Video Game Review: Blindside
Every once in a while there is a game that walks out of the shadows, calmly peeling off a glove before swiftly slapping you across the face with it and forcing you to challenge your preconceived notions of what a game can be. Blindside is one such game. After regaining my composure from having been challenged to a duel in the 21st century, it is clear that Blindside stands tall and does not waver.
Without giving away too many details, players take control of the main character, Case. The city has been destroyed and the world is now inhabited by monsters but, as with all good things, there is a caveat; everyone is blind. Coinciding with the arrival of the monsters, an inexplicable blindness affects every character found in Blindside, including yourself. As such, there are no art assets at all: no character models, no beautiful environment, nothing.
In order to play Blindside, the player has to use headphones and their sense of hearing to navigate. In the environment, there are certain sounds that are constantly playing in order to act as a reference for the player. These can be the sounds of other people, a ticking clock, or sleeping monsters. Outside of this, there is not much to discuss concerning the actual mechanics of the game. As you explore, finding specific items trigger scenes that take control away from the player and progress the story. Despite this, Blindside is able to create a game that is magnificently immersive.
While there is a compass to help players find their way through the world, I played Blindside with my monitor turned off. I should also mention that I played late at night, in my basement, and with all the lights turned off, which is how all good horror games should be played. With every possible distraction removed, all I could focus on was the carefully and artistically created soundscape Blindside presented to me. After a night of paranoia and insomnia, I feel comfortable in saying the Blindside is capable of creating a substantial impact, assuming the player allows it to happen.
As much as I love Blindside because of its high-concept design and it actually being a fun (and terrifying) experience, there are flaws worth mentioning. Case and the other characters often make it quite clear what your next objective is when playing, and players have access to hints in case they cannot find their way. However, there is a substantial disconnect between Case and the player. Case has knowledge of the environment, but at times the descriptions felt too vague to be of much assistance. One particular section had me attempt to locate and move desks, but with no noise reference to find them the game quickly devolved into my spamming the “H” key to reveal a hint that would indicate the direction of my objective. While it is functional, it became moderately frustrating having to constantly stop and wait for another hint.
All in all, Blindside shows tremendous potential for the future. At the meager cost four dollars, it’s available on PC, Mac, and iOS, which uses the gyroscope for greater immersion. It is impossible not to recommend this title because of how unique of an experience it presents. Although it is by no means a long game and has some minor flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. Furthermore, the ending of Blindside mentions that it was only the first episode, implying that there may be future content. Hopefully Epicycle, Blindside’s developer, will learn from their experiences and expand upon the already solid foundation from this game. If you are interested, you can check out Blindside’s official website here. Epicycle was also successful in getting Blindside funded through Kickstarter, so any updates through that can be found here.