Blacktail Review – Bewitched Archer

This Is eXputer's Blacktail Review.

Our Blacktail review is about a recently released little indie title developed by a studio named ‘The Parasight.’ It offers a unique take on dark fairy tales, combining creative storytelling with a combat system that is a bit flawed.

And though there are some archaic systems and challenging platforming sections in the game, Blacktail generally succeeds in its goal. So let’s dive into our review to see whether the game lives up to its potential.

Story And Setting

Blacktail Review
Plot.

Yaga, the protagonist of the story, is in a bit of a pickle. Her sister has disappeared, and the folks in her village think that she’s a servant of Baba, a wicked witch that occupies the surrounding woodlands. So armed with a bow, a magical gauntlet, and a mask, Yaga sets off on a quest to save her family. Blacktail’s narrative follows a simple pattern: find some spirits, battle them into submission, explore Yaga’s lost memories, and figure out what happened to your sister Zora.

The story features an intriguing plot that takes many unexpected twists and turns, and it focuses on a mysterious protagonist and an enigmatic guide, known only as ‘The Voice’, that appears in their thoughts. The dialogue is deliberately meandering, often leading to unexpected places, and the cast of side characters adds to the mystery. While at times the narrative can be too vague and indirect, there are still enough details provided to hold your attention. 

Gameplay

Blacktail Review
Gameplay.

Dive into the wilderness of Yaga, where morality and survival skills blend together. Throughout the game, you’ll be scavenging for the resources needed to build your arsenal and hone your skills in combat and salvaging. The mission and skill choices you make will reflect your moral viewpoint, and better still, the action won’t get stale as the loop of fighting, completing objectives, and scavenging for resources is endlessly diverse. With each step, it feels like the player is becoming part of a bigger, vibrant ecosystem.   

Every move you make in Blacktail affects your morality, whether it’s giving an apple to a hedgehog or taking out a bird’s nest. How good or bad you are, gives you different boosts and makes a spell act differently. The rest of your capabilities come from finding stuff in chests or doing little side jobs.   

The bow is your best friend in this game, and you start your journey by finding materials for and crafting some arrows to practice your shooting skills. Aiming and shooting your arrows accurately is critical to survival and so it is important to be proficient at it. Making arrows on the fly is also something that you will do often in the game, as you never know when you will need them.   

After a while, Yaga gets a magic force push power that functions similarly to a “shield bash” technique. It doesn’t do a lot of damage, but it can send smaller critters flying and even knock back bigger enemies. It’s handy when up against something tougher because it’ll make them back off so the player can get a good hit in. Plus, if you are squaring off against someone with a shield, it leaves them open for attack.  

Blacktail’s combat is quite challenging and can even be downright repetitive. Because players are only allowed to carry nine arrows at once, so you must continually produce new ammunition while engaged with foes. If you need to swap out your gear or make new potions or arrows, Blacktail won’t give you a break. Boss fights are also challenging and require much planning and expertise for this exact reason.

The Knight Boss.

As mentioned earlier, Blacktail also features some survival aspects, and the crafting system is quite easy and intriguing as the game does hold your hand in this regard. After the first few minutes of gameplay, you’ll see that almost every item will be listed, and they are quite easy to find around. There will be different sorts of arrows and potions that you can craft, and each of them has its own utilities. Some of them will help increase the power of your attacks, while others can be used to negate status effects.

Health items are the one thing you can’t make yourself, and you instead have to go out and devour wild berries in order to recover. Although they are rather plentiful, it might be annoying if you don’t frequently see them. I wasted a lot of time simply wandering around trying to find these when I was injured because I could not progress forward otherwise.

Visuals And Performance

Blacktail Review
Visuals.

This title features striking visuals with distinct, almost cartoon-like, yet realistic characters and enemy models. The skybox is intricate with its canvas-style stars, sun, and moon as well. The four different seasons all have distinct visuals giving the game world plenty of diversity. 

When it comes to sound effects, it’s pretty standard stuff. The parts that really stand out are the voice acting and music – they did an amazing job making the world look and sound as real as it was weird. If you’re having fun with the game, you won’t get bored or annoyed with the sound design any time soon.

In terms of performance, there were no bugs during my time with the game on PC, and the frame rate remained consistent. We tested the title out on both an older RX 580 and a GTX 1060, and they both ran the game with no issues.

Verdict

Blacktail
Verdict.

Blacktail offers a unique experience, featuring themes from Slavic folklore, a surrealist narrative, an unconventional plot structure, and a craggy yet dreamlike art style. It also incorporates archery-based gameplay and encourages exploration through mysterious and dangerous environments. Although it may not be for everyone, it provides a captivating journey through a dark and imaginative world.

Blacktail features a diverse range of gameplay mechanics, but can sometimes get off track from its narrative goals. While the game offers an aesthetically pleasing world, it is generally unremarkable. Nevertheless, it is a world that could potentially be visited multiple times.

This has been our Blacktail Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.

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Blacktail Review
Overall
3.5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Blacktail features a diverse range of gameplay mechanics, but can sometimes get off track from its narrative goals. While the game offers an aesthetically pleasing world, it is generally unremarkable.

Pros

  • Unique Visuals
  • Decent Narrative
  • Extremely Atmospheric

Cons

  • Repetitive Combat
  • Lack Of Enemy Variety

Asad Ahmed


Having a knack for gaming and writing, Asad has annexed these two media to bring you the latest video game content. RTS is where his gaming journey started, but RPGs are where he fell in love with it. Skyrim is his all-time favorite game.

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