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: Very Positive (182 reviews)
Release Date: Jan 13, 2012

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Buy The Blackwell Bundle

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

 

Recommended By Curators

"Actually the second game in the series, a very well-written experience with a good story and the amazing protagonists. Both memorable and enjoyable."

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
Helpful customer reviews
11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
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!
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 22
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.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 12
This game is about smoking less than 20 and more than 100 cigarettes ...
It took me 6 playthroughs to do it. But finally it was easy.
The two ghost cases are interesting and can be solved within 1 hour.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
17.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 13
Blackwell Unbound is a second game in a Blackwell franchise, being yet another point-n-click adventure with pixel-art yet modern approach. This one is actually a budget prequel, starring Rosa's auntie and jazzy setting of older New York.

The engine is quite old, but trusty and should work just fine, despite sometime being weird about using anti-aliasing over the pixel-art. Mostly when characters sprites are being scaled. It has a weird thing where all dialogue would be insta-skipped after pressing Shift+Tab, commonly used for Steam overlay. Pressing Tab will fix it.

As you can see, this game is a prequel, starring Lauern, Rosa's auntie along with Joey the sidekick ghost in older New York. And as you can actually see, it feels like a prequel with more of budget animation, the pixel-art isn't more simple and isn't as amazing. Still does job done. The odd thing that annoyes me is talking animation, for some reason everybody bobs whole head down upon opening mouth. The music is heavely using jazz in pretty much anything, which gives a special atmosphere to game's setting, but I like it less than in the first game.

And yes, it's a modern point-n-click, with no deaths or dead ends. This time puzzles are a little better, though some notebook combinations don't make perfect sense. A good innovation is ability to switch between two character, though Joey doesn't have as much of use. Still makes it more like a team.

The plot starts dynamically right off the bad, unlike the first game where half of the game was you wandering around aimlessly. Here you got two seemingly unrelated cases. Yes, investigating in same time and deciding which clues belong to which one. Doesn't have big plot motivation to push you forward though. The plot also sets things going for the third game, so you shouldn't miss this game either.
Lauern is also more of mature character than Rosa, and the way that two main heroes interact with each other, with ability to chit chat, is quite fun. With unique part of being a heavy smoker.

Achievements are quite usual, and there are two that are related to amount of times Lauren smoked through the game... So in one walkthrough you wil spend some time watching her picking on cigarrete and another one you better be speedrunning. Aha.

And yes, game once again delivers on extra content. The commentaries mode is still there and this has drawing artist speaking sometimes too. Game designer's commentaries are there too and once again he mostly speaks about his experience with voice acting.
And once you beat a game, while abusing people by doing photographs, you will unlock other extra content, including voice acting bloober and now also having a collection of early versions of music and even concept art for the third, upcoming by then, game in the series. No worries, pixel art is different in final version of the third game, will not spoil too hard.

So yes, another solid entry in the series. Sets things up for the third game and is good enough to be stand-alone. Favourite among fans and developers, despite being more of budget title. Check it out.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 4
A short and sweet point and click in the old school tradition.
Wel lrealized characters with decent spoken dialogue, though the two leads were top knotch.
The puzzles were not too obtuse, but some of the solutions were somewhat "buried" which was a tiny bit annoying.
A better outing than the first game, Blackwell Legacy. I liked Lauren a lot better as a Main Character.
I like seeing how these indie games improve over time.
In the end it is well worth the 2-3 hour play time just for the music alone.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
It's a bold or possibly insane mind that makes the second episode of a series a flashback, especially after working so hard to establish characters in the previous episode. And yet, somehow, Blackwell Unbound pulls it off admirably, all while adding some well-considered features and enhancements to the formula of the previous game.

To be fair, the characters explored in Unbound aren't completely unrelated. Returning (or pre-existing) from the previous entry is ghostly sidekick Joey Mallone, this time teamed up with Lauren Blackwell, aunt of the previous game's Rosangela Blackwell. Much of Lauren's past was shrouded in mystery in the previous game, dialog hinting only vaguely at her life as a medium. While this game doesn't give you all the answers, or even most of them, it does at least give you a pretty decent glimpse into her life before Rosa.

The interface in Unbound is much the same as it was before: your standard Adventure Game interface, but with the added twist of a Notes page that lets you review and combine clues and facts. Unbound adds another, very welcome feature: the ability to control Joey directly. Rather than being little more than an object you interact with to complete certain puzzles, you can now float around in Joey's (lack of) shoes. This makes Joey feel much more like a partner, vital to completing certain puzzles even, rather than a floating bit of comedic relief.

Most of this game seems like a huge step forward for the series, despite chronologically being a step backward. The dialog, the interface, even the ambiance and tone of the game all feel a bit more well developed and thought out. This is still a short game - episodic and all - but despite the brief time spent in the game's version of 1973 New York you are still left with a very clear image of the city... at least as the game's developer meant to portray it.

To be concise, Blackwell Unbound is a short-but-excellent example of the classic point-and-click Adventure game genre, and a worth sequel to the original Blackwell Legacy. Despite the change in setting it does a good job of carrying the torch, so to speak, and provides an interesting plot complete with entertaining characters and clever-but-not-frustratingly-illogical puzzles. Another title that anyone who has any love of the genre should feel confident in spending their money on.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 10
Short but engaging pre-sequel to the Blackwell Legacy. The story takes place years before the first game, and focuses on solving the murders of two people who are now ghosts. The puzzles aren't difficult, but you will have to pay attention to clues in conversations and documents to piece together the answers to some of them.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
New Features: Unbound (episode 2 and a prequel to Legacy) improves on the first game by making it possible to manually control either Lauren or Joey. This proves useful, as Joey can do certain things as a ghost that Lauren cannot. Unbound also replaces the ability to research leads via computer with researching leads via phonebook/telephone. This new research method is actually very fun, and once you realize how it works, you'll enjoy using it every time.

