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    by: 439 7.6

    7.6 Expert
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    Blackbar's review

    Published: 2014-04-24, by .

    Stark text-only dystopian adventure about censorship that leaves filling in the blanks to your imagination

    • Utterly unique
    • Minimalist design lets you fill in the blanks with your own imagination
    • Cleverly unfolding story
    • Text-based adventuring is not for everyone

    "They're not watching you, you're just ■■■■■■■■"

    Blackbar is a totally unique kind of text adventure through a sci-fi dystopian future wherein censorship impedes even basic communication.

    The story develops letter by letter, opening with an explanation of a new job at some kind of government agency. Black boxes begin to appear more and more frequently over crucial words, and the only way to proceed to the next page of the story is to correctly guess the word that was blocked. The hints have to come from the context - you can also try to use the size of the box as a clue - and it feels disturbingly similar to how I imagine it might to receive an actual censored piece of mail. The story becomes darker and darker as you decipher the correspondence, which begins to include cryptic government propaganda alongside the personal writing...

    The text-only format encourages imaginative construction of the futuristic world in your mind's eye as you work through the letters. That kind of demanding mental conjuring isn't for everyone, and neither is the hint-less fill-in-the-blank mechanic. And yet, there's something wholly original here, and the starkness in design manages to reflect the possibility for human hope even in times of bleakness.

    If such a promising premise intrigues you at all, definitely give Blackbar a go - you've never had an experience like this one before, and hopefully you never will again.

    Janel Appszoom logo

    by Janel , Appszoom

    Apr 24, 2014


    "Blackbar is a brilliant game." —Ron Gilbert

    "Its allegories are smart, and its approach to story-telling on touch-devices is just as well. 4.5/5" —TouchArcade

    "Taut and intelligent. 8/10" —Eurogamer

    "A political statement—a super fun one. I _______ love this _______ game." —Loren Brichter

    "Awesome and totally unexpected." —Shaun Inman

    Blackbar is a text game: a sci-fi story of a dystopian future told through the medium of word puzzles. Reminiscent of text adventures and interactive fiction, it has a unique mechanic centered around the concept of censorship. Censorship is frustrating, but the human spirit can beat that frustration by turning it into a game.

    You'll pick up Blackbar instantly; however, its challenges will keep you searching, thinking, and trying for days.

    "An ingenious puzzle game that critiques censorship" —Fast Company

    "The humor is black, the puzzles go from simple to truly challenging, and the story is top-notch." —Gamemoir

    "Playing Blackbar is Like High School English Class, And I Love It." —Kotaku

    "Wonderfully written and does a fantastic job of pulling you into a not entirely unrealistic tale." —Gizmodo

    "Well-written and entertaining, with just a touch of a deeper message to hit a few concepts home. Just plain awesome." —JayIsGames

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