Overall Score 60%
The Blind Point racing league is a little special. You've probably raced cars before - getting to know the turns, the handling, the acceleration. This is racing with complete freedom - there's no track, no barriers... just open space. Pilot your ship round a series of race circuits, passing through the various checkpoints, and win fame and glory.
Blind Point (I'm not entirely sure where this name came from) is a simple game. It's a series of "racetracks", each of which is really just a line of checkpoint rings around a space station. You start off with just one ship and one racetrack (which can be raced clockwise or anticlockwise as two different circuits) and you unlock other ships and tracks by scoring points. First place nets you five points, second nets you three and third scores a single point. To give you some idea, unlocks tend to be anywhere from about 5 points up to 75 for the final tracks.
Your ship is operated by either mouse or keyboard (or both, if you prefer). The mouse allows finer control but the keyboard allows another degree of motion. Your ship moves at a fixed speed around the course, and you can use your limited boosters to augment this or your brakes to slow or stop. Depending on the game mode you will either be racing against other ships or against the clock, but both move quickly!
The graphics strike one immediately - they are very... grey. The developers state this emphasises the game's non-realistic gameplay, though to me it simply reminded me of my younger days with my 8-bit Atari on the black and white portable television. The only colour in the game is the neon pink of the checkpoints, which makes them easy to spot at least! It's harder to comment on the rest of the graphics, given that one's ship tends to obscure them - your ship draws closer when you apply the brake and pulls away when you boost, so the block is variable in size, but this did mean I often had no idea where I was going.
Blind Point is accompanied by some mostly rock-style music and a small selection of sound effects, such as engine noise and the click as you cross a checkpoint. I believe different courses have different music, but I am in no position to report this beyond looking in the game folder. I certainly haven't heard them in situ! This is a shame, as playing them externally I can say the music is the highlight of the game.
I have to say, I found this game hideously difficult to play. Aside from the obscured view, I had no idea where the checkpoints were - the direction of the next is indicated by some very helpful arrows, but which side should I fly through? I never had a clear idea of the shape of the track. I barely even saw the ships I was racing! Movement with the mouse was awful until I adjusted the mouse sensitivity up a great deal, and then became merely bad. There was a brief screen detailing the keyboard controls when the game loaded up, but it was gone before I had chance to read it and there appears to be no means to call it back up or reassign the keys. At least there is a manual provided with the install if you rummage in the program's folder! Other minor annoyances include the way the default track is not the first (and initially the only unlocked) one, so you have to scroll through to find it.
There's also the question of longevity - it will be a special kind of person that will hack away at the first track with the first ship until they figure out the route, the controls and the optimal path. And unless they score first place they'll have to do it repeatedly. And for what? Another ship, another run through a series of checkpoint rings. Aside from things like beating your time or unlocking new tracks, there's no pull to make you come back beyond sheer masochism. It's the gaming equivalent of being beaten round the head with a rubber mallet - and then, when you're used to that, you can choose to be beaten round the head with a rubber cricket bat instead.
Blind Point has a good concept behind it - the space racer is not a new idea, and there's certainly a market for a good one, but this isn't it. The difficulty curve is a cliff face, the graphics are arty rather than attractive and the free flight gameplay is TOO free. I wish Bandit Rogue Interactive every success, but sadly this is one game that I won't be coming back to any time soon.
Keywords: blind point review, bandit rogue interactive reviews, bandit rogue interactive games, blind point scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.