Imagine, for just a moment, that you are blind. Pretend that this bright and colorful world that you have grown so accustomed to has been bathed in darkness and the familiarities of every day life have been transfigured into anonymous hulking shapes that lurk just beyond your realm of perception. Allow your mind to enter a world in which every time is two in the morning, and every corridor is the same unlit hallway that exists somewhere between the waking world and your nightmares and you will have effectively entered the world of Blind, an artistically minimalist platformer from Peter Maslencenko, and Omar Shehata.
The world you inhabit is one of little more than shadows, your ears providing the faintest hints of outlines for the objects that surround you. Then, out of the darkness, comes a cry for help, one you feel compelled to answer despite the perils that separate you from the calling voice. And believe me, there are plenty of perils that await you from spike filled pits to moving platforms you'll have your hands full just keeping yourself alive, let alone trying to save someone else. Your mission on each level is to reach the "help" calling after you, and in order to survive this daunting task, you'll need to use the [arrow] keys to walk and climb, the [spacebar] to jump, and the [shift] key to throw switches. If the constant sonar waves that emit from your body don't give you a clear enough picture of your surroundings, you can also throw a ball using the mouse in order to sound out where that next safe platform is.
Analysis: In many ways, Blind is reminiscent of Closure, from the pixelated black and white graphics to the experimentation with light to the platforming gameplay. But Blind is its own animal, separating itself from Closure in ways both good and bad.
Blind sits almost exactly halfway between a skill intensive platformer, and a puzzler. You'll definitely come face to face with some tricky jumps and your reflexes may be put through their paces, but the fact that you have to do this without actually being able to see the level in its entirety is what can really get the neurons pumping. In all actuality, in many ways playing Blind is kind of like playing a maze or exploring a dungeon where you first must map the whole thing out, and then you can work on finding a solution to get out of there. All the while you are treated to dark yet simple graphics and a positively eerie backtrack that come together to set an unsettling mood, one that is as pregnant with danger as the pit at your feet that you think might be full of spikes.
But I do think that in many ways Blind doesn't go far enough. There are some puzzle elements at work here, however there could have been so much more exploration done with that. Keeping the game mostly a standard platformer with the twist of not being able to see most of the levels therefore leads not only to tediousness, but frustration as well. Further, there is virtually no narrative following the introduction which, in a game that is clearly meant to have some artistic expression, can allow the player to drift away from any substantive or emotional connection that is formed with the protagonist in the first place.
And yet, there's a part of me that thinks the frustration is intentional, and maybe even the alienation. Perhaps, these aren't flaws so much as further expressions of the hardships those not gifted with sight must face? Whether for artistic exploration, or just a good challenge, though, Blind does provide an interesting gaming experience with a thought provoking artistic shell.
This game is really interesting. So far I'm having trouble because my keys seem to be sticking for some reason. But I'm going to keep playing on another computer when I get the chance, the concept is interesting and the gameplay is intriguing so far.
How to use the ball? I'm stuck on level 5 and I think the ball might provide a clue but all I can do is cycle through the power meter with LMB, but can't drop it or throw it or anything. I think I might need to reload the game for this, might be a bug.
Yup, it was a bug. I figured out level 5 and can now throw my ball again, yay.
It's an interesting idea, but too buggy to be playable. The ball stops working (same problem as above, except it never started working again), keys sometimes doesn't work, hit detection is wonky, etc. There's also no sense of progression at all.
@Username - it's definitely a bug. Throwing the ball worked for me at first but at some point later it started acting just like you described. Makes it really hard to explore without putting yourself at risk of spikification.
