The Black Heart by Andrés Borghi
Are you someone who yearns for the fighting games of yore? When the genre was inundated with gratuitous violence and controversy rather than busty anime girls and entire rosters of DLC? Pepperidge Farm – I mean, developer Andrés Borghi – clearly remembers those days, too. The Black Heart is a throwback to the Mortal Kombat-inspired excess of the ’90s. The question is, is it worth your time?
Heart of Darkness
The Black Heart has you controlling one of six different characters fighting for rulership of a ghoulish alternate dimension. Like all good fighting games, there is a completely optional but no less convoluted story to be discovered through each character’s arcade mode. Of course, what you’re actually here for is the fighting. Thankfully, that part’s one of the game’s strengths.
The game’s fighting engine is immediately intuitive for fans of ’90s fighting games, with all the combos and special moves you come to expect. The character roster, while unfortunately small, does also provide interesting and different options, from a produce-throwing scarecrow to a web-spinning spider lady. Perhaps the most important part is that the combat itself feels fast and precise. It’s clearly inspired by some of the best the genre has to offer. That said, I found special moves were often not as responsive as I would have liked, even when trying different controllers and inputs.
Black Heart, Dead Soul
In terms of features, The Black Heart is solid if barebones. The usual assortment of modes like Arcade, Versus, Training, and Survival are all present, though versus matches are regrettably limited to local only. This is understandable, given the limited scope of the project, but still unfortunate for the game’s longevity.
Perhaps the game’s strongest aspect is its production. Between the viscerally gory attacks launched by the characters, psychedelic (and psychotic) backgrounds, and genuinely moody music, this will definitely be a treat for anyone who wants their fighting games with a bit of Silent Hill in the mix. Anyone still upset over the cancellation of Thrill Kill decades later will love this.
Ultimately, The Black Heart is a labor of love from someone who clearly understands the fighting game genre. The package as a whole is let down a bit by a sparse character roster and occasionally unresponsive moves, but with some tweaks and a possible add-on or sequel, this has the potential to be a real sleeper hit. For a one-developer fighting game priced around $10, you could do substantially worse.
The Black Heart is available via Steam.
Watch the trailer for The Black Heart below: