Blaite and Switch
Blaite wants to test players with its set of dastardly designed levels, but any sense of meaningful challenge is quickly undermined by the game’s needlessly rigid mechanics.
The first thing that dons the screen each time you boot up Blaite is the promise that the game will receive five new levels every week. As admirable as that commitment is, I cannot see myself returning to Blaite anytime soon, and I barely mustered the effort to make it all the way through its original 32 missions.
If you’re going to make a game which thrives on fast-paced platforming and the testing of strong hand-eye coordination, your controls are going to need to be tighter than a camel’s arse in a sandstorm. Unfortunately, the responsiveness of Braid’s supposedly simple control scheme is a far cry from this ideal, rendering this aspiring Super Meat Boy clone as less of an engaging platformer and more of an ingratiating fight against the poorly designed traversal mechanics.
Interactions as theoretically simple as getting on or off ladders are needlessly finicky in Blaite, while other little things, like the game’s struggle to consistently allow you to jump and move at the same time, all work to end up alienating and demotivating the player more than anything else. Perhaps the idea was to replicate the Flappy Bird approach to controls (never a good idea) but, even if that was the case, it has not paid off here at all.
It’s a shame, since Blaite boasts an adept approach to level design, as each mission ramps up the environmental diversity and scale with a steady sense of progression. By the time you’re knee-deep into the later stages of game, it’s worth sitting back and taking in the sheer craziness of their design.
That said, the visual aesthetic of Blaite also leaves much to be desired. The black and white colour scheme may have been adopted with the intention of effectuating a minimalistic style, but the uninventive character and object models (blobs, spikes, bats) instead make the game feel reminiscent of an early 2000’s mobile title, as opposed to an artistically bold indie.
“Blaite is not so much a test of your platforming skills as it is a Sisyphean nightmare”
There’s no doubt that some people will enjoy Blaite, or at least a lot more than I did anyway. Indeed, the going price for the game is pretty much accurate for what it is. But any game that seeks to act as a genuine challenge needs to make sure that it’s always and only the player’s fault whenever they die (for reference, see Souls, Dark). That wasn’t the case with Blaite, as I felt as though the game’s poorly optimized controls – particularly when using a keyboard – would constantly work against me as I attempted to maneuver the character across the precarious environments.
Blaite is not so much a test of your platforming skills as it is a Sisyphean nightmare, and the result is an experience that angers and exasperates rather than one which genuinely exercises your reflexes.
[A copy of the game was purchased by the reviewer for the purpose of this review.]