[Beyond PlayStation] Blacksad: Under the Skin Review
Blacksad: Under the Skin is a noir-themed adventure with an anthropomorphic cast. Is it worth your time? Check our Blacksad: Under the Skin review!
Blacksad started as a graphic novel series from Spanish writer Juan Diaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido back in November 2000. The books have a film noir look and feel, featuring a cast of anthropomorphic animals, and follows private detective John Blacksad. The series has had several graphic novels, which made the Blacksad universe a good option for doing an adventure game that pays homage to the classics in the genre, which is why I’m here to talk to you about Blacksad on the Nintendo Switch. The good news for fans of Blacksad is that the story for this console game is an all-new tale.
After an introductory section that will give you a chance to learn the basics, you’ll get to meet Sonia Dunn, who has a case for you. Bobby Yale, a promising boxer from Dunn’s Gym, has gone missing, which is weird since he was set to take on the most important boxing match of his career. On top of this, Joe Dunn, Sonia’s father, apparently hung himself a couple of days before. Because of all this, and at the recommendation of a friend of Blacksad, Sonia decides to hire him so that he can search for Bobby Yale.
The first thing you’re going to notice about Blacksad is that it takes a while for the game to load the first scene for you to play. The loading was worse at launch, but even after a couple of patches, it’s still longer than you’d expect it to be. You’ll move Blacksad around each area with the left analog stick, interacting with things with the A button. Since Blacksad is a cat, you’ll be able to use his cat senses by pressing the Y button. Cat senses will allow you to boost your smell, vision, and hearing so that you can find the clues that will allow you to progress further into the game’s story. You can move the camera when possible with the right analog stick and can zoom in and zoom out with the ZL and ZR buttons.
As you play, you’ll need to keep an eye on the different conversations you can have with the characters of the Blacksad universe. Some conversations will allow you to take your time, while others will not be as kind and will demand that you quickly make up your mind so that you can pick the option that best suits you. Along with these, there will also be some quick-time events that will force you to use the left analog stick to move in a specific direction, or press a button that will pop on the screen, all during segments that might have a very short window of opportunity.
You’ll also have to make decisions as well, and you’ll need to be careful about this. Why? Because while some of them are not going to have a big impact on the game’s beat, sometimes the decisions you make can end up altering the game’s plot down the road. One of the main gameplay mechanics is the deductions you’ll have to make. By pressing the R button, you’ll get a chance to make some deductions based on the evidence you’ve managed to obtain. You’ll know you have found some valuable information since you’ll get a pop-up that will notify you it’s been added to your detective notebook.
Your notebook can be reviewed by pressing the L button. As you play the game, more and more information will be added to the notebook. You’ll get to write down things on the different characters you meet, the individuals who are potentially tied to this particular case, and more, along with some photographs that will help to remind you who they are. This information, and the list of characters, will grow a you progress through the game.
As you explore each new area and interact with any characters there, you should keep your eyes peeled for any of the collectible cards you can find for the Hall of Fame album in your possession. While these cards won’t have any impact on the story or help you progress through the case, they do work as a nice diversion that will have you searching high and low for them. This is good since the cards are usually near other points of interest, so you’ll end up finding some great information as you go. The hall of Fame album is split into football, baseball, boxing, and ice hockey, and there are 23 cards to find for each of these sections. Be sure to flip each card so that you can read the information on the back for each player!
Blacksad: Under the Skin presents an interesting adventure game, featuring a new story set in the beloved Blacksad universe. It has a solid voice acting cast and fun gameplay mechanics, with around 9-12 hours of gaming time ahead of you, depending on your experience with the genre. The game has been improved from its launch version, with shorter loading times, better textures, and a boost in framerate, making for a better game on Nintendo Switch.
This Blacksad review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Microids.