Use the edge of this anomaly to get ahead in this rather brief shoot'em-up.
A good shoot'em-up goes a long way to ensure I have a solid time, a few examples being Graceful Explosion Machine, Samurai Aces and Star Ghost. Each of these games know how to pull you in, do something unique and make the investment worth your time. Black Hole attempts to capture this same balance though comes up a little short in present company. It won’t be considered the next best thing, but was still quite enjoyable nonetheless.
The arena to which Black Hole will be played on through its 40 levels is a fixed screen with a gravitational pull. You’ll need to maneuver around the screen, avoiding incoming enemies and asteroids as they close in around you. Naturally, you will need your best shooting chops to destroy these threats. While shooting is nice, Black Hole focuses a large portion of its gameplay on precision and evasion. You will need to think about the moves you make, and ensure that you get out of the way if necessary. The best course of action is not exactly explicit stated, and in fact it tries to give you a false sense of security. It may seem easy at first, but the transition is harsh and brutal.
That being said, you won’t be left of totally to your own devices. An upgrade system allows you to upgrade your ship during a run. To get the upgrades, yellow crystals need to be collected, which will disappear if you aren't careful. Other colored crystals, green and blue, will replenish your health and shield systems. The levels are short, so everything resets once you’ve lost all your lives.
Everything you learn will need to be taken into account for the next round. The key selling point of the experience are the online leaderboards, on which you fight against everyone and anyone. If a typical run dealing with the gravity isn't enough for you, you can step it up a notch with the Speed run mode. This will add a big timer for those needing to take every second into account. Sadly, for the casual player, you are sort of done after seeing all 40 levels. Personally, I would have loved some sort of multiplayer, which would add another insane layer to the proceedings.
Black Hole looks good, but it didn't overly impress me. The colors really pop and are a wonder to behold, but it takes a backseat over the gameplay. In that sense, Black Hole does try to pull out all the stops. It makes active use of the HD Rumble, plus it has a variety of control options. Now don't me wrong, only a couple are truly viable, but the fact that there is a choice makes me quite happy.
Black Hole does, honestly, some tricks that nobody else does. The fixed screen with the gravitational pull is an unique concept that keeps you sharp. The act of playing the game is awesome, and nothing should be taken away from it. After 40 levels though, there is nothing for most players to return to. Sure, there is room to improve on your runs, but that really depends on the type of person you are. As for myself, I’ll probably end up going back to it now and again.