The year is 1973. The sound of a lone, ethereal saxophone drifts over the Roosevelt Island promenade, while a series of accidents plague a midtown construction site. The citizens of Manhattan take no notice of these events, let alone think they are connected.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (242 reviews) - 95% of the 242 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 13, 2012

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Buy Blackwell Unbound

Packages that include this game

Buy The Blackwell Bundle

Includes 4 items: Blackwell Convergence, Blackwell Deception, Blackwell Unbound, The Blackwell Legacy

 

About This Game

The year is 1973. The sound of a lone, ethereal saxophone drifts over the Roosevelt Island promenade, while a series of accidents plague a midtown construction site. The citizens of Manhattan take no notice of these events, let alone think they are connected.
Embittered medium Lauren Blackwell and her spirit guide Joey Mallone are the only ones who believe that there is anything strange going on, and they are the only ones who can stop an enigmatic killer from striking again...

System Requirements

    • OS:Windows ME or higher
    • Processor:Pentium or higher
    • Memory:64 MB RAM
    • Graphics:640x400, 32-bit colour: 700 Mhz system minimum
    • DirectX®:5.0
    • Hard Drive:200 MB HD space
    • Sound:All DirectX-compatible sound cards
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Very Positive (242 reviews)
Recently Posted
BrutolMotent
( 2.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 13
Blackwell Unbound is a prequel to The Blackwell Legacy and delivers more of the same high quality graphics, voice acting, and superb slow jazz music. If you enjoyed the first game then you will really enjoy this one to gain some insight in the past. The gameplay and story are very much the same as the first game but has more locations to visit and are all connected to one another very well.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Faggot Salad
( 2.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 13
I played this game for a game club my friends have. It's like book of the month then we discuss about it.
I played the previously purchased one, which is The Blackwell Legacy. I did enjoy it.

Though the main character became Lauren Blackwell, who was initially dead in the previous game. It provided some insight of what her history is all about. For the main focus of this review, I will compare the previous game, Blackwell Legacy, with this game.

So far, Legacy was a precursor to what was about to come, it was just a taste. It focused on that one case, but Unbound focused on two, which seems unrelated till we recognise that there are connections aside.

I liked how Unbound fleshed out the character of Lauren Blackwell, which to most of the audiences, thought she was a strange case of dementia. Her dynamics with Joey Mallone was snarky but when fleshed out, it's fantastic. It is interesting on how their relationship works. I liked the banter between them and enjoyed it the most.

At first though, I seem to get lost with the game. I didn't know what to do, but I started to find my feet after humdrums of clicking them. The stories were interesting. I got really sad about the stories, but I was invested enough to finish the game myself.

I enjoy the game and the graphics seems to be better this time around. At least I can read it. I guess if I play the third game, it would get better,
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sparrow
Posted: May 6
Only lasted 3 1/2 hours and I liked the first one better. But I had to play it to know the story better.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cynamel | TAIM
( 9.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
The Blackwell series is a very very good point and click adventure with pretty good voice acting.You need to play them all to really feel the story and the depth of the characters. The Finale(Epiphany) was FANTASTIC(you may shed a tear). Its one of those games where the toil of playing all those hours actually felt meaningful in the end. The Voice acting was satisfying enough to make you forget its actually a point and click game.
Some solutions to some puzzles may not be that obvious at first, but if you dont get it,plenty of guides there.

Since almost all the blackwell games have similar mechanics, didnt think of writing different reviews for each of them.

9/10 for the series. Writing this after playing all the 5 episodes.

Kudos to Dave Gilbert and The whole Team.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
lddake
( 7.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 23
The second in a line of classic point and click adventure games. Throws you back in time a little bit to 1970's New York, with half of the lead characters changed but seems to be basically a backstory game to me. Still interesting, still put together well although it did feel a little rushed in some areas. Still a good game though. Overall score 8 out of 10. (10 out of 10 for the series)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
alison
( 2.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 16
This was terrific, better than the first game. It's still a paranormal noir firmly planted in NYC, but the protagonist in this one is more appealing. She's tougher, more self-assured, and bitter and cynical like a private eye should be. Following up leads in the phone book is a nice oldskool touch. And the music is great. Cigarettes and jazz against a starry night, it doesn't get much more atmospheric. Get it if you liked the first Blackwell. Get if you liked 1954 Alcatraz or A Golden Wake. This is where it's at for modern adventure games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Vejeta187
( 3.5 hrs on record )
Posted: April 12
The second chapter in the amazing 5 part Blackwell series.

This game continues the intriguing story and focuses on past events that tie into the main story introduced in the first game -Blackwell Legacy

The puzzles and character designs are all spot on and everything plays out like a charm.

