Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows) & Epic Store))
Developer | Publisher: Casus Ludi | Gearbox Publishing
Age Rating: US Everyone | EU 3+
Price: US $14.99 | UK £13.49 | EU € 14,99
Release Date: February 14th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Zebra Partners.
Blanc is the first video game title by Casus Ludi. The setting and vibes of the game are inspired by a heavy snowstorm which the team encountered during a gaming jam. Playing with a friend, you control either the wolf cub or the fawn as they journey through the wintry landscape, trying to find their way back to their families.
Will this unlikely friendship be a match made in monochrome heaven?
A Wolf Cub and A Fawn
With simple on-screen instructions, Blanc launches straight into the story. Lost in a snowstorm, our two protagonists meet whilst following the tracks of their respective families. Initially unsure of each other, they warily carry on along their own paths.
However, as they meander through the landscape, the animals soon realise that they are heading in the same direction, and eventually, their paths join.
Wandering along rivers, through villages and farms, you and your gaming buddy will need to work together to ensure the animals stay out of the deep snow. By using the unique skills of each creature, you can overcome the obstacles they encounter.
However, it’s not just the wolf cub and fawn out in the terrible storm. Along the way, you will encounter other animals, all needing a little help.
Will they find their families?
The full storyline is for you to experience, not for me to spoil.
A Short Journey of Exquisite Detail
The team at Casus Ludi were aiming to create a heart-warming and emotional tale, a game which everyone can enjoy. Did they succeed? Yes.
The gameplay isn’t long, the puzzles aren’t complex, and the controls are simple. However, every single step along the journey is full of beautiful detail and artistic skill. The movement of both the wolf cub and fawn is elegant and realistic, with the bounding energy of the young cub, the timid steps of the fawn, the wagging tails of excitement, and the wind-buffeted ears.
This is all encapsulated within a wonderful soundtrack, echoing the mood of the adventure.
During the couple of hours of gameplay, I was transported to that snowy landscape. Furthermore, I was totally immersed. It’s hard to believe how attached you can get to little hand-drawn creatures, but I could feel their emotions.
This is more than just a game – Blanc is an experience. The game’s website is filled with the same warmth as the game. And if you want Blanc to be on more than just your console, you can download wallpaper and gifs, and even carving stencils and crochet patterns.
Blanc is a two-player game, either single system, local wireless or online. Each character is controlled by a separate joy-con or pro-controller. My gaming buddy and I were on a single system in docked mode using pro controllers, which worked very well.
The game autosaves at the start and middle of each of the ten chapters. There is an option to control the number of on-screen tips and various sound volume adjustments.
The camera moves automatically to keep track of the action. Being on a single system with no split screen, there were a couple of times when it jumped unexpectedly to keep up with the other player. Generally, though, the camera movement was smooth and worked in the direction I expected and wanted.
It’s worth mentioning that all of the gameplay is in the high contrast of black and white graphics, including some parts where you navigate through a flickering snow blizzard.
There isn’t a huge amount of gameplay in Blanc, but what you get is an incredible, emotional journey about friendship. This two-player game transports you to a wintry landscape and immerses you in a heartwarming adventure. The graphics and music work in harmony to create a truly delightful game.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up