Explore the dark mystery of the Gordon family in Black Mirror, a decent horror story unfortunately marred by clunky design.
The Black Mirror
KING Art Games
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
MonsterVine was provided with a PC code for review.
Black Mirror is a reboot of an older point-and-click adventure series of the same name, and it has a similar premise: David Gordon returns to his ancestral home in Scotland to search for answers about his father’s death and the Gordon family’s dark secrets. While it is an adventure game like its predecessors, it moves away from point-and-click gameplay to present you with 3D environments to explore.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t necessarily a good idea. The controls are somewhat clunky, leading to an awkward series of adjustments as you maneuver your way into the correct position to examine objects—which is especially frustrating during the hallucination scenes, where you’ll get a game over if you don’t investigate certain parts quickly enough. Aside from the awkward controls, there are also a few technical issues. The game has long loading times and unusually drawn-out transitions when you start or leave a puzzle, making it sometimes appear as though the game has frozen while it loads the next scene.
Aside from a few quick time events that inject a little action into the game, you’ll spend most of your time in Black Mirror exploring the mansion and finding the clues you need to understand the madness of the Gordon family. There are some good puzzles, such as figuring out a code or adjusting the master key to fit different locks, but a lot of the time you’ll simply need to find the right item in order to progress. You’ll also speak to other characters, with occasional dialogue choices, to get more information. The voice acting is decent, although the subtitles have an odd tendency to translate dialect instead of writing it as it’s spoken, in addition to minor typos.
It becomes quickly apparent that David’s family has plenty of things they’d rather keep hidden, and David begins to suffer from strange hallucinations that show him his family’s past. However, I rarely felt like I was piecing together horrific clues so much as having the Gordon family’s history presented to me piece by piece. Twisted family secrets and madness are hardly new themes for this style of horror, but while the story in Black Mirror isn’t groundbreaking, it has some creepy moments and a few unexpected twists.
Overall, Black Mirror just ends up feeling a bit bland. The story is good, but not impressive, and the gameplay could have used better controls and more puzzles. It only takes around six hours to finish, and I wish more time had been devoted to building up the creepy atmosphere around the Gordon family and their manor.
The Final Word
Black Mirror is a decent story for fans of madness-themed supernatural horror, but its short duration, long loading times, and awkward controls bring down the overall experience. Rebooting an old adventure series is a good idea, but Black Mirror might have been better off sticking to its original point-and-click formula.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 3 out of 5 – Average