There are some important plot elements introduced here that have massive effects on the story in the later games in the series, thats how deep the story gets here.

The game is quite short but as its episodic this is to be expected. The controls and interface are comfortable to use without feeling clunky and the puzzles are all fun and make sense.

This entire series is a must for any adventure game fans.

Highly recommended.

Brilliant - 9/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
badhairqueen
( 7.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 9
Overview
The 2nd title in the Blackwell series, Unbound is a prequel to the 1st Blackwell game, Legacy. You play as Rosa's aunt and predecessor, Lauren. Game mechanics are pretty similar to Legacy, with the notebook still in use. You get to control both Lauren and Joey. Unbound features 2 cases to solve, and contains several easter eggs and some interesting Steam achievements.

Likes
  • Story - More content here compared to Legacy.
  • Characters - At first I worried I wouldn't like a chain-smoking protagonist, but it all turned out fine. The spooks were also fairly interesting, especially the female one.
  • Setting - This takes place in the '70s; the retro vibe was successfully conveyed.
  • Ability to play as Joey - This gave the game some variation.
  • Music - You can never go wrong with smooth jazz. And a piano.
  • Graphics - Like those classic old-school Sierra games; my type of nostalgia.
  • Voice acting - Lauren does "jaded and bitter" really well. I really liked the female spook too.
  • Easter eggs! - Just like the good ol' days. One involves a floating head!
  • Steam achievements - I didn't bother getting them all, but if you do that'll glean you maybe an hour or more of gameplay.

Dislikes
  • Length - Still too short for my liking. Say 2 hours at most.
  • Too few locations - You backtrack a lot and have to visit the same places over and over. There aren't many scenes to explore. It gets a bit tiresome after a while.
  • A bit one-dimensional - I was hoping for a bit more intrigue plot-wise. Things are too straightforward and spelled too plainly for the player.

Summary
Unbound for me was a definite improvement over Legacy in terms of game length and story breadth, and as you can see from above, there were many other things I liked about it. However the plot was all too clear-cut and lacked mystique and finesse, and game length left much to be desired. As a standalone game I would not pay more than US$2 for this.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sydherian
( 10.2 hrs on record )
Posted: March 21
Just like Legacy:
Has its flaws, some might find it a bit too narrative heavy. The whole Blackwell series is marvelous.

Astonishing characters, humor, voices and graphics (if you like the style).
A must-play for every point&click fan.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Azghouls
( 6.6 hrs on record )
Posted: March 21
After playing the Blackwell Legacy, I was totally amazed with its storytelling regardless of its somewhat simple graphics. The game certainly took me by surprised and when I saw the next game in this saga, Blackwell Unbound, I didn’t want to play it as I thought it couldn’t live up to its standards. Well I simply caved in and installed the game. Once completed, this one moved me more than the first (Blackwell Legacy) with even better character development. There were also slightly more technical improvements however the puzzle elements were the same; that is wasn’t challenging enough and lack thereof.

Blackwell Unbound takes place in 1973, meaning it served as a prequel to Legacy. The game assumes the player’s knowledge of the main character Joey and introduces a new one, Lauren. Lauren is the aunt for Rosa from Legacy and her demeanour is considerably different as Lauren is more confident in her abilities as a medium. Then again, it didn’t explain at all of how Lauren was introduced to Joey in the first place. Nevertheless it’s a refreshing outlook of Lauren’s more assertive personality considering she is a chain smoker from hell. I guess that’s the 70s for ya.

The gameplay is in the style of a point and click variety – that is you literally just do that, point at a hotspot like an item or person and it will interact. Right click the mouse for the character to analyse and left click to interact. There is some inventory management where only Lauren can access (as after all, Joey is a ghost) and the neat notebook feature is here again. What this feature does, once it gets an update prompt, you can join sentences together to form another. Yet to those who’d played Legacy, there’s a new feature where you get to control both Joey and Lauren individually. This is pretty neat considering some puzzles requires swapping between characters.

Speaking of which, there are only a handful of puzzles to solve yet thankfully, they are all logical so they are no mind-bending at all. For some, this maybe a put-off however the plotline and game’s pacing hits the spot as there’s momentum instead of having a difficult puzzle to bottleneck the tempo. Also the storyline is so well written with realistic problems that’s very welcoming. The general mood is sombre yet well fitted for the plotline.

Thankfully to enhance the sombre mood, the musical scores by Thomas Regin is nothing short but exceptional. All the scores are well suited for this game and has that jazz feel. Not overdone however very welcoming and professionally composed. It’s that good I purchased the soundtrack in iTunes for USD $10. Graphically it is powered by the Adventure Game Studio (AGS), graphic artist Erin Robinson made some alterations, mainly with the characters and done a wonderful job at it. They are all dressed up as if it was the 70s and there’s little to be said about pixel hunting. Yet the opening screen where is shows the Statue of Liberty overlooking the Manhattan skyline at night is lovely to see.

