Blanc is possibly the most wholesome game of the year so far – Review
A winter adventure that ends way too fast.
The indie adventure game Blanc, developed by French studio Casus Ludi, excels in being surprisingly simple and yet uniquely picturesque. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, but its artsy-ness gets in the way of smooth gameplay and it leaves you wanting so much more than it gives.
Throughout Blanc, you play as two different characters: a black wolf pup and a white fawn. During the deepest part of the winter, these two wake to find their families have traveled forward without them. After a tentative run-in with one another, these young creatures decide to team up, braving abandoned villages and snowy hills to find their loved ones again. As you play, you face small puzzles and challenges while you try to brave the winter chill. Meanwhile, you meet a handful of adorable friends along the way who you help survive the frigid cold.
With its playtime coming in at just under two hours, Blanc feels practically tailor-made to be either a quick little evening adventure or the perfect short romp for Twitch streams.
The artistic beauty of snow
First and foremost, the world of Blanc is absolutely stunning. Casus Ludi’s choice of a black-and-white color palette is a perfect way to encapsulate the harsh beauty of winter. What makes this cozy, breathtaking art style all the better is the fact that the developers framed the game very cinematically. As you play, the camera follows your characters’ every movement through dynamic angles and compelling views. Whether you’re sliding down hills or climbing up buildings, it can really feel like you’re right beside these two little characters. It’s the perfect, wholesome game to sit back, relax, and just enjoy the ride.
The issue with this cinematic camera is that it can get in the way of progress. Certain strange, limiting camera angles can make what the game wants you to do confusing. For example, there’s a point where the little wolf is on a higher platform and the fawn is stuck in front of a door. Given the very limited visual scope, it can take some time to figure out that there’s a platform the fawn can jump to off to the side. While the cinematic camera is totally worth it through most of the game, there will be other, minorly inconvenient times it works against you.
Walking in a winter wonderland
Speaking of, the slow pace and adorable art make Blanc a perfect *vibes* game. As an experience, Blanc excels at capturing that feeling of going out in the snow with your friends. The air has a bite, the snow can be too thick at times, but as long as you’re together, you can face anything. It’s like a mix of Little Big Planet and a child’s snowball game.
However, while you can experience the game solo or with a friend, it’s undeniable that it’s an easier, smoother game with a second person. Similar to something like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, trying to use one half of your controller for the wolf and the other half for the fawn can get quite discombobulating. It can really break your immersion, trying to juggle between the two. Because of this, enjoying the game with two players is recommended.
An adventure for all ages and abilities
Blanc is also a very disability- and age-accessible experience. From the colorblind-friendly palette to the easy-to-use controls that don’t rely on reflexes, Blanc tells a universal story without excluding any players. For young gamers or gamers with reflex problems, the tutorial is very clear and straightforward. Players with memory struggles will get a reminder of the controls every time they hit pause. The lack of dialogue even allows deaf players to follow along with ease.
In a world that often loves to forget about disabled gamers entirely, Casus Ludi earnestly tried to make playing Blanc as accessible as they possibly could. It’s an added bonus that only increases the game’s charm and livability.
Ultimately, Blanc’s biggest problem is that the game felt too short. While the story was adorably simple, just two friends helping each other get home, it ended so quickly. It may not have been Casus Ludi’s mission to create something more complex, however, the beautiful world and charming characters in Blanc made you want its story to go a little deeper, last a little longer, and feel a little less surface-level.
If you love a stunning, cozy game, Blanc is up your alley. It’s an accessible, simple experience that’s great for a chilled-out night with friends, a cuddled-up date night, or even a kid’s first gaming adventure with their parent. It’s got that all-around appeal and charm that works for anyone looking for something feel-good and adorable.
There’s not much wrong with the game for what it is. At worst, development-wise, it has minor gameplay annoyances that can trip you up as you play. However, what really gets you is this feeling that you plunged into this stunning, interesting little world and then you were kicked out of it before you could get your fill. It’s kind of like watching a beautiful little short film that feels like it needs, and deserves, to be a full-length movie.
That might’ve been Casus Ludi’s entire point, mirroring the fleeting friendship between a wolf pup and a deer fawn, but it doesn’t make you feel as satisfied as you might want to be. In the end, Blanc felt like a loving, artistically beautiful journey cut short, and this little wolf and deer definitely deserved more time together before they parted ways.
9 / 10
|+||Stunning, cinematic art style and game movement|
|+||Charming, easy-to-digest story|
|+||Accessible to all types of gamers|
|–||Its artiness can get in the way of intuitive gameplay|
|–||An unsatisfyingly short runtime|