Publisher: HypeTrain Digital
Since Slay The Spire there have been plenty of roleplaying and strategy games that revolve around a deckbuilding mechanic. The exciting new-ish genre has tons of potential, especially for people who love tabletop and video games like myself. Black Book is the latest game to utilize these mechanics, with a story-driven experience driven by Slavic lore.
In Black Book, players take on the role of a witch in training who is grieving the loss of her love. To get him back, she makes a deal with devil. She has access to the Black Book, which will supposedly grant a wish to anyone able to uncover all seven of its seals. The first seal strangely breaks as soon as the protagonist touches it, but players will need to travel and defeat some spooky demons to finish all seven seals and save her beloved.
Black Book is played through both visual novel and a few 3D exploration segments. Players will take on quests to help villagers with issues that are typically inflicted by demons. Players can also send their own chorts (Little demons) to carry out tasks for them. Black Book has a bit of a balancing act driving it, as working with demons and humans can lead to various boons and banes. There is a lot to Black Book to explore when it comes to the game’s mechanics, but it does tend to spread itself just a bit too thin in some areas. The actual gameplay outside of the combat isn’t too interesting. Fortunately, the action and the lore help to carry the experience.
Those who have played similar games will already know what the combat of Black Book is all about. Players will build decks throughout the game and use these decks to battle enemies. Different cards have different effects, but they typically fall under offensive and defensive categories. Players can string together a chain of cards if they fit certain types, adding a welcome bit of strategy to Black Book. Players will get better cards as the game progresses, but they will need to learn the ins and outs of their own decks and enemy behaviors to succeed.
The biggest thing Black Book has going for it is the interesting story and world that it immerses players in. Most of the story and the decisions that players make are presented through text, but that doesn’t harm the immersion. Black Book is heavily grounded in slavic lore, and there are plenty of opportunities for players to learn something new. Those who played The Witcher franchise will be familiar with a few of the monsters that encountered, but there are plenty of new things for players to discover.
Most of the game is voiced, with some English and Russian narrating the text. All of the voice acting is solid, helping to keep players immersed. The graphics of Black Book are decent, with a nice moody art style that makes up for the low poly models. Despite the lack of any crazy graphics, this is a visually pleasing game due to some great stylistic choices.
Black Book is a solid deckbuilding adventure that successfully leans into the myths and lore that inspires it. Those who enjoy the genre and want to learn of a new culture will want to pick this one up. It won’t convert anyone who isn’t already into these types of games, but it still a fine adventure.
Black Book is a solid deckbuilding adventure that successfully leans into the myths and lore that inspires it. Those who enjoy the genre and want to learn of a new culture will want to pick this one up. It won't convert anyone who isn't already into these types of games, but it still a fine adventure.