It’s pretty rare that an adventure game sucks me in as well as Unbound did. The game’s length, depending upon your detective skills I guess, could take around the five hours mark. However I really cannot let go of this game until completion as mentioned before, the game’s pacing and storytelling is simply fantastic. Granted there’s a couple of bugs where the written text and spoken words differ and at one occasion, the text is there however the voice is muted however, and thankfully so, didn’t ruin the game. There’s obvious love and care poured into this game and the game’s ending, as much as I did actually panic, feels like I need to perform a standing ovation! A definite must play.

8 / 10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Junaid
( 9.8 hrs on record )
Posted: March 15
"The name under the photo says Sarah Fawcett.

I wonder if she likes dead guys." ~ Joey

Joey and Laurene ! The characters go with you, even after you've finished playing the game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
wbroadley
( 3.1 hrs on record )
Posted: February 17
Awesome!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ataristadept
Posted: February 15
Classy old style point-&-click adventure. Solid story and good voice-acting. Requires some good thinking to solve

Blackwell Unbound, the second in the Blackwell series by Wadjet Eye Games reverberates some of he more in-depth adventure games that used to be around; Even though it can be a bit short in playtime.

The solid storyline and good voice-acting from the first epidode (The Blackwell Legacy) is continued as we pick up the Blackwell family history with Lauren Blackwell in 1973. The family legacy is a 'spirit guide' in the form of the ever present, but ghostly, Joey.

The scriptwriter(s) get the relationship between Joey and Lauren just right and the fine voice-cast excels in making the most of the dialogues. The game also gets the music just right. Never intrusive, but flowing and sometimes catchy. The atmosphere of seventies New York is is quietly blended in the background to give room to the characters which are key in the game.

This all results in a immersed gameplay experience even though the graphics are retro (similar to most Lucasarts and other adventure titles from the early nineties).

Like in those games, lots of questions and interaction with all the protagonists are required if you want to make headway, and even the most experienced adventurers sometimes will have a hard time making the next step. Because the game is so engrossing this never really irritates. I found myself curious about the next part of the story for almost every part of the game.

A nice feature is the bonus content that can be unlocked which provides for some re-playability (ofcourse this takes the form of "Achievements" if you play under Steam). All in all another solid title from Wadjet Eye.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
blastoff
Posted: February 7
This is one of the best adventure games I ever played. Very good storyline and game mechanics. It kept me up late at night several times because I just wanted to know how the story ended. The only bad thing I can say about it, is that the story ended after part five. But that is probably a good thing because you do not want to ruin a good story by stretching it thin.

You play this adventure with two main characters: Rosangela Blackwell and Joey Malone. Part two is kind of a prequel in which Rosangela is replaced by her Aunt Lauren Blackwell.
Rosangela and Lauren are mediums and Joey Malone is their spirit guide. Together they help the souls of dead people (ghosts) that are stuck in this world to move on. Doing so they encounter a number of persons/ghosts who play an important role in the story later on.

Joey is a ghost himself so he can reach places that Rosangela cannot, but he cannot wander off too far because he is bound to Rosangela. He also cannot touch anything so he needs Rosangela for this. This poses some interesting situations in which Joey needs to get Rosangela into locked rooms/buildings.

A very interesting game mechanic is that you have to cross-reference pieces of information. By cross-referencing the right information you will learn new things which will help you to further progress into the game. Some information you have to lookup on the internet (in game) and emails play an important role too in this game.

The Blackwell series consists of five separate parts:

1. The Blackwell Legacy
2. Blackwell Unbound
3. Blackwell Convergence
4. Blackwell Deception
5. Blackwell Epiphany

Be sure to play them in that order because it is in fact one big story divided over five parts.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
no shirt
( 5.9 hrs on record )
Posted: January 16
My experience with Blackwell Unbound was completely different than my experience with The Blackwell Legacy, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Some of the problems I had with the first entry were remedied in Blackwell Unbound, while some of the shining points in the first game were surprisingly absent from this game.

The story premise has really started to interest me. I think it has the same kind of longevity as some template-based TV serials like X-Files or Star Trek. In his commentary track, Dave Gilbert discusses the "lingering ghost" trope and why it's interesting, and he's right--it is interesting. As far as the story goes, I am now "on-board" with the Blackwell games (although the final scene of Blackwell Unbound posed a huge moral problem for me). It was really cool to play as Lauren; she is an interesting character, especially alongside Joey. I wish I could have seen more interaction between them.

