Black Mirror (XB1) Review

Mirror, Mirror on the wall.

Black Mirror the game is not based on the show with the same name. It’s actually a reboot of a classic series of point and click games that have garnered much attention over the years. I’ve never actually played the original entries, and it’s a bit surprising to myself because I do enjoy the genre. So here we are now, years later with a re-imagining, and it looks to take the core idea or themes from the first and recreate them. How are the results? A cracking mirror would be the most adapt way of putting it.


Players take the role of David Gordon, who is recalled to his rightful home after the unfortunate passing of his father. His untimely demise is suspicious and odd, and David is thrust into a mystery to discover who or what killed his father and discover an ancient curse that affects his blood line. It’s a great set up for a mysterious and ominous location as the manor seems to feel like a character itself. The visual design does just enough to deliver that creepy vibe, reminding me of playing older school survival horror games with its camera angles and puzzle solving. The mansion is big but not big enough to really get completely lost, and eventually walking around the location feels at home.

MSRP: $39.99
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
Multiplayer: n/a
How long to beat: 6+ hours

The puzzles themselves range from interacting with a changeable key, pushing buttons, or using items in the right place, much like the genre this is inspired by. I never really got stuck too often aside from one moment in chapter 3 that had me looking to investigate a recent death. I just had no idea what to do and I was simply missing investigating one new item in the library, then I could further question a character. This reminded me of pixel hunts that occurred quite often in older games, and while it’s not as bad here, it still can make progression come to a standstill.

Rough legends of old

Throughout David’s investigation, he will get to check out the entire mansion, the outside grounds, and even another small location. Each place is nice visually by design, but as far as visual consistency goes, it’s a huge mixed bag. The environments usually look good, but sometimes visual pop-in or grass draw in occurs, even though the game isn’t rendering a huge field in front of the player. Other times I noticed weird lighting shadow issues. Animations are another huge blemish at moments, with suddenly shifting changes in stance depending on interaction or the scene made it jarring. Gameplay wise, the puzzle solving and walking around feel decent enough, with David occasionally getting stuck on a ledge or out of sight area, but these were easy to overlook. What was a bit harder to forgive was the lack of decent auto saves and suddenly dying during one of the games many “investigating visions” moments. The game really doesn’t teach players about this, and suddenly I had died and had to restart from my last save. It’s annoying and the death can come rather quick.

Rebooting the Mansion

Having never played the original game, I can’t tell how much has changed. I did read up on it and it feels like the original game might have been longer and more in depth with its story and locations, but I can’t one hundred percent confirm that. What I can say is that The Black Mirror had me intrigued enough and the atmosphere heavy enough to overlook the many shortcomings of the title. While animations and visual inconsistencies will vary from person to person on how much they are willing to tolerate, the hardest thing for me aside from the sudden deaths and losing progress is definitely the system performance.

Stuttering, freezing at times, and just lacking any smooth feeling whatsoever really dampened my entire play through. I enjoyed my time with the game and the story it tells, but I can’t help feel like it could have used a few more months of polish or perhaps just a longer development time. The Black Mirror is ripe for being that classic creepy haunted manor mystery type setting, but everything surrounding its tale makes it hard to get pulled into and constantly pulls players out of the experience with its follies. This mirror is still worth looking into, but its cracks definitely show.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Great atmosphere
  • Puzzles
  • Story
  • Performance issues
  • Visual inconsistency
Written by
Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.