Blacksea Odyssey (PS4) Review

Blacksea Odyssey is a rather brutal top-down twin-stick shooter combined with Rogue-like elements and an interesting story. Taking the role of a ‘Space Huntsman’, you must search out bounties as you take chase and claim the highest rewards among you fellow competition.

However, developer Blacksea Odyssey (yup, same name as the game) has put their own spin on this genre by granting you the ability to literally tear your victims apart! All of this is mixed with RPG-like elements and a lot of challenge to give us a game which will frustrate, excite and provide satisfaction as we aim to be number one!

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Round one… Pick your bounty and good luck!

The story is simple within Blacksea Odyssey, once a decade or so, four of the greatest Space Huntsmen will gather and compete against each other as they claim the biggest and most violent game out there – The space creatures. Being a space-based game, you would probably think these elite huntsmen were armed with top of the range space weaponry such as lasers, plasmas, and missiles! Alas, no. Our protagonist is armed with a rather measly projectile weapon and a harpoon.

That’s right, you have a good old-fashioned harpoon as one of your main weapons. This allows the gameplay to go from fun to truly satisfying as you hook onto and remove various body parts of your foes! During the game, you will encounter many different beasts and creatures as you aim to face off against the mythical Moby Dick. As it’s a Rogue-like game, this won’t be an easy journey and will most likely result in a lot of deaths and frustration. However, if you keep at it and keep your dedication and determination strong, I’m sure you’ll emerge the victor – eventually…

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Harpoon the weak spots and rip the creature apart! Yarrrrrr!

Blacksea Odyssey is a fairly simple game in its overall premise, one which reminds me a lot of games such as The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human and Earth Atlantis which revolve around you taking on various badass bosses one after another. As such, the controls themselves are fairly simple but with a decent amount of depth for those who wish to master the game. At its core, the game is effectively a top-down twin-stick shooter where you move with the left stick, aim with the right, then fire your gun with R2 and your harpoon with L2.

Once you’ve damaged the creatures a certain amount with your standard projectiles, you can launch your harpoon deep into their flashing, damaged body part (if you have good aim) and then yank it back – thus ripping off its leg, weapon, arms, or even it’s eyeball! This process is very satisfying and watching your foe squirm around as it can’t see where you are or even move in a straight line is rather amusing. This concept reminds me a lot of Toukiden which plays like Monster Hunter yet you can slice off all the body parts of a creature in order to take it out easier.

Your ship also comes equipt with a boost which can be used when the meter is full – a meter which gradually refills on its own over time. You can also activate this boost in order to smash through the various landscapes if you are in need of a fast retreat or if you can’t be bothered to go around. Using a combination of the standard attack, the harpoon, and the boost will ensure victory with, hopefully, little damage to yourself!

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Unlock and pick your weapon of choice…

But what’s the point on Blacksea Odyssey? Why go through all of this trouble as you fight and die constantly whilst trying to get a higher score than your opponents? First of all, because it’s a lot of fun. Secondly, as with any other Rogue-like game, the more you play, the more you unlock. There are various characters and spears for you to unlock as you meet certain criteria such as completing the game within an hour or killing X amount of creatures. This is yet another game where you are meant to die repeatedly until you have unlocked new gear and can restart as something better.

It can take a while to upgrade your initial loadout though, so thankfully Blacksea Odyssey has one-use and special ability pick-ups. These can be dropped by creatures you slaughter, although most of them will be found in golden chests on the battlefield (which are opened with keys which the enemies drop). These can be simple health boosts as a one time use, or even a rune which can be equipped in order to provide you with a small amount of health everytime you hit an enemy. Games like this always remind me of The Binding of Issac where you have an initial character with its own traits and skills, yet you can pick up various things in-game (which are all RNG) and either become a God or fail miserably!

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These enemies are brutal!

The creatures you will go up against are all very creative and really stand out from the blandness of space. From the tri-frog which spits out three tongues as it tries to poison you, to the giant Nom Nom Nom creature which will remain hidden until you find it – although once found, it will launch an ‘Alien’ style being out of its mouth as it tries to gobble you up! In regards to the environment, there is only so much you can do with the ‘Space’ setting. Blacksea Odyssey has opted for space to be your standard black background with white dots for stars but with a maze-like foreground. In my opinion, I think it works well as it gives you something to work around as you dodge and evade the enemy beings whilst also making you aware so you don’t back into a corner.

The sound effects also work really well in the game, from the subtle noises as you tear out an enemies eyeball, to the dramatic and exciting soundtrack. Nothing was apparently being overused or repeated often and everything fit the situation perfectly.

In regards to the trophies – some are doable such as completing the game, collecting X amount of items, rip off 100 enemy body parts and kill all enemies in a level etc… Then you get the ones which will be a pain to complete – beat the game in 60 minutes, kill every boss in the game, beat elite mode (the game on normal is very hard already), and open 500 chests (you get 1-2 keys per bounty). It’s not impossible and some people will find it easier than others, but it’s not an easy platinum this game!

20 minutes of no-commentary gameplay:

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Blacksea Odyssey is rather unique in the saturated genre of top-down twin-stick shooters. With it’s strong likeness to Toukiden yet played out as a top-down, Rogue-like, bounty collection game, it’s a game which you can easily spend many hours in without actually getting very far. It’s a great game for those who love games in the twin-stick shooter genre but it’s probably a bit hard for new-comers or casuals who are looking for an easy game to fly through. If you persevere and aim to get stronger every time you die, Blacksea Odyssey is both very rewarding and satisfying.

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A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Blacksea Odyssey

£9.99
8

Final Score

8.0/10

The Good:

  • Every playthrough is different with new enemies and bosses
  • Large selection of weapons to unlock + in-game abilities/pick-ups
  • Great soundtrack and general sounds
  • Makes you want to give it "one more try"
  • Creature design is very wacky and epic

The Bad:

  • Can be a bit hard, even in the early stages
  • Takes a while to get used to aiming the harpoon as it's difficult to line up a shot whilst you are both moving
  • I would have liked more unlockable things such as items for your ship you can buy between runs

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