The gameplay of Blackwell Unbound differs from its predecessor by allowing the player to switch between playing as Joey and playing as Lauren. I think this is and always has been a cool mechanic. Unfortunately, unlike some other successful adventure games who have used this mechanic, like Maniac Mansion and The Cave, Blackwell Unbound doesn't really make good use of the ability to switch characters. Joey is only necessary for a couple of small actions, and he is otherwise unnecessary. However, Gilbert does explain in the commentary track that Blackwell Unbound was meant to be a short project to tide players over until the more ambitious Blackwell Convergence was finished, so I assume that the character-switching will be put to better use in the next game in the series.

The graphics and voice acting are other pieces of evidence that Blackwell Unbound seems to have been given less thought and attention than the first game (I have not yet played Convergence, so I can't compare). I was really impressed with The Blackwell Legacy's graphics and voice acting; everything looked really painstakingly drawn, and the voice actors gave great performances. Although some of the environments in Blackwell Unbound look really great (Jambalaya Records, Lauren's apartment) some of the environments looked pretty rushed (the map screen, the construction site), and there were a couple times I turned down my speakers because I was embarrassed that someone might hear the terrible voice acting. The problem with the voice acting seems to be that the actors were not very well-matched for the roles they played. Three of the characters (The Countess, Harriet Sherman, and Joseph Mitchell) are 50+ years old but are voiced by young people trying to imitate "old" voices, which makes for some really cringe-worthy moments. Another character, Dwayne, has a pretty embarrassing Jamaican accent and in the credits he appears to be voiced by a white guy. I hate to criticize peoples' acting abilities, especially since I'm certain I'd be absolutely terrible at it, but I feel like the voice performances in Blackwell Unbound really got in the way of my enjoying the game.

The puzzle logic in Blackwell Unbound really irked me, too. Obviously, in a series like Blackwell, the player needs to discover clues to progress. In Blackwell Unbound, there's a really cool mechanic that tasks the player with remembering and manually entering into a phonebook names that other characters mention in dialogue. I love it when games make me pull out a pad of paper and a pencil to solve a puzzle. My problem is that most of the "clues" seem really obvious and unnaturally forced into the dialogue ("That's how we treat your kind at Johnny Ivory's!"), so it felt like Gilbert left a really obvious trail of breadcrumbs for me to follow.

The commentary track this time features Gilbert alongside one of the game's artists. It is sometimes interesting to hear about the processes they went through in designing the game. Dave Gilbert wasn't as annoying to me as he was in the commentary for The Blackwell Legacy; maybe he's growing on me.

In summary, Blackwell Unbound was a much more interesting game than The Blackwell Legacy, but I think The Blackwell Legacy had a greater level of polish and seemed more like a complete game. I'm excited to play Blackwell Convergence, and I hope it has some decent voice-acting.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
nekobun
( 11.7 hrs on record )
Posted: January 7
This follow-up to The Blackwell Legacy actually happens to be a prequel, which does a nice job of explaining where the legacy came from in the first place. Jumping back to 1973, you're placed in the shoes of Rosa Blackwell's "Auntie" Lauren, Joey's previous partner back in the 70s before things went... not so great.

Most of the elements from The Blackwell Legacy return this time around, minus the search engine given the lack of consumer internet access at the time, obviously. Once again, real New York scenery and elements are intertwined with the Blackwell fiction, creating a perfect hybrid that feels like it could have happened were there more ghosts hanging around. Lauren is a nice change of pace from Rosa as well; their personalities differ enough to provide a change of pace, but at the same time, you can see where Rosa gets some of her sass. Also changed this time around is the in-game art style, having been handed off to a different artist this time around. The visual shift is also a nice change, and further cements the differences between Rosa and her aunt. Personally, I think Unbound's representation of the door before the afterlife is my favorite in the entire series.

Despite it being a jump back from the series' start, Blackwell Unbound is still worth playing, both for the context it provides and some of the groundwork it lays later on. Really, there's no reason to avoid playing any of the games in the series, so get to it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Phayzon
( 16.2 hrs on record )
Posted: January 3
A Succint Review:
Better than the first.
Still a good protagonist.
Crazy lady refuses to leave house unless murdered.
Interesting implications for mediums.
Foreshadowing yay!
Investigating is actually fun.
Bleeding Gums Murphy is that you?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[KTA] Setsudo - Ready to die
( 3.6 hrs on record )
Posted: December 24, 2015
The second episod which really nice.

We lost the speaking portraits for more details on the caracter's designs... But miss them

The story still be really nice

I got stuck twice this time ! :D And one more but only because the dialog was wrong with the situation...

