Black Hole Hazard is a title from the almost unknown developer Superthumb, and is an interesting one that certainly shows some potential. You play as Dr. Albert, a scientist who falls foul to a science experiment gone wrong and finds himself adrift in space within a strange sequence of puzzles. You have only a jet pack and a gun to navigate your way through the puzzles and to avoid the enemies and deadly traps.
The gameplay is extremely simple and revolves around you pointing your mouse and either using a jetpack to propel yourself or a gun to shoot destructible blocks and enemies. There are places in each level that you need to fly into to open doors, additional places where upgrades are located, and each level also has at least one checkpoint, which minimizes the frustration at the controls to some extent. The controls are fairly easy to get used to but they still feel rather wild and difficult to wrestle with. The general simplicity is fine and the game is perfectly alright to play but it doesn’t provide anything phenomenally engaging and there isn’t a great deal to make you want to pursue and explore the minimal story.
With regards to the puzzles there’s nothing overly complicated and most of them involve wrestling with the controls to navigate your way through without dying. This makes the game fairly easy to traverse but feels fairly disappointing as there is no real mental challenge.
Black Hole Hazard is a very visually basic game with simple graphics that assist in providing a container for the game and unfortunately do very little else. The opening cutscene uses still images and has no animation involved in it aside from the images shaking a bit. This gets the basis of the story across but feels a bit flat and even if actual animations weren’t an option the still images could have been handled better. It would also have been nice to see them drawn better. The graphics throughout the rest of the game reflect that of a standard 2D puzzle game. The color palette works nicely and aids the atmosphere the game is trying to create, but the overly simplistic graphics mixed with a couple of the enemies just looking not particularly well drawn gives an odd visual vibe. For such a small studio and an equally small team it’s clear they did their best with what they had.
The soundtrack is relatively simple and unambitious, which was probably a wise move on the developers' front. It assists the overall atmosphere and is pleasant enough but certainly isn’t anything special.
Visually, the menus are well laid out and easy to navigate with a sufficient number of options considering the simplicity of the game overall.
Overall, Black Hole Hazard is an interesting first effort by a small developer but clearly marks the areas they can improve on should they decide to make another game. There are plenty of elements that show potential but the lack of experience shines through in many places. Plenty of things for the devs to learn from, but a solid start.