I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of visual novels, but there was something about Blake that compelled me to give it a shot. There’s no voice-acting in the game, so if you really hate having to read when playing a video game, then this one most certainly isn’t for you.
The game takes place sometime in an unknown future, with technology having absorbed almost every part of most people’s everyday lives. Something as simple as a sheet of paper is something that 30-year-olds in this timeline have probably never seen before.
Blake: The Visual Novel, as the name implies, is a visual novel with a few different paths that you can experience depending on the choices that you make throughout the game. In that sense, the narrative also paves the way for at least a second playthrough, which I definitely recommend doing. In this game, you play as Blake, a 31-year-old who works for one of the best, if not the best, tech companies in the world. Blake is relatively new in the company, but that doesn’t stop him from garnering the attention of his boss and colleagues.
There’s a decent amount of exposition when you get to hang with your co-workers, but while Blake has its fair share of twists, it also has plenty of moments where it feels like the dialogue doesn’t make much sense. There’s one particular moment where, after revealing a tragic event from a character’s early days, Blake and that character quickly move on to the next topic.
The game barely gave me any time to get attached to most of its characters, but even the ones with tons of screen time didn’t react in ways that I was expecting them to when faced with certain circumstances. I wouldn’t say that the characters feel cold or emotionless, but it’s almost as if the part of a conversation when people are supposed to reflect on what has happened to them just isn’t there.
With that being said, as the story unfolds itself, there were plenty of moments where I was genuinely surprised. The game constantly challenges your logic and makes you second-guess yourself with every new revelation. I think it’s even fair to say that this is a detective game, since Blake’s adventure revolves around dealing with an unconventional enemy while trying to unravel a series of mysterious circumstances in which he finds himself.
It took me about 2.5 hours to beat the game on my first playthrough, so this game isn’t a major time commitment. If you’re looking for something that’s short, and which you can easily play through in an afternoon or an evening, then Blake will certainly be a good choice. Although it might not groundbreaking in any way, it’s still a good visual novel, with some decision-making and consequences, that managed to grab my attention from start to finish.
Despite some genuinely funny and happy moments, I still think that Blake tells a pretty grim tale. The overall mood has its ups and downs, but the whole game ends up being all about an unexpected tragedy. It’s a pretty short game, but it’s also pretty cheap. Although I’m not too keen on the game’s endings, I still don’t regret the journey that led me to that point.
Blake: The Visual Novel can be funny and captivating, but it’s also sad and melancholic. Besides the few nitpicks that I’ve already mentioned, I think the game has something for everyone. Whether you’ll see the game’s twists coming your way or not, that’s only something you can answer yourself. My only warning is to not be discouraged by the game’s slow start, as the plot really picks up the pace the further you’re into the game. Whether you’re a huge fan of visual novels or not, I’d really recommend you give this one a shot.