Puzzle games are very fun, as they can blend so many different genres of gaming to make really special experiences. You can have a first person title like Portal blending really creative portal mechanics for or control a little spy creature in Stealth Inc. while solving devious puzzles over & over again. This genre of gaming blends & uses gameplay styles to make really special games and its one of my personal favorite genres of gaming.
Super Thumb Games Black Hole Hazard is a title blending the arcade shooter but putting you inside labyrinths, all in the quest to escape the void of space. Does the games blending of genre’s create a fun title?
We follow Dr. Albert Armstrong who is a senior researcher at International Nuclear Research Center. He was participating in an experiment to create an artificial black hole but during the experiment, an explosion happens, knocking him unconscious. He soon wakes up to find himself floating in a mysterious cosmic space.
Using his jet gun & blaster, he explore the different realms of cosmic space and while he does so, Albert starts piecing together the situation he finds himself in. The story here starts out simple and remains such for the majority of the game, but you can learn more from collecting logs in levels and Albert talks while you play through the game sometimes, commenting on the logs & the situations he finds himself in.
It creates a fun story that pushes you to continue playing, trying to solve the mystery surrounding why Albert is in cosmic space.
Design & Gameplay
Black Hole Hazard has a little hub map, where you move across seven too eight worlds each with eight levels to complete. Once you go into a portal and your selected level, you pop up in a maze where you use the mouse for everything. Based on where you aim forward, you can attack foes & destroy objects with your blaster (right slick). But to move, you have to aim in the opposite direction and use your jet blaster (left click). If you saw the movie Wall-E, you will understand what I’m talking about but basically, you use your jet blaster to move around.
This makes levels very interesting, as they can be very open ensuring you don’t die by using too much jet fuel to fly all over the place & bounce across walls but they can also be tight, asking you to be careful with your movement. One portion I remember is a level in the second world where in order to move forward, you have to hit a switch, but once you do so, a creature stuck behind a door you opened chases you and you have to carefully move around it.
Things get more complex over time and it leads to fantastic stage design being constructed. It takes two very simple mechanics and pushes them to there limits, making a really fun gameplay experience. Exploring the levels also grants you rewards, as you can find logs that you can piece together to get the full story & battery’s for your blaster to grant you more shots.
Exploration is rewarded and makes the well designed levels even more enjoyable to experience. Boss encounters are very interesting too, as a number of them are chase sections where you have to avoid them and go from black hole too black hole. This being done with the games mechanics (Jet Blaster) makes them tense and really fun.
Replay Value & Lasting Appeal
The game has Steam Achievements and a lot of content to play through (Eight Worlds to play through), so you will have a lot of time to play through the game. It took me 4-6 hours to fully complete the game but you can go back to the games levels & collect everything, further extending the games length.
Black Hole Hazard has a great deal of content that while not the longest game, has plenty to go back and replay once you are done with the main adventure.
Black Hole Hazard is set in space, one of the most interesting locations you can play around with. Creatures can be very alien, you can create a feeling of isolation and the music can be very haunting. The game takes full advantage of its setting and I really enjoyed the presentation of this title.
It has a simple look but one that stands out, with the backdrop of space being mysterious and allowing you to explore very alien locations later in the game. In addition, the maze-like levels have a touch of technology in them with creature designs making the game stand out.
Musically, the soundtrack here is solid with strong techno sound that matches the games tone & setting well.
Story: 4 out of 5 / Design & Gameplay: 4.5 out of 5 / Replay Value & Lasting Appeal: 4 out of 5 / Presentation: 4 out of 5
Black Hole Hazard is a great space title that takes a lot of puzzle and action elements but does so with great success. The story sucks you into this space adventure and the core gameplay is simple but very strong with a high level of hidden depth behind it. Presentation is well done and makes great use of the games location with both visuals & sound design. If you enjoy puzzle/action titles, consider getting this title on Steam and it runs well on any PC configuration.
Overall: 4 out of 5
This game was reviewed on the PC (Steam) with a review copy provided by the developer. You can buy the game for 4.99$ on Steam for just the game or currently as of this writing get a Deluxe Edition which contains the games soundtrack for 5.95$