with fitting music, solid animations and full voice-acting, and of course topped off by a splendid story complete with excellent writing.

The game takes place in modern New York, to build urban familiarity and attachment to the character. The first part of the game essentially deals with the psychological state and emotions of our protagonist and builds her perfectly so she legitimately feels real. The rest of the game past the extended opening is more of traditional adventure problem solving. A couple solving elements in the middle (of this 2-3 hour game) felt a bit slow and obnoxious to figure out, but that doesn't last long and the game really never has a disappointing moment or lets you down. I suppose it's easier to do when you're releasing shorter episodic content, and that's why adventure games sometimes come in this format. But I'm certainly glad I had the opportunity to try this, as I wouldn't normally purchase and play short, episodic material.

To summarize, I'd say anyone even marginally interested in playing an adventure game should try out Blackwell: Legacy. You could argue $5 on Steam is a bit much for a 2-3 hour game and that its production values aren't high enough or whatever else you'd like, but I would argue otherwise.

I look forward to playing the rest of the games in this series.

Blackwell Legacy Rosa Doctor


I only played The Blackwell Legacy for about a half-hour, but I was immediately drawn in by the main character and the immediate world around her. Rosa is not a typical video game heroine, she suffers from some sort of mental illness, possibly genetically inherited, and her cracks are beginning to show even early on. One of the most poignant scenes was just me trying to have Rosa talk to her neighbor in public. She would always come up with some excuse before backing out, and then after about the sixth attempt, just flat out said "no."

The voice acting really drew me in, especially the main character's actress. It's so well done, and subtly, that it all sounds so natural. The graphics, on the other hand, leave something to be desired, as the game's native resolution is 320x240. Not completely surprising considering the genre, and I'd rather hope the developer's assumedly low budget went to more important things as it is.

I'm having some issues with the user interface as my mouse seems to jump around more than I'd like. This can be particularly obnoxious when trying to focus on a specific spot on the screen, The Blackwell Legacy being a point and click adventure and all. This isn't game-breaking in any sense, however. Either way, I plan to continue on.