Blake: the visual novel is as the title states a visual novel. Blake is developed by Ori Mees and published by LegendOri Productions. Ori wrote, designed, and coded this game in their spare time while already working in the games’ industry as a play test coordinator. Their credits include Outriders, Control, Life is Strange 2, and John Wick Hex. Blake tells an entrancing story of what is a psychological thriller that brings Blake to the edge.
On the opening of Blake, let me just say that that title screen music entranced me. I stayed on the menu for a good 10 minutes just listening to that music only. Dan Le sac and Sam Dudley really did an amazing job with the music. The smooth jazz of the music already told me I was in for a noir and if not noir then a detective story. If that was the goal with the music, they hit the notes perfectly and led me into what was about to be a great story. It was one of the many reasons I could immerse myself in the story.
Art in the game leaves a mark, really. Diego Llorente and Adrian Stone really made each look unique and each scene feel different. The very first scene in Blake as a person with an art background shows mastery of the craft. Amazing line work, foreshortening, and the know-how to set the mood in-game with the scene lighting. All the techniques they use while for most its expected because what’s a visual novel without visuals, it all helped to immerse me into the game.
Story and Progression
Blake is a choice-based game. Upon starting, I was not expecting to meet with a choice right away of opening my eyes or stepping forward on a black screen. I made a choice and when the eyes opened, Blake is standing on a ledge of a high-rise building. First thought, this must be a dream sequence. Later in the story, more on why this opening came to be, comes to light.
As a choice-based game, the decisions should influence and change the story as such. I found in some cases it did upon a second playthrough, not too significantly though. At most, a character might die, or you miss a mini-game. The reason it’s not too significant is that the end is not long after and the consequences which could be character reactions to Blake are not seen because of that. Should there be a second Blake, I’m hoping, we can explore more of what would be the aftermath of these choices.
What makes Blake interesting to me is the exploration of what is the story is, exploring the main character who for all-purpose can be said to have D.I.D (Dissociative Identity Disorder). This was once called Split Personality Disorder. For people who don’t have it or don’t really understand, Blake hits a bit on what It’s like to have it, albeit an extremely dangerous case. There are many forms it takes, and I feel the exploration of it in Blake may help people to understand it some and the possible effects it has. As a person not with D.I.D but a disorder of my own, I could relate somewhat when it comes to the questionnaires in the game that Blake has to take because those are questions one’s therapist might ask to gauge where you are mental.
A neat feature that Blake has, and it’s my first visual novel so forgive me if I don’t know other visual novels have this but, the option to turn on text to speech, so you don’t have to read is nice for those that don’t want to read. I do think I would prefer voice acting of some sort because text to speech does not capture the inflections of what the mood would be in the tense or exciting moments. I preferred to read after trying it out because like reading a book, I just imagined what the voices were like.
Blake is a relatively short game with a good story, great art, and great music that explores a person that was born with D.I.D and the effect it has on his life. I can’t really say the choices change much of the game as I stated before as the aftermath is not really seen. For me, that means that I don’t really think it warrants a second play-through unless there is going to be a second Blake game.
The way it ended, on my first playthrough, had me thinking “This can not be the end.” Blake just goes off to deal with the problem on his own. My second play ended differently but still left me thinking that this can not be the end. Overall, Blake left me wanting more and hoping we do. If that is not a good sign of a good story and good game, I don’t know what is.
Blake is out now on Steam for $1.99. Looking for a well-written psychological thriller visual novel with great visuals and music that will really leave you wanting to know if there is more in store, then give Blake a try. I really enjoyed it.