Blind Men- BL Game Review

Blind Men is a lighthearted spy fiction BL visual novel created by Man Eater Games. The game follows  Keegan, a young man who dreams of becoming a super villain just like his uncle. But, he still has a lot to learn, when his first heist goes awry he finds himself the unwilling ally of two spies each with their own hidden agendas.

This is a commercial release, coming in at a cool $3.99 USD and is playable on Windows and Mac operating systems. Blind Men is a rather short game with two love interests, a Russian spy, Sergei and Hunter, an American Special Agent. Despite it’s rather short run time, the game offers hours of fun and EIGHT unique endings!

Big thank you to the Man Eater Games team for sending me a review copy of the game! 

The Story

Synopsis

A parody of spy fiction, Blind Men is a boys’ love visual novel that follows a young super villain as he carries out his first big heist.

As the nephew of a retired super villain, there’s nothing Keegan wants more than to become one himself — unfortunately for him, with no experience and with very little time to get everything done, something is bound to go wrong.

Man Eater Games

After losing his parents in an accident, Keegan is sent to live with his uncle Sphinx, a world renowned super villain. Blessed with intelligence and charm, Keegan aspires to be just like his uncle and submits his application to become a member of the secret villain organization, the League. As part of his application, Keegan must perform an act of villainy. Really wanting to wow the application review board, Keegan decides to pull a stunt at Bonn’s National Museum of Science, home to a host of prominent scientists and priceless scientific equipment.

In the game players can choose to either kidnap a famous scientist and ransom him off to the highest bidder or pull off the heist of the century by stealing the priceless Engelauge diamond. Of course since this is his first big job, Keegan makes sure to plan everything down to the letter and things seem to be running smoothly, that is until he runs into two undercover agents! What was supposed to be the event that pave the way for his fledgling career as a super villain might be the very thing that causes his dreams to crash and burn. While the basic premise doesn’t change much regardless of which path you choose, the events surrounding the heist and Keegan’s interactions with the agents does change considerably depending on which path you choose to follow.

So, while this is a BL game with quite a few not so subtle romantic undertones, I should clarify that there aren’t any established “relationships” between Keegan and the Agents at the end of each route (doesn’t matter if you get the good end or the bad ends). There are no declarations of love or anything like that (there is a kiss in two routes, but the circumstances surrounding them leave much to imagination), each route is like a brief (read: VERY BRIEF) peek into the lives of the characters during this particular moment in time… kind of like the pilot episode of a series that wasn’t picked up for syndication. So, if you are psyching yourself up for sexy BL goodness, I’ll tell you right now, it’s not that kind of game.


The Characters

Due to the nature of the game and the rather short run time, there really aren’t too many characters to keep track of in Blind Men. Which, is both a helps and hurts this game, on one hand there aren’t too many one off side characters mucking up the flow of the story (a positive), but because it is such a small cast, the characters we do get to interact with are under much more scrutiny. As a whole, I liked most of the characters, the Man Eater Games team did a great job of putting their own spin on the traditional spy flick trope characters. While most of the characters stay within the boundaries of their “assigned” roles, the writers breathe just enough originality into them to make them appear to be wholly original creations.

Protagonist: Keegan

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Keegan in all his villainous glory!

So, Keegan… I’m going to be real with you guys, as far as protagonists go, Keegan is not one of my favorites and believe me, I tried to like him (I really truly did). Keegan spends the vast majority of the game either A) whining about how he wants to be a super villain or B) acting like he is the smartest person in the room, and that’s even after he is shown time and time again that he has some serious growing up to do. I’m probably going to say this at least five more times before this review is over, but perhaps if this game were a bit longer I might have had more time to warm up to the character… Unfortunately, that was not the case, if I had to sum up Keegan’s characterization in a few words it would be something along the lines of “whiny teen”. I just couldn’t relate to the character all that much, though I will admit I did like his initiative, even if most of his plans fell apart in the end.

Also since, this is a BL game it should go without saying that Keegan is into the fellas, though his sexual orientation isn’t explicitly stated within the game (there are a few passing mentions of his past flings).

The Agents: Hunter & Sergei

So, while I didn’t really like Keegan all that much, I absolutely adored the “love interests” Hunter and Sergei! Hell, I’d much rather have had the game focus on them instead, they were loads more interesting than Keegan and his, “I wanna be a villain” shenanigans. Of course they are not without their flaws, most of which were due to the game’s short run time, but overall, I was far more invested in them than I ever was in Keegan.

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The guy with the fluffy collar is Sergei and the smug bastard in the tux is Hunter.

Hunter is an American secret agent with a charming smile and a pretty relaxed personality. He never seems to take anything seriously, not even when his life is on the line and his constant flirting tends to rub people the wrong way. Hunter is a cross between Austin Powers and James Bond, he has the sophisticated man of mystery look down to a science, but with enough camp to completely turn the trope on it’s head. The level of his campiness varies depending on which route you pick, but, not by much and that’s okay, I much prefer my characters in shades of grey. While morally, he and Keegan are on opposite ends of the spectrum, I quite enjoyed their interactions throughout the game (perhaps I just liked watching Keegan suffer). There is definitely some chemistry between the two men, which may or may no have to do with their respective good v. bad roles and I would have loved to have seen that fleshed out more in a LONGER game. But, alas we get this entertaining cat and mouse interplay as they each try to one up the other (spoiler: Hunter is the cat).