I'll do the next one soon ^^
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ltwothaj
( 3.7 hrs on record )
Posted: December 20, 2015
I recently discovered the Blackwell series and was instantly charmed by the first installment. It features a female protagonist who is real in her representation and oddly awkward and socially maladjusted (It's charming). Blackwell Unbound, the second installment, features similar point and click problem solving while revealing an interesting backstory. Unfortunately, this game is not nearly as interesting as the first and comparatively there are very few out-of-the-box problem solving situations. It lays flat compared to its predecessor but still offers some benefits to those who are dedicated to the series. 6/10.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
tqwert14
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: December 19, 2015
Classic
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 13
Blackwell Unbound is a prequel to The Blackwell Legacy and delivers more of the same high quality graphics, voice acting, and superb slow jazz music. If you enjoyed the first game then you will really enjoy this one to gain some insight in the past. The gameplay and story are very much the same as the first game but has more locations to visit and are all connected to one another very well.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 21
After playing the Blackwell Legacy, I was totally amazed with its storytelling regardless of its somewhat simple graphics. The game certainly took me by surprised and when I saw the next game in this saga, Blackwell Unbound, I didn’t want to play it as I thought it couldn’t live up to its standards. Well I simply caved in and installed the game. Once completed, this one moved me more than the first (Blackwell Legacy) with even better character development. There were also slightly more technical improvements however the puzzle elements were the same; that is wasn’t challenging enough and lack thereof.

Blackwell Unbound takes place in 1973, meaning it served as a prequel to Legacy. The game assumes the player’s knowledge of the main character Joey and introduces a new one, Lauren. Lauren is the aunt for Rosa from Legacy and her demeanour is considerably different as Lauren is more confident in her abilities as a medium. Then again, it didn’t explain at all of how Lauren was introduced to Joey in the first place. Nevertheless it’s a refreshing outlook of Lauren’s more assertive personality considering she is a chain smoker from hell. I guess that’s the 70s for ya.

The gameplay is in the style of a point and click variety – that is you literally just do that, point at a hotspot like an item or person and it will interact. Right click the mouse for the character to analyse and left click to interact. There is some inventory management where only Lauren can access (as after all, Joey is a ghost) and the neat notebook feature is here again. What this feature does, once it gets an update prompt, you can join sentences together to form another. Yet to those who’d played Legacy, there’s a new feature where you get to control both Joey and Lauren individually. This is pretty neat considering some puzzles requires swapping between characters.

Speaking of which, there are only a handful of puzzles to solve yet thankfully, they are all logical so they are no mind-bending at all. For some, this maybe a put-off however the plotline and game’s pacing hits the spot as there’s momentum instead of having a difficult puzzle to bottleneck the tempo. Also the storyline is so well written with realistic problems that’s very welcoming. The general mood is sombre yet well fitted for the plotline.

Thankfully to enhance the sombre mood, the musical scores by Thomas Regin is nothing short but exceptional. All the scores are well suited for this game and has that jazz feel. Not overdone however very welcoming and professionally composed. It’s that good I purchased the soundtrack in iTunes for USD $10. Graphically it is powered by the Adventure Game Studio (AGS), graphic artist Erin Robinson made some alterations, mainly with the characters and done a wonderful job at it. They are all dressed up as if it was the 70s and there’s little to be said about pixel hunting. Yet the opening screen where is shows the Statue of Liberty overlooking the Manhattan skyline at night is lovely to see.

It’s pretty rare that an adventure game sucks me in as well as Unbound did. The game’s length, depending upon your detective skills I guess, could take around the five hours mark. However I really cannot let go of this game until completion as mentioned before, the game’s pacing and storytelling is simply fantastic. Granted there’s a couple of bugs where the written text and spoken words differ and at one occasion, the text is there however the voice is muted however, and thankfully so, didn’t ruin the game. There’s obvious love and care poured into this game and the game’s ending, as much as I did actually panic, feels like I need to perform a standing ovation! A definite must play.

8 / 10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 24
The Blackwell series is a very very good point and click adventure with pretty good voice acting.You need to play them all to really feel the story and the depth of the characters. The Finale(Epiphany) was FANTASTIC(you may shed a tear). Its one of those games where the toil of playing all those hours actually felt meaningful in the end. The Voice acting was satisfying enough to make you forget its actually a point and click game.
Some solutions to some puzzles may not be that obvious at first, but if you dont get it,plenty of guides there.

Since almost all the blackwell games have similar mechanics, didnt think of writing different reviews for each of them.

9/10 for the series. Writing this after playing all the 5 episodes.

Kudos to Dave Gilbert and The whole Team.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 9
Overview
The 2nd title in the Blackwell series, Unbound is a prequel to the 1st Blackwell game, Legacy. You play as Rosa's aunt and predecessor, Lauren. Game mechanics are pretty similar to Legacy, with the notebook still in use. You get to control both Lauren and Joey. Unbound features 2 cases to solve, and contains several easter eggs and some interesting Steam achievements.

