The Blackwell Deception

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
The Blackwell Deception Game Poster Image
Simplistic ghost adventure game lets you solve mysteries.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to solve a series of mysteries by using clues and mentally putting together pieces of a puzzle. This game relies heavily on text-based dialogue and instructions, with the graphics and animation as a secondary element. As a result, it is a very cerebral game and can also help players with their reading comprehension skills. More story than game, The Blackwell Deception gets kids reading and solving mysteries, but without much feedback.

Positive Messages

There is a bit of an eerie undertone to this game since it revolves around guiding spirits of dead people to the afterlife. This task has fallen into the hands of Rosangela Blackwell (Rose), who has been given the unique ability to see these trapped spirits and help them. Though it is an unconventional storyline, Rose comes across as a kind-hearted person trying to do the right thing with her special ability.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonist, Rose, fits into the character mold of someone with a unique power who uses that power for good. She is presumably the only one in the world with her ability to see trapped spirits and set them free to explore the afterlife. She takes this responsibility with great pride and is not content until she has helped as many spirits as she can.

Ease of Play

This game can be completed in less than 10 hours, but players will need to pay attention to the story, follow instructions, and use logic to find clues and solve puzzles. This is meant to be an easy, accessible game so anyone willing to make the effort of following along with the story and picking up on hints and clues should be able to make it through with little difficulty.

Violence

Players never commit any acts of violence in this game, nor do they ever see any such acts being committed. However, there is discussion of death and murder in the storyline, and the eerie subject matter of dead, ghostly spirits hanging around in this world may be troublesome for some kids.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There is one character who is depicted with a cigarette in his mouth, though this is really only visible in still images and not a part of normal gameplay.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Blackwell Deception is a point-and-click computer adventure game. This game intentionally recreates the look and feel of the 1990's vintage games, giving it an "old-school" aesthetic. The story revolves around a girl's unique ability to see spirits that have been trapped between this world and the next, and it is her job to set them free. There are references to violence and death in the story but no violence is depicted during gameplay. In addition, there is one character who has a cigarette in his mouth for the duration of the game.

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What's it about?

THE BLACKWELL DECEPTION centers around a girl who has the uncanny ability to see spirits of people who have died in this world but for some reason or another are unable to move on to the afterlife. The girl, Rose, tracks down clues and solves mysteries to find what is keeping each respective spirit here and what she needs to do so it can be free to move onto the next world. There is somewhat of a dark tone to the story, as it is implied the victims were killed rather than died of natural causes, though the details of their deaths is not drawn out in detail.

Is it any good?

The Blackwell Deception provides a throwback to computer games of the 1990s, with its intentionally poor graphical style and limited gameplay controls. Players should be aware of this before deciding to buy the game, but this is by no means a limitation on the game's experience. The story is captivating enough to hold players' interest throughout the game. Players can finish the game in as little as five or six hours; it is presented more as an interactive story than a compelling video game. As such, the gameplay controls are sometimes uninspired and there are points when the game becomes secondary to the story and it feels more like completing a chore to unlock the next part of the story. Nevertheless, the unique and well-scripted tale that unfolds is worth playing through the entire game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the references to violence and death in this game. How can you cope with tragic events like this?

  • What is the best way to set computer time limits so that kids don't play for too long?

Game details

For kids who love mysteries and adventures

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