Black Mirror is a flawed game. A shame because the story is actually pretty decent. The puzzles are a nice touch too. Despite this though, the game’s numerous flaws bring down the overall experience tremendously.
Decent story. Black Mirror’s story is its strongest point, and rightfully so considering the genre. It may have been a bit underwhelming overall, but it was at least better than average for this type of game. The whole “ghost sequence” method of unraveling the story’s mystery was pretty cool.
The puzzles. Black Mirror features some pretty cool puzzles to unravel during the first few chapters. My favorite of which is the first one the player is tasked with solving. This one being a puzzle desk, with different puzzles scattered across the desk that need solving in order to open the secret compartment. I loved solving these puzzles, even if they were not all that challenging. I only wish the game included more of these, as the puzzle element was mostly dropped after chapter 3.
Awful movement and camera controls. Black Mirror has some of the most frustrating movement and camera controls I have ever been subjected to. The game goes for a more movie-esque feeling with its camera angles, constantly switching between different angles as I am moving around. The flaw with this system is that the movement is tied to these camera angles. So If I am walking straight and the camera angle suddenly flips to facing me, I end up completely turning around and walking in the opposite direction. The fact that the game has to constantly switch cameras every time I move just a few feet certainly does not help this fact. I could have easily shaved a lot of time off of my playthrough if I did not have to constantly readjust my character’s movement.
There is also a problem with the movement when entering new rooms. For a second or so after entering a new room, the character’s movements felt like they were still tied to the previous room’s camera angle. I played with an Xbox 360 controller, so I would often adjust for the change of camera angle during the loading screen, only for it to move me in the opposite direction right back into the room I just came from. I eventually gave up doing so and would just not touch the controller at all until a few seconds after entering the new room.
Technical issues. Black Mirror not only offers the player some awful camerawork, but also has quite a few technical issues to offer up as well. Throughout the game I noticed that animations would sometimes “skip”, like several frames were lost in-between. It was like little micro-freezes. These did not occur during gameplay, but during the game’s cinematic moments, drawing attention away from the “cinematic” appeal of these scenes. On top of that issue, I also had the game crash on me entirely at one point, losing me a little bit of progress. The game is also plagued with loading screens, with one in-between every room.
Robotic animations. This is also another issue with the game’s cinematic scenes, rather than its actual gameplay (although the cinematic scenes make up half of the game). A lot of the animations present in these scenes just felt robotic, like a head turning without any other part of the body moving. Any sort of immersion that I may have had during these scenes was instantly lost when I cracked up over just how awful the animation was. It was very off-putting.
It is hard to recommend Black Mirror with the amount of technical flaws present. If the movement and camera controls were at least somewhat passable, then maybe. However, in the game’s current state, it simply is not worth the time, even with the decent story and puzzle element.
You can buy Black Mirror on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.