Likes
  • Story - More content here compared to Legacy.
  • Characters - At first I worried I wouldn't like a chain-smoking protagonist, but it all turned out fine. The spooks were also fairly interesting, especially the female one.
  • Setting - This takes place in the '70s; the retro vibe was successfully conveyed.
  • Ability to play as Joey - This gave the game some variation.
  • Music - You can never go wrong with smooth jazz. And a piano.
  • Graphics - Like those classic old-school Sierra games; my type of nostalgia.
  • Voice acting - Lauren does "jaded and bitter" really well. I really liked the female spook too.
  • Easter eggs! - Just like the good ol' days. One involves a floating head!
  • Steam achievements - I didn't bother getting them all, but if you do that'll glean you maybe an hour or more of gameplay.

Dislikes
  • Length - Still too short for my liking. Say 2 hours at most.
  • Too few locations - You backtrack a lot and have to visit the same places over and over. There aren't many scenes to explore. It gets a bit tiresome after a while.
  • A bit one-dimensional - I was hoping for a bit more intrigue plot-wise. Things are too straightforward and spelled too plainly for the player.

Summary
Unbound for me was a definite improvement over Legacy in terms of game length and story breadth, and as you can see from above, there were many other things I liked about it. However the plot was all too clear-cut and lacked mystique and finesse, and game length left much to be desired. As a standalone game I would not pay more than US$2 for this.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
16 of 19 people (84%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2015
Classic
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
25 of 28 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 17, 2015
Blackwell Unbound is the second installment of Blackwell series, and it is a prequel to the first game. Here, we take the chance of experiencing the previous generation of the Legacy, with Lauren Blackwell. I have to say that the previous game left me with such great expectations, I rushed to play this one and first, was quite confused not the find Rosa. The city, the time, even Joey's attitude was different. Then I realized that finding Lauren instead, was a welcoming surprise in the end.

In this game we play as Lauren Blackwell, Rosa's witty and daring aunt back in 1970s. She is a chain smoker, a lady with an attitude and she has the guts that Rosa lacked in the previous game. She takes the day as it comes, and doesn't rest until a case is closed. Alongside Joey - the famous legacy himself - they investigate many potential cases and guide restless spirits to their after lives. In this specific period of their partnership however, they shall meet a strange old lady and end up witnessing a darker shade of what being a medium actually means.

This game is a bit grim in tone compared to the Blackwell Legacy. Dialogues carry sharp, two sided meanings, heavy with bittersweet feelings and a burdening suspense. The nature of the cases, and their resulting situation reveals a darker, shadier side to the medium business. Since we already know how Lauren's story will end eventually, seeing her venturing further down into her end is somehow heartbreaking.

Lauren is a strong character, as I briefly described before. She is so driven and so courageous, she ends up being downright suicidal sometimes. Her relationship with Joey is completely different whence compared to Rosa's relationship. We experience the advantage that Lauren and Joey already knew each other for a long time. So there is no awkwardness in their relationship. There is no "Oh no, ghosts are real?" period. I wondered if there would even be a little romance between them! I personally think this was a great opportunity to discover further background and in-depth personality to Joey and Lauren Blackwell.

The gameplay is nearly the same as before, yet the loveliest addition to the game is that Joey has become a playable character now. You are welcome to send him through walls or use his perception to check on the environment to catch a small nuance that may help you to progress in the case. I have to add that the voice acting was remarkably improved compared to the first game also. Alongside the commentary feature which we are already familiar with, you can enjoy some backdrop jokes, concept arts and various unused recordings when you finish the game.

All in all, I liked this one and now I feel more attracted to the Blackwell series altogether, witnessing Lauren and Joey in their time. Whence you look up on a family tree and compare the generations, it is not possible not to connect yourself better with given history. I cannot wait to play the third part and see what Rosa has been up to!

Please also check out Lady Storyteller's Curator page here - follow for regular updates on reviews for other games!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
14 of 14 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
Posted: March 22, 2015
Perhaps The Blackwell Unbound’s biggest contribution to the series, is giving it a far larger scope and nuance than what was only hinted at in the first game.Long before Rosa Blackwell ever met Joey Mallone (or had even been born for that matter), Unbound follows her aunt, Lauren, Joey’s previous “hostage” and an experienced medium at the point we find her. Unbound isn’t so much about her adventures with Joey though, as it is a foreshadowing of what we already know happens to her.

In many ways she’s the spitting image of her niece, though certainly more confident and assertive than the depressed Rosa we met in Legacy, yet tied by the common thread of having largely given up on the world. Lauren has devoted herself to helping lingering ghosts move on to the afterlife, but otherwise is unsure for what purpose she’s living for. Or at least that’s what she tells herself, but when caught up in an investigation she becomes a wholly different person.

