Blackbox: seeking accessibility feedback for outside-the-box puzzle game

App Developer

Hi AppleVis community! My name is Ryan McLeod and I’m the designer and developer of Blackbox: an outside-the-box collection of over 70 mind puzzles that generally don’t require touch to solve. Since the game currently relies on minimalistic colorful visuals and animations to play it's never been very accessible to anyone with visual impairment. Over the last month I’ve worked closely with my friend in sound engineering to re-think all 71 current puzzles to design ways for them to be playable via alternative sonic interfaces and Voice Over (and haptic feedback on devices that support it). These sounds compliment the current visuals but hopefully serve as their own stand-alone and satisfying way to figure out and solve the puzzles. With your help and feedback I hope we can make them even better!

A word of warning: these aren’t fast, casual puzzles but they are extremely satisfying to solve. The game is tough to describe without spoiling its “ah ha!” moments so I won’t say too much but I would love to hear what you think and get your feedback (nothing is too small!) so I can make my game as accessible as possible. Feel free to reply here or email me at

Note: 75% of the game is free but there are two paid expansions and hint credits, which can be bought or earned by referring friends via sharing in the game (helps keep things ad-free). That said, please email me at for promo codes and I'll provide as many as I can!

Blackbox on the App Store

Blackbox's website


Hi Ryan, I will add you to

Hi Ryan, I will add you to Skype; that way I can get your help without spoiling it for everyone else. My Skype name ends with 18. Thank you for making this game accessible. I know once I figure it out, it'll be really enjoyable.

Wired headphones

Ok so I tried with wired headphones and it does work. This is in challenge type 2 that I'm talking about by the way. Also if I'm not using any kind of headphone and i go to this challenge the volume turns down. Actually it's like it goes to the ear piece.

how can you restart and redo all the puzzels?

I really love the game, however I would really love to start again, and go through and recomplete the puzzles I am addicted to. For example, type 1 and type 8.

Also, a bit of feedback, could you please add a voiceover hint to the grid, stating what the challenge uses. For example, "Type 18, uses location".


Re: Charlie Smith

App Developer

Wow Charlie! How many did you already beat? You can visit blackbox://reset in safari to reset everything via a secret menu. I had to hide it so players didn't think it was part of the game.

I could add that feedback but I think it would spoil the challenges don't you think? Figuring out which sensors they use is half the fun… and there are ways of deducing of which puzzles use certain permissions if you're extra clever ;)

Um ... ... :) As if that's a problem :)

I bet 20 so far, but let's just say that the game is way too addictive to even put down. It keeps me grinning every time I think of it. Also, how do you solve the first microphone puzzle?

Re: As if that's a problem :)

App Developer

That makes me so happy to hear. Are there any that have stood out as favorites or particularly interesting via VoiceOver? Any you hate right now or you found too difficult without further hints? I want to know all the feedback! (Without spoiling anything for others of course).

Don't want to spoil here how those 3 puzzles work—hope you understand.

Of course, that's never a problem

I completely understand. Never a problem at all. I loved the puzzle with the volume and the location puzzles.

If you'd like, you can give me clues. (But, of course, that's if it's ok) I don't mind.


I'm using an iPhone 7 with the latest IOS.

still stuck

Ok I am still stuck. I got past the tutorial and that's about it. Maybe I'm not good at lateral thinking. lol

Re: still stuck

App Developer

Hey Maria,

They're definitely tough—give them some time to sink in and don't be afraid to email me for some hint credits too :)

I had the same problem with Bluetooth headset but solved it.

When I had the problem with the Bluetooth headset, I just pressed and held the home button to summon Siri. After that, I press the home button again to go back to the game and the problem was solved. I could hear the game now on my Bluetooth headset.
Ryan, congratulations for this wonderful game. I have not gone too far into it yet because of time, but I will be having a lot of fun with it during the weekend. So far, the game is very, very interesting. Once again, congratulations. Thank you for creating this game.

got through part of it

HI. how do I find your email address. I worked out that puzzle, but I have no idea what floating balls are lol.

black box feedback

hey eyone
I was just wondering if anyone has had a problem with voicover in black box
By that I mean has anyone had a problem when voice keeps stuttering as soon as the app opens
If you have any advise or suggestions please reply to this coment ASAP

Re: Maria

App Developer

Sometimes the balls are floating, sometimes they aren't… determining why is up to you but the number is most useful here…
Feel free to reach me at if you're still stumped after giving it some time :)

Re: AppleFan

App Developer

Glad you figured out that workaround! I'll continue to look into this…

Re: Tali

App Developer

Hi Tali,

What device are you on? Are you turning on Voice Over once the app is open or is it already on when you open Blackbox? Does the stuttering stop after awhile?


ios device

i am on an iphone 5 and voiceover is on but when the app opens anything i touch when voiceover is enabled voiceover keeps stuttering

Hi Ryan, I am still stumped

Hi Ryan, I am still stumped with the puzzles that have visual clues. I am currently on the puzzle with the circles and lines radiating outward from them. Please help! Thanks.

