Review: Blackout

4 stars
A short, sweet Halloween-themed adventure

Because so many game jams take place entirely online, it’s easy to forget what remarkable displays of creativity they truly are. They are often the stepping stone to the development of indie masterpieces—like Super Hexagon and Celeste, both of which started as jam submissions.

Blackout is a different kind of jam game, a short point and click adventure that’s a cute, self-contained story which will take you 30-60 minutes to finish. Since its submission to Ludum Dare 48, the developers have released a polished post-jam version, which is the one you should play. (Like most jam games, it’s completely free.)

Marilyn is in a room with a fireplace, with what appears to be a dead body spread out on the floor.
The game’s art is minimalist but stylish, and immediately draws you in. (Credit: FRESH. Fair use.)

You’re a teenager named Marilyn dressed as a witch. At the beginning of the game, you have a small accident while trying to do god knows what with a bird nest on a roof. You tumble to the balcony. After you find your way into the house, you discover what appear to be dead bodies all over the place.

There are no actions like “use” or “talk to”—everything is done with a single click. But you can pick up items and use them as part of solving puzzles. The game’s plot holds few surprises, but it’s the attention to detail that makes the game world fun to explore: the cute pixel art, the sound effects and music, the flavor text for many items you can click on.

It’s a sweet Halloween-themed game that you won’t regret spending time with. It also plays perfectly in the browser. The game was developed with the open source Godot Engine, which is becoming to game development what Blender is for 3D art: a powerful free tool available to all.