Adventure game, platformer and strategic space battle in a science fiction universe, StarFlint The Blackhole Prophecy is developed by the French from Pantang Studios. Suffice it to say, we looked at it with interest. The game starts with a pretty nice motion comic intro, with nice animations and 3D models whose graphics match the 2D drawings of the thumbnails. All the dialogues are dubbed correctly (at least in English). We start with a fairly classic story: a villain captures a famous scientist and uses his inventions for evil, until the scientist sabotages his own creation and sweeps both villains and heroes into a black hole. We wake up a few hours later in an unknown galaxy, and we begin to hunt down our eternal enemy. But we soon realize that we arrived in this galaxy almost 20 years after our opponent and that he had time to do a lot of bad things…
At the moment everything is going well. A few heavy jokes from the main character to his teammate – very sexy indeed – which can annoy the most meetoo of players, but nothing too serious either. We land on a planet, we find an enemy installation and we infiltrate it. I quickly understand that the game is a platform game with a little action and a lot of puzzles.
Right off the bat, first problem: the game advises us to use a controller, but the controls aren’t necessarily intuitive. When walking over the edge of a platform, the controlled character is supposed to hang on the edge, but the controls don’t work a third of the time with the joystick, probably due to the smaller degree that points upwards. The inventory is also unusable without a mouse, which doesn’t help… Nothing necessarily prohibitive, although a bit annoying, and this will probably be fixed later via a patch, but in the meantime keyboard is recommended.
The game suffers from a few bugs which, while not pervasive, are frustrating at times. In the first puzzle, I crossed the floor, pushed a box and knocked it off a platform, the operation was necessary to complete the puzzle, and although this mistake did not happen to me again, it still happened and deserves to be cited, especially since he is not the only one. One glitch that did happen to me more than once though was the sudden inability to cast the teleport sphere by Trixie, the other playable character, and sometimes her inability to teleport to it. Again, this should be fixed in a future patch.
The level design is generally pretty standard, but it can be difficult to navigate because it often lacks readability and information. The lasers do not indicate whether they are about to activate, the scattered or somewhat labyrinthine levels do not indicate the order in which they must be solved, certain puzzle elements resemble elements of the landscape without any indication to the contrary. Some would say it increases the difficulty.
Although the backgrounds are always very beautiful, the environment we actually move in is often empty, dark and a little too smooth. Said decorations sometimes blend in with the game space in a negative way, such as with acid cascades that look like obstacles but are actually decorations…
Some puzzles are interesting, and while the feedback could be improved, there are still good moments. For example, the ship phases, which take place on a board that invites the player to move around it while avoiding or destroying enemy ships. These puzzles are challenging but fun and require no replays or waiting. We would like to have more.
The “battles” during the platforming stages can be frustrating: the developers have bet on the difficulty, and the player characters therefore all die in one fell swoop. That said, like most enemies. On the other hand, the only playable character with an attack is very slow to shoot against opponents who shoot in bursts. They attack as soon as they hit the screen because the camera follows the character instead of in front of them. So you need to move forward a bit, crouch down “just in case” and if there is an opponent, push him to shoot and retaliate under the small window where he remains vulnerable. The concern is that opponents will randomly fire one, two or three bursts without indication. So you have to be a little lucky or get up too early and die, or too late and no longer be able to kill the enemy, who has hidden again. There is therefore a real need for reflection, even a minimum of strategy, to overcome the game. A demanding game that will therefore not please everyone.
The first opponent to fight is also a boss, which therefore does not work in the same way as the enemies in the rest of the game, and also has a bug: if he accidentally misses the platform that you are on, and one of its poison barrels falls off the screen, its damage area extends to the platform and kills you out of nowhere. These barrels also have the problem of leaving a puddle that apparently doesn’t do any damage. Instead, it’s the vapors indicated by hard-to-see particles that kill you with a single hit.
Outside of gameplay, the male protagonist, Fynn, constantly makes heavy jokes and tries to flirt with anything that seems feminine, a character trait that can be laughed at, provided you take it literally. All of the female characters mentioned are either older or cut like pin-ups with bombshell breasts, hourglass waists, giant asses and luscious lips. A primarily male game, especially in this delicate period?
In short, if we put aside the clumsy character (at least for a girl), even though we obviously understand that it’s a caricature, and some perfect choices (level design in particular), StarFlint The Blackhole Prophecy is not an unpleasant game . It even has its share of good times. Obviously, on the other hand, you will have to like games that offer a high challenge.
For a first game, it’s promising. But the developers will have to do better for their next move.