Super Blackout Review

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  Title: Super Blackout
Developer: Forde Soft
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 71 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Currently Unavailable
PSTV Support: 
Yes

PlayStation Mobile was something I really loved all the way until the day the service ended.  I loved it for a lot of reasons.  First of all, I could get small games for my Vita and PSTV pretty cheap.  Second, the games were neat and very different from the norm.  You had big titles and then indies on the Vita.  But then you had PS Mobile, which were kind of like indies to indies.  Super small development teams and mostly super small games.

Some PS Mobile games are still growing.  Not too long ago, I reviewed The Quiet Collection, which was a collection of PSM games that got ported to be native PS Vita games.  I really loved those games, too.  Thankfully, it isn’t ending there.  Another PSM game has released as a native title for the Vita recently, which I am having the chance to review.  If you’re a puzzle fan, here’s my review of Super Blackout!

Story

Since there is no story to this game, this section shall remain blank.

Gameplay

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Super Blackout is a puzzle game that I’m not sure really has a genre type to it.  The title could be used as the genre, in all honestly.  So, let’s go with that.  This game is what you would call a grid-based blackout puzzle game.

Starting the game gives a few different game modes you have to deal with.  The main game modes are difficulty settings.  You have 30 grids to play in Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulties.  That’s a total of 90 different grids to try to solve.  You also have a random puzzle generator that will pit you against randomized puzzles instead of set ones with difficulties.

The last and most intuitive game mode is Creation Mode.  There are 30 slots where you can create your own levels.  There aren’t ways to upload these levels to the web, but if you have any friends over in the puzzle mood, you can create your own levels for them to attempt to solve.  Despite the lack of online servers, it’s pretty fun to dive into this type of mode and just create.

This game is a black-out puzzle game.  Each time you select a tile, it will brighten or darken all of the surrounding tiles.  Think of it like selecting tiles in Minesweeper, but without the mines that will give you a game over. The goal of the game is to make all tiles on the grid black and not leave a single tile lit up.  This starts out pretty simple, but gets complicated very quickly.

I consider myself pretty good at puzzle games, though I began having issues and complications with the puzzles about halfway through Easy Mode.  Although there’s no Story Campaign to push you forward, there’s a ton of difficulty and challenge for any puzzle fans.  As such, I have to say this is a very difficult game.

As far as how long this game is, it’s a toss-up.  Each puzzle could be solved in less than a minute, or it could take a good 30 minutes or more of experimenting around to find the right combination to get it solved.  If you’re a perfectionist and go through all 90 puzzles, we’re talking hours and hours of time.  More if you really get into creating your own levels.  It’s got enough content to warrant the $4.99 price whether you spend a little time with the game or a lot of time.

Controls

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Controls are quite simple when you’re playing this game.  This game is compatible with the PlayStation TV, so it isn’t exclusive to the touch screen.  You can use the touch screen, but you can also use the buttons on the Vita or a controller on the PSTV.

The only touch option is tapping on options.  Button controls are pretty simple, too.  To go through options in the menu or the grid, you use the D-Pad and can select options with the X button.  Circle can be used to exit the grid or save a custom grid.  Triangle can be used to reset the grid you’re trying to work on.  That’s about all there is to it.

The problem with the controls is the lack of explanation.  The game does a good job of using a How to Play section to explain how the grid puzzles work.  But it doesn’t go out of the way to explain what controls do what.  You just are left to figure it out as you go.

Presentation

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Visually, there’s nothing fancy to be seen.  A puzzle game doesn’t really need to be fancy on visuals.  This actually proved to be good for the PSM world.  Since most 3D PS Mobile games ran poorly, it paid to go for a basic design that gave you good performance instead of a visually impressive title that ran badly.  Since frame-rate is such a touchy subject in the Vita community, the better performance your game has, the better reception is.

As you’d expect, performance is good, for the most part.  There is a rather lengthy blank loading screen when you first boot up the game.  This is also something a lot of PSM games tended to have.  Many games have longer loading sequences when you start them up, but it’s a little different when the loading screen is just a blank screen.  Makes it feel like it’s so much longer than it is.

Summary

Super Blackout is yet another PS Mobile game that’s come to the PS Vita as a native title.  There are a couple hiccups with the long loading screen at the start and confusion of not explaining the button controls.  But past these hiccups is a very challenging and engaging grid-based puzzle game.

8/10

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