Overall, I like the idea, but I felt that the controls were awfully sloppy for a game that is built around precision guessing. Not so much the horizontal movement, but jumping and climbing ladders got to be a real pain in later levels when there's not a lot of leeway. The collision detection also seems off, but there's really no way for me to be sure about that :-|
As Kyle noted, there's not a lot to keep you emotionally tied to the game, which is why I quit after the level where
it took me about 2 dozen deaths to figure out that the spikes were moving continuously
followed by the level where
after having been conditioned by overhead spikes not to jump anywhere unless it was totally necessary, you needed to jump in a random place in a long corridor to see the switch that activated some unknown platform in the next room
I have kind of got a slight obsession going on with anything to do with loss of sight recently.
My dear friend lost her sight almost completely recently and playing this game, which is quire frustrating, kind of in a very small way lead me to get a grip on her new world.
However I'm not sure if it was me being a doofus and poor gamer or the game itself which caused the most annoyance...didnt get as far as I would have liked ....fab concept tho ...sadly no tea
Closure did it a lot better.
I managed to get to the end.
It wasn't as satisfying as I had hoped. It wasn't thought provoking; it didn't tie together the clues very well; it didn't even make much sense. That's something I could have forgiven that if it had been easier to beat the game.
The artistic darkness aspect was enough to draw me to the game, but it didn't really follow through. It really just slowed me down while figuring out where the platforms were. It would have been better if the darkness were somehow interactive with the game (not necessarily the same way as closure).
...and now I need an aspirin D=
The inability to grab onto ladders while in the air is totally unrealistic. Everyone can do that!
I really like the concept of the game, enjoyed the moody music and I felt drawn in to the sense of despair coupled with determination.
I like the game, very much, but I'm not a fan of platformers - in fact, they drive me to distraction. I didn't progress far through the game for that reason.
The game is really too buggy to work. Personally, I'd prefer to see this sort of idea applied to, say, an escape the room game. As a platformer, especially when the controls don't work (I couldn't use the ball at all starting on level 2, and couldn't get far enough to matter), this was too frustrating to get emotionally involved with. I *do* like the use of the sonar, though, and think that it would be interesting to see such a mechanism incorporated in a puzzle-based game, as suggested in the opening.
Interesting tidbit - it *is* possible for a human to use a "sonar" to identify objects and one's surroundings. Ben Underwood, a blind young man, taught himself to "see" using sonar by clicking his tongue and listening to the sound waves.
A video about him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLziFMF4DHA
I think this real-life fact may have contributed to the mechanism in BLIND, which upset me the most when I found the game too buggy to play. Please, game designer, tweak the game! The concept is too great to waste!
this game still makes you rely solely on your eyes. i thought that i would be using my hearing and such to navigate but this game is just frustrating. nice idea, poor execution.
What I found most frustrating about the controls was that everything was keyboard controlled except for the ball. So whenever I wanted to use the ball (which was a lot), I had to take my right hand off the keyboard and move it to the mouse. This got so annoying that I gave up shortly after discovering the ball.
I might not have given up if the game had grabbed me, but it didn't. I didn't feel compelled to continue.
Couldn't figure it out. Couldn't work out how to pick up the ball; couldn't make some of the keys it was suggesting do anything. Couldn't figure out how to know if there was a pit I was about to fall down. Where's the fun in that? Terrible game.
not a game that i like to play, honestly for a while. I dont have that kind of patience.
hints at level 12?
level 12 is done by jumping to the left from the starting platform and hitting the switch on the ceiling
Now can anyone tell me the secret to 13?
Yeah, I played it till about Level 16, and I got frustrated, because I am horribly skilled at playing blindly, and so I would still like to see the end of the game. Anyone wanna help? I'd appreciate it.
This game has very interesting and original concept. However, I failed terribly due to my lack of patience :D
But I must admit I'd very much like to see this concept in an 'escape the room' game! :)
It was a beautiful game and there were 21 levels in it. The ending was saddening ,as in, I literally got tears in my eyes. They have shown the ending beautifully and "hats off" to the game makers. But the concept is good, the story line, specially the music in the background..I got impatient in the 18th level! But it was fun! One of the best games i've played!!!