Lauren is persistent and dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to finish a case, no matter if it means pressing people for information they’d rather forget, or putting her life on the line to catch a killer. Maybe it’s because she feels she has no other purpose that she’s able to so readily move forward, unafraid of how dangerous it could become. By abandoning her worry she’s able to fully embody her role as a medium, as if she too was a ghost and nothing could harm her. She’s a refreshingly capable heroine in a landscape of unstable sex objects, who manages to be tough without losing her humanity. There’s the feeling she’s still scared underneath her fearless exterior, and allows herself to become vulnerable at times to avoid a complete breakdown, but she’s always in control of any situation she puts herself in whether interrogating a witness or firing back when Joey gets brash.

It’s in the final moments of Unbound though that are the most affecting. We’ve already been told what eventually happens to Lauren in Legacy, but it’s seeing it and hearing Joey’s ignorant condolences that made me almost angry at what his presence has done and continues to do to the Blackwells. It casts Lauren and Rosa’s relationship with him in a different light and made me question his every word, now unsure if I could trust him the way I was, wondering if he had a more nefarious purpose for being there all along. Much of Unbound feels inessential, like another episode in a show you enjoy but could afford to miss, but its implications on the larger whole of the Blackwell saga is perhaps the most significant bit of exposition in the series thus far. Suddenly things have become a hell of a lot more complicated.

You can read more of my writing on Kritiqal.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2014
Short Verdict: Blackwell Unbound is the second installment in my favorite point-and-click adventure series in this century. The Blackwell series definitely has a special place in my heart. BU tells the story of Lauren Blackwell, a medium, and Joey, a spirit stuck with the Blackwell family, and they both go about solving mysteries in the 70's, if I'm not mistaken, and investigating cases related to ghosts who have problems moving on to the afterlife. It's definitely better than The Blackwell Legacy, but the sequels are even better. It's really fun and brings you back to old-school adventure games, while still bringing fresh elements to the table. If you're into classic point-and-click games, you most definitely have to try it! I had played it a few years ago and it was still fun to replay it now. Don't forget to play The Blackwell Legacy first! While you could play BU as a standalone game, you'll miss a little bit if you haven't played TBL.

Pros:
  • Despite having ghosts and all, characters are very realistic, well-developed, deep, interesting, funny, and loveable
  • The story is interesting and solving the mysteries is really fun
  • The puzzles are kept to a sober level of difficulty, but there's no handholding, either
  • The dialogues and the voice acting are really outstanding, I can't stress it enough. And this game has no problems with different volumes like its prequel.
  • Has a very interesting mechanic in which you combine clues instead of items to solve puzzles, and that works really well with the investigation theme
  • This time you get to control both Lauren and Joey, adding a lot to the puzzles
  • Beautiful retro graphics
  • BGM is awesome, way better than the already good tunes from TBL

Cons:
  • Sometimes the audio played doesn't match the text written
  • The low resolution annoys me a bit (you can set it to 1280x960, though, but that option is hard to find)
  • While the game itself is a lot more polished than its prequel, they didn't take the time to properly proofread the dialogues, especially the ones with a character named C.

Bought on: PC and Android Bundle 11 by Humble Bundle for an average of US$ 0.55 (roughly R$ 1,46). It's also totally worth its full price, which isn't high at all!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
15 of 20 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
Posted: May 13, 2014
“BOO! Oh, look. I scared it to death. Wait. No. Hold on. It was already like that.”

Blackwell Unbound represents the second of five parts in the Blackwell series. On its own it is a prequel dealing with the past of the first game. Compared with its predecessor it has a better balance between gameplay and storytelling.

Other strong points are the mature characters and their witty dialogues. In addition the puzzles are more logical and the voice acting remains top notch. While the main story is not as strong as in Blackwell Legacy, the underlying storyline profits from this flashback.

Trivia:

The storyline of Blackwell Unbound was originally a part of Blackwell Convergence, but due to budget issues it was decided to release the game content as a stand-alone.

Achievements:

Estimated time for 100% completion: +3 hours

Singleplayer achievements: 10
Multiplayer achievements: none

Chronology:

Blackwell Epiphany (PC)
Adventure + point & click
(Fantasy) – 2014
Link to Steam review for Blackwell Epiphany.

Blackwell Deception (PC)
Adventure + point & click
(Fantasy) – 2013
Link to Steam review for Blackwell Deception.

Blackwell Convergence (PC)
Adventure + point & click
(Fantasy) – 2009
Link to Steam review for Blackwell Convergence.

