BLANC is a new co-op indie video game available on Nintendo Switch and Steam. It’s a two-hour experience with simplistic puzzles, no dialogue, and universal themes of love, kindness, and friendship.
Ironically, I played BLANC with a former friend with whom I had a falling out. He played as the wolf cub, and I was the fawn. BLANC is intriguing because it takes two completely different animals and forces them to work together to find their herds. So, here I was, playing with no verbal communication, with that former friend. It was the start of our friendship building, the same as it was between the two beautifully illustrated characters.
Personal anecdote aside, BLANC excels when you’re helping other animals throughout your journey. There are several adorable moments where you aid other creatures stuck in harsh snowy conditions, and seeing what happens when you succeed is heartwarming. There’s also a JOURNEY / THE LAST OF US-like vibe when you’re running alongside your friend in the emptiness of the wilderness. It’s poetic and feels more like a Disney-animated short than a videogame.
Yet, where BLANC fails is in its overall story and some very frustrating gameplay choices. The story hits all the right notes until the end when there isn’t a more significant theme or conclusion to tie everything together. It was a letdown as the journey, not the destination, had been so fun. As for some of the gameplay mechanisms, for an experience as peaceful as BLANC, it left me angry. This wasn’t due to the difficulty of the puzzles. Instead, it was all about trying to see where I could protect animal friends from being blown away by a pesky gust of wind. The animation isn’t clear enough to be so hypersensitive, and it reminded me of the old-school SNES game THE LION KING, where as a kid, I experienced what it felt like to rage quit for the first time.
I recommend grabbing a friend and playing BLANC but be prepared for a few setbacks in the overall experience.
It’s available on Steam and Nintendo Switch. I played it on the Switch.