Blacksad: Under the Skin (Xbox Series X/S) Review

If you’re seeing this and thinking, “I swear I’ve heard the name Blacksad before” then your hunch is probably correct. Blacksad: Under the Skin was originally released back in 2019 on the Xbox One, but now in 2024 we have the Xbox Series X version. Before continuing this was the first time playing Blacksad so this won’t be any comparisons if that’s what you’re looking for (for that, check out Graham’s original review here).

The other way you might recognize the Blacksad name is because you have read or heard of the Blacksad comics that were created by Spanish writers Juan Diaz Canales (Writer) and Juanjo Guarnido. However, Blacksad: Under the Skin is an original story not based on any existing installment.

Reviewing story telling games can often be difficult because it can be hard to avoid spoilers, but after completing the story I will say I had a bloody good time. If you’re unaware, the Blacksad universe is based on anthropomorphic animals, and Blacksad is a cat!  Over the course of the story, you’ll meet some interesting characters that add a lot of charm to the story, even if Blacksad himself gives off ‘Batman’ vibes.

Blacksad is a private detective, and here you’ve been asked to investigate a suspected suicide and solve the case. As you’d expect, the story has lots of twists and turns and will keep you guessing as to who or what is responsible.

But what tools do you have available to help you solve this case? Firstly, you have your notebook and anything significant is saved for you to review later. The main tool you have is your deduction skill. You are rewarded for exploring areas fully for clues as you’re able to open your deductions and get a bigger picture of what’s going on, and at certain points in the story you’ll be required to piece together clues in order to progress the story. They’re not too hard to figure out and the game is kind enough to not punish you for failing, so you can trial and error to your heart’s content. You also have your cat senses which can lead to unearthing more clues by either listening, smelling or seeing various objects in scenes.

Blacksad is based in 1950’s New York and this is where Micriods and Pendulo studios really excelled, the ambiance and music was spot on. Great games can often be let down by the choice of music which can often ruin immersion. It really felt like you were a detective game in the 50’s with its jazz style soundtrack. One of the biggest compliments I can give is that I don’t think I’ve played an investigative game that had the same level of musical immersion since La Noire back in 2011.

With any story game you have your QTE’s, some will take you by surprise so always make sure you’re ready! If you’re ready, then they’re not particularly challenging. The only real challenge I had was how fast you had to choose which dialogue option you wanted. A couple of times I missed the chance to respond as I was still reading and deciding which dialogue option would be best for my Blacksad.

Exploring areas can be quite frustrating at times as the controls feel clunky, as well as objects to view and interact with there are collectibles to find. This task is of course optional but if you’re a completionist then this could become frustrating.

Whilst progressing through the story you’re able to see how your personal Blacksad is shaping up; me being me I was trying to be an honest PI, but if you prefer you characters to have an edge to them then there are plenty of dialogue options to steer your Blacksad in that direction.

It took me a little over 10 hours to complete the story of Blacksad: Under The Skin which I believe is a good amount of time for these types of games and that was with me trying to find as many clues as I could and not going out of my way to find any collectables.

At any point in your way through the story, if you feel you’re going in an off direction and can pinpoint where it started to go wrong there’s a handy chapter select to help with this. There are also 6 possible endings, so this is a welcome feature for those completionists among us that don’t want to have to start all over again.

The last thing I’ll mention is that there is a tutorial. What impressed me with this is that even late in the game when something new popped up, it gave a brief explanation as to what is required.     


I had a fun time with Blacksad: Under the Skin. The immersive soundtrack and engaging story never out stayed its welcome and for me I’d say it rivals Telltales The Wolf Among Us as one of the better detective story games out there.

This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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  • Immersive soundtrack
  • Great story
  • On going tutorial
  • Dialogue timers too fast
  • Exploring can be clunky
Written by
I first got my hands on a gaming console in ‘91 with the NES and haven’t looked back since, playing on a variety of consoles and PCs over the years. Once a year you will also find me doing a trilogy play through of either Mass Effect or Dragon Age.

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