I’ve owned an iPhone for eight years now and I must say, I have never played a game quite like Blackbox. A newer title to enter the App Store, Blackbox wants you to complete its levels using only your iPhone hardware. That means you can’t touch or interact with the screen in any way. You need to twist, turn and shake your iPhone, press buttons, use sounds, plug in accessories and more.
The Mysteries of Blackbox
I can’t possibly overstate this: Blackbox. Is. Hard. It’s also worth noting that it’s close to impossible to review this game without some spoilers, so be ready for a few answers on how to solve some of the levels.
Blackbox works by providing extremely subtle hints in each level for what you need to do. You have to really think outside the box and be clever because the hints are difficult. In each level, there is at least one empty square. The square lights up when you figure out what task you have to complete with the hardware and complete it.
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Blackbox will humble you very quickly.
Each level has that simple goal: light up the square, but sometimes it takes hours if not days to get there.
When you first start out, it’s a bit less daunting. You begin level one and notice there is a visual indicator on screen that seems to move around in accordance with how you move your phone. So you turn your phone upside down and voila, one of the squares lights up. If you’re like me, you did this and thought “wow, I might be pretty good at thinking outside of the box after all.”
Blackbox will humble you very quickly. As soon as level three and four you’ll be struggling to figure out what in the world you’re supposed to do. It could be literally anything at all except interact with the screen. So many times I tapped and pulled on the screen in desperate hope the game description lied. So far, it has not.
Don’t think you can open all the levels and instantly get them done either. One has a square that shoots a beam out of it based on the time of day it is. To light up, it has to shoot a beam out at every hour on the clock. That means you need to open that level every hour for 12 hours to finally solve it.
Don’t think you can open all the levels and instantly get them done either.
Some levels have absolutely no visual indicators whatsoever, or they’re so slight that it would take forever to link that to the proper task. You just need to be creative.
There is slight hope though because the more you play, the more you can earn more obvious hints. The hints read like riddles that should be a little less subtle than what’s on screen, but still mysterious. If you’re really struggling to earn hint credits, you can purchase them within the app starting at $0.99 for one all the way up to $19.99 for 42.
Is Blackbox Your Cup of Tea?
Because of how difficult and time-consuming this game is, Blackbox might not be for everyone. Personally, I’m at a solid so-so. I don’t mind a challenge and especially enjoy pushing myself to think outside of the box. Plus, the enjoyment I get out of finally cracking a difficult level is unparalleled.
That said, there are some aspects of Blackbox that just seem unreasonably difficult. Sometimes the level hints are so minimal that your mind can wander anywhere. Additionally, levels like the aforementioned one that requires you to open it every hour for 12 hours are a bit over the top for me. I don’t want to dedicate that much time to a game.