Item / Inventory Use: Definitely in there, and you'll definitely use items on environment and also combine items; however item/inventory use is relatively downplayed compared to a lot of other point-and-clicks.

Puzzle Quality: Very good! Puzzles are sort of "L.A. Noir" in nature. You interview NPCs to acquire information on particular subjects, and the important information you find is jotted down in a notebook. You can then use the idea in your notebook like inventory items during interviews with other NPCs to pry for new information. You can also combine ideas in your notebook if you think there is a connection, which can create new ideas and generate new leads to investigate. There are also inventory type puzzles, but the interview puzzles are the main attraction.

Solution Quality: Very good solutions to puzzles and solutions make perfect sense. (Just make sure you exhaust all dialogues!) I never felt like solutions were illogical or overwrought nonsense. It's safe to say that this game avoids the hugest problem that games in this genre usually have.

Story/Characters: Very good! In fact, this point-and-click emphasizes these aspects the most, so if those are the most important thing to you in a point-and-click, then you don't wanna miss out on the Blackwell games.

Dialogue Quality: Very good! Lots of dialogue to explore, and the character dialogue is well-written, believable, and interesting.

Length: Very short! Games in the Blackwell series are more like "episodes". You can take one down in one or two hours if you know your way around a point-and-click.

VERDICT: As far as the point-and-click genre goes, you absolutely don't want to miss these---especially if story and characters are your favorite part.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
In this sequel to the previous Blackwell: Legacy, the narrative switches over to Rosangela's aunt and predecessor, Lauren. Lauren and her spirit guide, Joey, have been working together for some time by the start of this game and so the introductions and surprise of the last game have been replaced with an easy rapport. The transition of protagonist could have been disruptive, but considering the previous game ends on the question of Lauren's life and career, the chance to learn more about her was a welcome one. By making a full game of the answer instead of gaining this information through flashback or exposition (either from lost letters or Joey himself), you get a chance to see Lauren and Joey really interact with one another. In fact, moments where Joey has to comfort Lauren or talk her through the problem at hand are a common mechanic used to pause and sort through a twisted, interconnected set of cases. This installment has everything the past one did: retro/pixel graphics, great writing backed by great voice acting, and puzzles that are engaging as well as logical. Most importantly, this installment builds the same need to learn more, to see where this is going, as the last one did. I'm not sure if I'm excited to actually play the next game (I did play this immediately after finishing Legacy), but I am eager to learn more about the Blackwells and their relationship with the spirit world.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 16
Here’s a point and click series that has been eight in years in the making. Fortunately, I did not spend eight years waiting to play them all as I started in early 2014, just in time for the last one to be released. The series aging poorly over a such a long time isn’t really an issue here as it’s done in the 90s style of point and click adventures. Pixel graphics, above-par voice acting, items to pick up and most of all, a compelling story.

What do I think? Not bad, not bad at all. The characters draw you into well-written, appropriately voiced, engaging point-and-click adventure. It’s probably one of the most intuitive adventures I’ve played in a while (especially after playing Monkey Island and Sam & Max). It’s also the only point and click adventure I’ve played set in modern times, in the real world. It’s weird to have to think ‘modern’
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 23
if your into point and clicks adventure games you can't go wrong with the Blackwell series.
they are ghost / detective stories where you'll need to swap between the 2 to hunt for clues.
kinda of serous stories with humor based on dialog between a disheartened girl with a smoking problem and her disgruntled ghost.

this one you play as Roses aunt, Lauren.
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
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.

Fun fact: 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.
--

My rating system consists of six categories in descending order of importance:

- Atmosphere
- Characters
- Details
- Puzzles
- Story
- Controls

Based on the performance each category will receive one of the following grading:

- S-Rank: excellent
- A-Rank: very good
- B-Rank: solid
- C-Rank: satisfactory
- D-Rank: inferior

If the S-Rank is awarded, a quote from the game or personal comment will be added as a token of my respect (in brackets).
--

Atmosphere: A-Rank

Characters: A-Rank

Details: A-Rank

Puzzles: A-Rank

Story: C-Rank (A-Rank for the underlying storyline)

Controls: B-Rank
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To conquer all achievements of The Blackwell Unbound, you will most likely spend around 4 hours. A detailed achievement guide can be found on the link below (thanks to nek♥|sorrow (。◕‿‿◕。)).

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=115254920

Achievement difficulty: 2 of 10

Common:
- Singleplayer [+1]

Special:
- Trying to Cut Down [+1]
--

Blackwell Epiphany (PC) – Adventure game + Point & Click
(Fantasy) – 2014
http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197968514473/recommended/236930/
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Blackwell Deception (PC) – Adventure game + Point & Click
(Fantasy) – 2013
http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197968514473/recommended/80360/
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Blackwell Convergence (PC) – Adventure game + Point & Click
(Fantasy) – 2009
http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197968514473/recommended/80350/
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Blackwell Unbound (PC) – Adventure game + Point & Click
(Fantasy) – 2007
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The Blackwell Legacy (PC) – Adventure game + Point & Click
(Fantasy) – 2006
http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197968514473/recommended/80330/
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
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
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
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.
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
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.
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8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
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.
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8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
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.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
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.
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8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
This one touched me more than first one. Beautiful game, great story.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 2, 2014
Well done point-and-click adventure.
Totally worth time and money.
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