Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Highly conceptual "god-game" that has you ruling over mortals with a little help from a giant cow-monster. [Feb 2003, p.94]
  2. If you’d like to keep your friends and job stay clear away from this game, if however you want to get sucked into a game that rarely let’s you leave, then you need to get this game, simple.
  3. Believe the hype. The new Best Game Ever just rode into town, and it's going to be sticking around for a long time.
  4. One of the most compelling, beautiful and impressive pieces of code we have played in a long, long time. It is also insanely addictive.
  5. 100
    Black & White miraculously pulls you in and doesn't let go until you've sacrificed many hours.
  6. It's the sort of game that comes around once every few years and totally changes the gaming landscape.
  7. Over the past 12 months, I have played some of the best games ever made and playing Black & White is just pure icing on the cake.
  8. 97
    A truly miraculous "game." I call it a "game" because it's more of an experience.
  9. Plain and simple, Black and White is the most engrossing game I've seen in a while.
  10. Quite simply the most ingenious, addictive and meticulously-crafted and executed computer game of the year thus far.
  11. To play this is to love it - there is so much to do, so much to learn and so much enjoyment to be had from this that I cannot see anyone failing to like it.
  12. One of the most innovative, creative, original, and awe-inspiring PC games ever. [June 2001, p.52]
  13. With excellent online play, top-notch graphics, and a musical score that you'll find yourself just listening to, Black and White is a quality game all around.
  14. It has an innovative style, quality design and some elements that have never before been seen in gaming, like the alignment system. It's easily one of the most entertaining games I've played in a long time.
  15. The scope of Black & White is so far in excess of a typical game design that it seems surprising that the finished product turned out so polished and so playable.
  16. 91
    One of the most unique -- and enjoyable -- strategy games we've seen this year.
  17. An incredible game that features great AI, music, graphics and story.
  18. A heavenly refreshing virtual toy in which to lose oneself for hours on end.
  19. 90
    It's not the all-encompassing experience of godly power that was suggested. You have to play it in a fairly rigid and organised fashion.
  20. The musical score is monumental in a sense and it reminds me of that theme song in "Gladiator" - the one which plays during that scene when Maximus is walking through a crop field near his home.
  21. I strangely feel a very strong maternal instinct towards my monkey (don't tell my children). I find myself telling him out loud what a good boy he is while rubbing his belly or explaining why I have to spank him.
  22. Black & White is one of the games you will remember 10 years from now as a turning curve for PC gaming. Thank you Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios, this game has certainly been something fresh and new.
  23. Mixing elements of empire building, resource management, life simulation, survival and brawling with complex strategies and tactics in a gorgeous fantasy setting seems too good to be true.
  24. Ground-breaking and very fascinating, but the game is hurt by an overemphasis on micromanagement. Improved village management and some poor level design kept this game from rating higher.
  25. After about 15-25 hours (Depending on the gamer) the game just seems to lose it’s fun factor. Sadly, many games released nowadays don’t even have 15 hours gameplay in them, let alone 15 hours of damn fun gameplay; Black and White does indeed have this.
  26. 85
    While the game is far from perfect -- some may bristle at the constant micromanagement and the often ambiguous objectives you are required to meet -- it is very approachable and addictive, an almost ideal virtual playground in which you can play god.
  27. Think of this as a cake-baking contest, and Lionhead showed up with a cake mix still in the box. The final quality depends on how you mix it, bake it, and frost it.
  28. Though the plodding pace and cutesy atmosphere border on blasphemy, the game’s open-ended design lets you indulge your most megalomaniacal fantasies with ease.
  29. Parts are a bit problematic, such as the combat, challenges, and village management, but most of what you experience is endlessly fascinating.
  30. It has a great concept, great innovations, but they should have spent more time refining the gameplay to be more rewarding. City building, fighting, and creature training are all too shallow.
  31. I stand in awe of the vastness of its scope and the inventiveness of its design. However, it takes forever to learn, and one can't help getting frustrated along the way.
  32. It's a brilliant toy but also a jumbled mishmash of original ideas and mundane gameplay that fails to deliver a cohesive single- or multiplayer experience.
  33. Once I made it past that initial stage of astonishment, I made an unfortunate discovery: the single-player game, as designed, just isn't much fun in the long term.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 191 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 38
  2. Negative: 6 out of 38
  1. Jan 4, 2014
    Well... I am on the final land... I am trying to be a good god and impress villages, so first a make sure my villagers are happy. Then I raise the totem. Oh, I see that the villagers worshipping want food. Sure! Still in control... Okay, now to impress. Oh no! My influence is too small! Nevermind, I have a creature for such problems. Then I hear the death call. Hmm... I know I will get a heal and heal the people Okay, there, now to refill the food of the people. Alright, now to... Oh no! People are dying at the worship site! I must lower the totem. Okay, now my creature must go impress the village! Hang on! Why is he so small! Oh no! I spent too much time trying to be good that my creature has shrunk! Well anyway, I will send him! NOOO! Nemisis chucked like a million fireballs at him!!! NO! Oh no! My villages need more civic buildings! why are there so many children! Oh! Oh to hell with good! where's that fireball dispenser? Oh no! I accidentally destroyed it! Well, let me see how much belief I need, maybe I can expand my influence. 3500 belief needed. Full Review »
  2. Nov 10, 2013
    The concept of this game is so very appealing, but it makes me feel a bit let down. The creature aspect either feels too advanced, or just wasn't thought through completely. I can't decide. Somehow it will feel like having a real pet, with a colorful personality where you can affect it's choices, lifestyle and morale. But the system for doing this requires a lot of patience, as it's seldom clear on how to do this. Often you will be required to watch him closely every minute to find the right timing on when to praise him or scold him, and the outcome may still not be what you thought it to be. It also seems like the creature forgets stuff over time, so he will have to keep relearning things throughout the game, which proves tedious. As for being a god the layout feels clever. You'll impress different towns with your godly ways, which will give you enough influence for them to start worshiping you. But you may only do stuff within your "influence radar", which makes it essential to either bring your pet over to impress or cause distress; or throw rocks and stuff from afar like crazy until people take notice. Sometimes, it works out well and you'll feel good about it. Other times, you'll want to rip your hair out as the god-villain so easily may electrify your creature to death, making your choices very few on how to proceed. It's also quite sad how boring it may be to be a god, as it often will feel like a village simulator where you just micromanage stuff; like turning citizens into farmers, build stuff and keep bringing food over to your worshipers. And every level will be repetitive as this is pretty much all you do. Then there's the side quests. They're always cheesy, but often a fun break from the regular god-stuff that you do. The rewards will often be surprising, but seldom that useful. Though I have to say that most of the charm in this game lies within such things. I find a lot of pleasure from the side quests, exploring the world, pressing F1 to get descriptions of weird stuff on the islands, checking out small easter eggs and such. It's clear that the game is meant to be quirky and fun, rather than a die hard strategy game. Full Review »
  3. Sep 16, 2013
    I'm glad the game is finally getting the real reviews it actually deserves, since behind its sharp presentation lies an overwhelming mess of a game. From the woeful tutorial sections at the beginning of the game, to the intuitive design choices, Black and White seems more like a title designed to frustrate the player than to actual teach them anything. If anyone recalls the much better game, Populous 3, which came out some years before this, exceeds in teaching the player fairly basic mechanics and structure without attaching a one ton weight that is the atrocious AI of Black And White's infamous "creatures." You start the game off helping some folks being GOD and whatnot, you aren't opposed to helping (or harming) people once in awhile. After you're bored with that its time to listen to a tutorial for an hour rather than to introduce things slowly to the player without patronizing them or belittling their technical abilities to understand how a very basic game actually works. Their is no "management" of your throng of villagers, the gaggles of them will just literally do whatever you need them to do. Should you wish, you could essentially sit around and do nothing for them, but unfortunately nothing would ever get done. Unsurprisingly these villagers are pretty slow compared to you, GOD, who can essentially do their work for them much faster. After a few buildings are finished you will get to pick from three adorably polygonal monstrous creatures: A cow, a lion or an Orangutan. In what can only be described as, "tedious to a degree not since seen in any other game ever" you are now forced into what can only be described as a pet simulation till the end of single player game. None of the creatures were particularly better than you, GOD, and the effort needed to train these beasts from murdering citizens or gaining their trust before picking one up all of a sudden and eating them was mentally draining. I certainly don't remember this portion of the game being intuitive either. In fact I found it revolting how easily you could accidentally train your monster something entirely wrong and not know the consequences until it was too late. I never even bothered to finished the incredibly long winded Single player portion, as I was just too frustrated by the creature AI mechanics to possibly stomach the rest of the game. Though it was met with exceedingly amazed reviewers at its time of release, since then it has been confirmed for one of the most overrated and over hyped pieces of software to come out in some time. Is it fun to pick up villagers and throw all of them into the ocean one by one in an effort to bring some peace from the chaos? Yes of course. But you'll never get anything done that way. Full Review »