Blackbox - think outside the box (Free) by Ryan McLeod is a new kind of puzzle game that has you thinking of creative new ways to solve puzzles without ever touching the screen. If you’re tired of the same old puzzle games on iOS, then Blackbox is something refreshing and different.
If you have followed my work here at AppAdvice, then you will know that I can’t help but love a good puzzle game. However, over the years, it seems that puzzles have become a tried-and-true genre, where developers go with the same old gameplay concepts and challenges, just don’t in a slightly different way. None of them have brought something completely different to the table in terms of iOS gaming, so while I love the genre, sometimes it starts to feel a bit stale. So when I got a message in my inbox regarding a new puzzle game that makes you think outside of the box, I was intrigued — what could this possibly mean? Turns out that Blackbox is a puzzle game that is unlike anything you’ve ever played before. So take what you know about puzzles on iOS and throw it out the window, because none of that will help you with this unique twist to the genre.
Visually speaking, Blackbox is very simple and fairly barebones, to be honest. It goes along well with the clean and flat aesthetic of modern day iOS, and fans of minimal design will fall in love. Blackbox, as the name suggests, features a crisp, black background that fills the entire screen, and neon lines, shapes, and dots contrast nicely against the darkness. There isn’t much else to the game’s graphics other than that, but the animations are fluid and smooth, making for a seamless playing experience. The game has no sounds or music, but that doesn’t detract from the experience at all — in fact, it adds to it.
Blackbox has over 50 distinctive puzzles for players to solve. They are not split up into various chapters like other games. Instead, they are color-coded, and you unlock more available puzzles as you solve other ones. The colors each have a different meaning, but one thing is for certain: they all utilize some aspect of your iPhone’s hardware, so you’re going to have to really understand how your device works in order to solve the puzzles.
The controls in Blackbox are special, because you will never use the screen to solve anything. You can tap on the screen to pause and return to the level select screen, or perform a 3D Touch on a compatible device to quickly go back home. But for actually solving the puzzles, you will have to figure out what the puzzle is asking you to do, and make use of the component on your iPhone to solve it. This ranges from using the device gyroscope and accelerometer to get colors on the screen to go where you need them to, using the mirror to reverse what is on the screen, adjusting the brightness of your device, tinkering around with the buttons and headphone jack, blowing into the microphone, and much more. This is just a sample of what I’ve tried so far, and I’m just a few puzzles in.
While the game certainly has a new perspective on puzzles, be prepared — some of these can be rather maddening at first, so you’ll have to return to it at a later time to solve if you can’t figure it out immediately. The game also has some hints that you can use, though they should be kept as a last resort when you just can’t seem to figure out what to do. Blackbox is a challenging puzzle game that requires brainpower, time, patience, and perspective to solve.
I’m still fairly early on in Blackbox, but I am in love with it so far. As a big fan of puzzles, this is the most invigorating new game I’ve played in a while due to the exclusive gameplay concept and controls. Plus, the minimalist visuals and text look fantastic on the screen. The developer is also actively looking for user feedback, so if you find something broken or have ideas for new challenges, make sure to let the developer know.
I highly recommend giving Blackbox a try if you haven’t already. It’s great to see someone come up with something that has yet to be done in the iOS gaming world until now.
Blackbox – think outside the box is available on the App Store as a free download for your iPhone only. There are in-app purchases for hints and an all-level unlock.