Blackwell Unbound (PC)
Adventure + point & click
(Fantasy) – 2007

The Blackwell Legacy (PC)
Adventure + point & click
(Fantasy) – 2006
Link to Steam review for The Blackwell Legacy.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 1, 2014
Not the biggest fan of the games of this series. While they are alright bite-sized adventure games I never really liked the characters very much (other then Joey). The puzzles were alright and the dialog...decent but I never got hooked on the story as a whole. Think this might be in the better half of the Blackwell games but as I cant really recommend any of the games seperatly as you should play all four as a whole you'd have to experience everything no matter what.

Has some tricky achievements that will require some extra focus (especially the smoking achievements). If you dont plan ahead during your first playthrough or use savefiles in a clever way you will need to beat the game twice. Also make sure, like all Blackwell games, to turn on the commentary track during your first playthrough.

Time to 100%: ~3-5 hours
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2013
This is a great prequel to Legacy. All of the investigation flows really smoothly and I only consulted a walkthrough for one minor thing that I missed. Really satisfying.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2013
Great game, better than the first! Compared to the first one the voice acting, art and story are much better. If your a fan of the first game, or just like point n' click adventures in general give this a go. This series is a great place to start for begginer point n' click players.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 7, 2013
The second game in the Blackwell series is a prequel, and involves a very important character mentioned in the first game. It is shorter, and the plot is not as gripping as Blackwell Legacy. However, there's some fun puzzles and introduces a new way to find information and solve puzzles which was not possible before. The writing is solid, and the voice acting is really great as it was in the first game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 6, 2014
Blackwell Legacy & Unbound

Background: Love Point & clicks. Stumbled across this as a reddit recommend during the summer sale. Played shortly after Perfidious Petrol Station (similar style game) so was in the mood for retro gaming.

Reviewing both the first and second game as they are very similar and i played them back to back.

Impressions: Anyone whose played the first two Blackwell games will point to their lo-fi charm.. Blackwell captures the days of SCUMM/Lucasarts perfectly... all too perfectly with it's qwerks, dead-ends, glitches and clunky interface. But as ever it's the story and characters that need to stand-out and within 5minutes I was hooked on the plot and invested in the characters.

The Good:
* Superb story in a world that feels lived in.
* Original gameplay ideas that are fun to explore.
* Great characters and cases that make logical sense.
* The Notepad mechanic is genius.
* Recaptures the days of Monkey Island.
* Achievements make replay more fun.
* Commentary is fun and enlightening.

The Bad:
* Voice acting can be a little off (part of the charm).
* Can get deadended because you missed clicking one thing.
* Save/Load interface is awkward.
* Can't ALT+TAB on Win 7 without locking up and CTRL+DEL.
* Some visuals are stretched by widescreen monitors.
* Some lines unvoiced or used in error (very few).
* Commentary is spoliery don't listen on first play-through.
* Short length but value when bought as a pack.
* Bonus features has audio swearing not in the main game.

Recommended for: Old school P n' C fans who value plot and characters over glitz. Ideal for nostalgia hounds and teens who like the supernatural.

Conclusion.
7/10. It won't blow you away but it's a solid set of games and deserves to be played.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
Posted: July 2, 2014
Well done point-and-click adventure.
Totally worth time and money.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
This one touched me more than first one. Beautiful game, great story.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 21, 2014
Blackwell Unbound is one of the first few point-and-clicks that I genuinely liked. The game focuses on the story and character interaction so I found that I didn't have to think too much in order to progress through the game. I just found myself getting into all the conversations with the various personalities.

At certain points of the game, I found myself wanting to know more about certain characters. It's a bit unfortunate that the scope of what you discover isn't as broad as what it could be but then again, that kind of information can derail from this type of game's main focus.

My only real gripe with the game is how Lauren keeps flicking her cigarette all over the place when her apartment has like 3 ashtrays and an ashpail outside. You would think she'd use one of them.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 15, 2014
Lauren Blackwell is one of my favorite characters in video games.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 22, 2014
This installment of the Blackwell series is a prequel, you take control of Lauren Blackwell (Rosa's aunt) and Joey!

This game was a bit shorter than Legacy, most likely because there were fewer places to go and less items to pick up.
However, don't let the length of this entry deter you, it's just as good as Legacy.

I liked the dynamic and dialogue between Lauren and Joey; and it was also a fun and unique twist to be given the ability to play as Joey. As Joey, he not only speaks to other spirits but he can also go through walls and inspect areas/items and make observations that helps with the investigation.

I also appreciated the extended explanation (albeit brief) of how spirits and mediums work, I had worried that that part of the Blackwell story would be left out.

The one complaint I have, although minor, is the fact that you are only able to access the bonus galleries after the credits roll. I had to save my game as soon as the credits finished rolling in order to have infinite access - by loading my save file.
So, I hope that feature has been improved upon in the later installments.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 22, 2012
Favorite in this great series.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny