The premise is simple. You’re a scientist lost in the void of space when an experiment goes horribly wrong. Your space suit has a jet exhaust hose that shoots you in the opposite direction you’re facing. You also have a laser gun… because video games. This deceptively easy control scheme hides the devious difficult that await within Black Hole Hazard. It was famously said that in space no one can hear you scream. Black Hole Hazard has made me realize that if they can’t hear you scream; they can’t hear you curse, which is what I did throughout my play time.
My journey in the vacuum of space started with a giggle. It’s silly fun to turn your astronaut into a flying pinball banking him off walls and hearing the pleasant “bing” noise. This experience presented my mind with the notion that the game would be a silly puzzler. Several levels later I’m dying repeatedly and wondering what I had gotten myself into. Typically, death was the result of me trying to blaze through a level too fast. That isn’t a problem, I can accept my failure due to a lack of patience. However, just as I got the knack of taking my time and carefully navigating a level, I’m thrown the curveball that success can only be achieved through speed and accuracy. The problem I have is the controls are too imprecise to effectively do that.
Coming across the first boss in the game solidified my opinion of not liking the game. Suddenly, I’m having to fly through the level at breakneck speeds while avoiding deadly obstacles, which up to that point really wasn’t required. Pulling the level off only takes 30 seconds, but it’s 30 seconds of being a lighting fast twitch god. I just didn’t have the reflexes needed, and so I died, and died, over, and over again. It just really sucked the fun out of playing for me.
Black Hole Hazard is guilty of other mechanics that just plain frustrated me. The game has checkpoints on some levels which will reset your spawn should you die, but enemies that may have been killed will respawn as well. It’s annoying to fight through an area only to see minions come back should you meet your demise, especially if the level requires backtracking. There are also heat-seeking laser sponge enemies. I’m sure the game wanted me to out maneuver and speed past them which I tried and failed at many times. I resorted to moving out from cover just enough where I could shoot them, but the environment prevented them from getting me, before blasting them into space dust. It felt cheap, but the only alternative I had to get past the level.
I really wanted to like Black Hole Hazard because the movement mechanic was so neat. I walked away from it feeling frustrated due to the taxing difficulty. All things considered, this indie developed one man game isn’t the worst way to spend $5. I would love to see a simple puzzle mode added that lets you have fun with the floaty movement. Overall, Black Hole Hazard is a tough as nails platform puzzler requiring quick reactions I simply didn’t have. Check out the free demo on Steam to see if this game is for you. I’d recommended it for those who love speed running and have plenty of patience!
You can pickup the game on Steam starting August 29th.