The Story & Gameplay
Published by Focus Home Indies and developed by studio newcomers the parasite comes with a new horror blacktail.
In blacktail, you play as Yoga. Yoga is a young girl with an infliction and made an outcast from humanity. She hides behind a mask and is on the road with her sister Zora. However, your sister Zora has gone missing and you are left to fend for yourself. But a voice in your head pushes you to find the hut of Baba.
From here, you craft the story of Baba Yoga, either living up to its terrible legend or not. It’s an interesting setup that I’m looking forward to seeing played out and with some solid characters and dialogue, it’s off to a good start. The voice that taunts Yoga and provides details about the world is an absolute highlight.
In the opening hours, I got to explore a chunk of the game’s first area, ranging from a campsite down to a small camp off in the distance, stopping just as I was about to cross a bridge to a windmill. I started off by hunting deer to collect some food before making my way to Baba’s hut, which is the central hub place for blacktail.
Being able to upgrade yoga at the Cauldron with items you find around the world. Going further into the world, I met a group of talking mushrooms that promised me they would help if I dealt with their dragon issue, which introduces one of the central focuses of blacktail. You are able to pick a side for good or for evil.
Throughout the start of this quest line, you are introduced to a variety of characters with their own side of the story, pitting us against one another to further their own goals. Not only that, I met an army of ants looking to overthrow humanity.
Blacktail Game Review: A wild concept, but one that I want to see play out. It’s unclear how the choices will impact what is happening at this point, so we will have to wait until the game’s full launch to dive into that. It does seem interesting enough if not entirely impactful in the opening areas.
It allows you to turn the legend of Baba Yoga into either a good or evil witch by killing animals, roaming the world, or siding with certain characters I played through twice to see both the pure good and evil sides.
The full impact of my choice isn’t apparent just yet, and the boss fights were the same. Despite being different characters. It gave me a solid impression of just how blacktail’s world works. It’s not a typical generic open world with map markers every 5ft, but it’s also not linear. Instead, it finds a nice balance between guided progression and exploration.
There are caves scattering the landscape, all with interesting things to find and all feeding back into the main progression system.Back in Baba Yagas, hut.Hopefully, this remains going into the full game because I really enjoyed just exploring this unique world. Blacktail features tons of beautiful and intriguing sights you will undoubtedly see more of later in the game.
There are seemingly plenty of secrets to find as well, which creates better reasons to come back to old areas.
As for the combat, Blacktail is off to a decent enough start, even if it’s fairly unremarkable. Your main attack is with the bow, which you can charge to perform powerful attacks very quickly.
In the demo, I was able to use Witchery to use special attacks as well. I was able to modify my bow attack into an area of effect cone and later on some in a room to distract enemies. And there are slots for more weapon types as well. Yoga can also dodge in any direction, something that did come in useful in the boss fight that I encountered.
Hopefully, the full game has more challenging opponents because the early game feels a little too easy. Resources seem really generous with tons of crafting materials around for great ammo crafting. The same goes for saving as well.
It takes a sunflower to save, but with so many around, it seems resources are plentiful so you shouldn’t need to worry too much. You will gain access to more perks as your scales tip between good and evil.
Blacktail Game Review: It’s a basic system, but one I appreciate being an evil which will give you abilities more suited to life stealing. Whilst the good branch will help you with resource collecting, both sides seemingly promise to modify the broom’s behavior as a whole.
Blacktail’s gameplay is off to a good start. Blacktail has shown a lot of promise during my brief demo of the game. It certainly won’t blow anyone away with its rather simple gameplay and lack of meaningful choices in the opening hours.
But its absolutely beautiful world design, interesting story, and dark humor make Blacktail something well worth looking out for. Blacktail releases on PC, Xbox, Series X, and PS5 on 15 December.