Sergei or The Russian, is a KGB operative, whose involvement in the events of the game are never completely explained in either route. He’s a man of few words and his imposing appearance leads many to give him a pretty wide berth.  I’m usually not one for the burly, gruff types, but the air of mystery that surrounds Sergei and his past more than piqued my interest. Unfortunately the overall payout on his “secrets” is pretty minimal. Out of the two love interests, Sergei’s routes were much more serious in tone when compared with the lighthearted comedic shenanigans of Hunter’s routes. Also the “chemistry” between Keegan and Sergei was much more subtle than the belligerent sexual tension in the Hunter-centric interactions, which is something you don’t see too often in BL games and media.

Side Pieces

They’re just that side pieces, most of the side characters are pretty forgettable, though I will give Man Eater Games some props for including a female character in the game, though granted, she mostly only appears at the end of the game…


The Routes

Both routes have their merits, the Kidnapping routes bring the conflict to Keegan’s front door, forcing him to interact with the agents in a much more controlled setting (ie. his secret lair) and the lines between ally and enemy are clearly drawn. While the character interactions in the Diamond Heist routes are a bit more relaxed, with Keegan and the agents being closer to allies than outright enemies.

Each route has one good end and one bad end for each guy. The Good Ends, usually culminate with Keegan evading the cops and living to fight another day (whether or not his plans are victorious depends solely on which guy you choose to pursue). While the Bad Ends, find Keegan battered and broken by his experiences and/or arrested.

Kidnapping Routes

Keegan, decides to kidnap a super important scientist from the conference, but due to circumstances beyond his control, he winds up capturing one of the agents. In typical bad guy fashion Keegan will either have one of the agents strapped to a table or bound to a chair while he regales his brilliant scheme or has his henchmen torture information out of his captive. It’s what you’d expect from a spy flick, and while that seems to work in the films, here it just kind of fell flat. Perhaps if the story and the characters had been fleshed out a bit more, I might have enjoyed the more by the book spy narrative.

Diamond Heist Routes

Keegan attempts to steal a big ass diamond from the museum, but before he can make his big break, a bomb explodes trapping him and [insert love interest here] within the museum. These routes were pretty cut and dry, Keegan and whichever agent you choose must work together to free themselves while dodging unforeseen obstacles. The character interactions were really well done in these routes since the characters weren’t beholden to their assigned roles and had a bit more freedom with how they worked with off one another.


Art, Soundtrack, & Writing

This is a very clean looking game, the GUI is modeled after one of those top secret dossiers and the font is reminiscent of the old typewriter prints of old… The overall design gives the player the feeling that they are reading a case file on the events that occur in the game, rather than just playing a game about spies and villains, a level of detail that I greatly appreciated.

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Save menu

The character designs were great, each character was unique and there weren’t any glaring inconsistencies between the CGs and the character sprites. Each character had a few poses and facial expressions to help give them a bit more life. The backgrounds on the other hand were a bit of a toss up, while they were fine on their own, there were a few points in the story where the sprites didn’t seem to quite fit in with the scenery.

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But, there was one thing that I absolutely could not overlook…. the writing! Okay, so, I’m going to try and say this in the nicest way possible, while the story and dialogue were fine, I could not overlook the gratuitous amount of grammatical mistakes and awkward sentences. And before you guys take to your keyboards to nitpick at my writing, I will say this, I am aware that the team behind the game are from a non-English speaking part of the the globe, so I won’t unleash the full force of my ire here. I get it, English may not be their native language, it’s cool to want to have an English release, in fact I welcome it, HOWEVER, you must find native speakers to proofread/beta test your game. A lot of the issues I had with the writing could have been easily cleared up with a bit of proofreading…

final thoughts

Blind Men has a rather unique premise: spies, cold war espionage, and comedy (?), now those are a few things your wouldn’t expect from a BL visual novel. Let me clarify, that this is a parody of traditional spy stories, so I went in expecting this to be more along the lines of Austin Powers rather than playing it straight like something akin to the James Bond series and surprisingly enough, Blind Men managed to blend the best of both worlds. There are times when the story is campy as hell, but with an underlying swagger reminiscent of an old spy flick that I found oddly refreshing. All around solid game, I just wish it were longer…

Plus for those of you waiting on their supernatural romance game, Monstrous Lovers this will serve as a nice appetizer.

So there you have it, are there any other BL games you think I should play? What did you think of the review? How do you feel about the premise? Have you played Blind Men? Let me know what you think in the comments section. If you like what you see, like this post or follow Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! As always THANK YOU FOR READING!!

 

 

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