Issue with Initial Load

Hi Ryan, I am the one who tweeted on if the game would ever make it's way to Android. Before others flog me for saying the "A" word, I have many family members who are Android users, as am I, and think this would be a game they would love. After hearing Anonymouse's podcast on the game, I gave it a go and downloaded it. When I first loaded the game and I tried swiping around, VoiceOver was not responsibe. It is only after I turned off my wi-fi and tried again, did the game seem to load fine and I was able to begin. Once passing the tutorial, I closed the app and turned my wi-fi back on and when loading the game, it seemed to work fine. Perhaps this is a small glitch that you could look into to see if it is first a glitch and perhaps if it can be fixed. I am using an iPhone 6 Plus with the current version of iOS (10.3.2). Thanks again for the great game, it is definitely a game that leaves me scratching my head more then once. Keep up the great work.

Stuttering Behavior on iPhone 5C

Club AppleVis Member

I downloaded the game onto my iPhone 5C, and got through the tutorial screen without any problems. However, I too have noticed stuttering from Voiceover, as well as an echo-like effect. It occurs (for me anyway) on the first screen that came up when I loaded the game for the first time, and after I was told to double-tap anywhere to continue. It's practically impossible to figure out what's being said in this state.
I like what I've seen so far, though, and hope this issue can be resolved in a future update.

Ah, It's Not Just Me With The Voiceover Reverb!

I love this game so much that I'm limping through spelling character by character with VO reverb on my iPhone 4S. I hope a solution can be found, or I get a newer phone, one. LOL Thanks for the accessibility work; very very much appreciated!

This game is absolutely awesome.

As challenging as this game is, is just awesome. I really enjoy this game even though some of the puzzles can give you a hard time. The more challenging, the better. Thanks, Ryan, for creating this wonderful game. Keep up the good job.
For those who are having issues with their a game and are using iPhones five or four, I seem to have read that Ryan mentioned he was looking into that. I am sure he will find a solution for you, guys.
Have a great day. .

Solved Lights

Hi Ryan, I had a small suggestion. When working on a puzzle, when you have already solved a light, I am wondering if it would be a good idea that when you double tap the solved light, the hint for that light is already revealed. Just a thought!

or how about when solved a puzzle

this is now working for now on my iphone 5 so thans, great job. how a when you have solved a puzzle that you are returned to the grid? that way we'd know all is complete? also, what i still do not understand is this, i understand that there is a visual to each puzzle, but is that just for 1 of the lights in say a 3 light puzzle, or the whole puzzle in general? or, is there a clue, or "visual", for each light

can't quite solve a puzzle

Anyone had any luck solving challenge type 4? I have 2 of 3 solved, and the hint is "no charge for this one. without giving too much away, I figured out the hint that said "I think you have the power to solve this one. So, I did the exact opposite, but that still didn't make the light come on. Also, the number of green balls seems to be different each time I try to solve the challenge. Sometimes it's 50, sometimes it's 99, sometimes it's 97. do we have to pop these green balls as part of the challenge in order to solve it? If so, I've tried and can't seem to do it.

RE Can't Quite Solve A Puzzle

Hi Toonhead, Wow, you got the second light, I only got one. Although I did figure out what exactly the balls related too, I just haven't figured out how to solve the second and third lights.


I will give you a hint about solving one of the other puzzles. Pretend that your iPhone's battery is low, even if it's not.

The clues.

Hi Ryan. First of all, I just want to say good on you for coming in here and seeking our feedback to make this game accessible. I guess what I'm wondering is, would you consider making some of the more visual clues more general perhaps. For example, there is one puzzle where the clue is just "concentric rings" and I don't know where on the phone such a thing exists.So, if it would be possible to keep the clues cryptic, but make them more general, that would be really cool.

general and visual explanations

If the hints were more general, then I think they would be almost useless, as we are getting the same amount of info a cited person is getting, I've had a couple people check on several puzzles. To the person asking about visuals for puzzles vs. lights, most of the time, all visuals on screen are for all the lights. The few instances that a certain light is tied to a certain area of visuals on the screen, VoiceOver lets us know. Now, a tiny question, I've begun pulling out my hair. Can anyone give me a clue about the puzzle with the twelve wedges. Sometimes one are captured, sometimes two...and i usually can only swipe to one of the two lights. Which one depends on which time of day, I suspect. Anyway, I have revealed both hints, and it still doesn't make any sense. Any help appreciated.

Still Extreme Voiceover Unpredictability After Update

Darn, I hate to be a wet blanket, but, well the reverb has mostly been fixed, but now there's extreme sluggishness and my iPhone is getting quite warm. I can now open it on iPod, but the iPod has more VO reverb. Sorry sorry. :-D

Also, Home and Power Buttons Not Behaving as Expected

Often when I hit the home button to get out of the game, Siri is invoked, so it is as if the home button is suddenly "sticky". I haven't confirmed a visual result, but when VO is being extremely choppy or laggy, the lock sound doesn't happen on either of my devices. Also, if VO is balking and I invoke Siri, that seems to perk vO up again, I don't know why, but just thought I'd mention it in case something is relevant here.

challenges 8 and 24

hey guys does anyone know how to solve challenges 8 and 24?if you do please reply to this comment ASAP

Addictive game, one question

This is such an addictive game I have played for three days straight and thought about sending it to two blind friends not on applevis. My only weirdness is, One of the puzzles, type nine, asked me for a touch ID every time I try to click on it. Usually that only happens when I'm trying to buy something. Is that supposed to happen?
Otherwise, it's awesome. I stink at this kind of creative thinking, yet I keep coming back.

Puzzle 9's Touch ID

I too have noticed this and I am hopeful that a charge is not being put on our cards. I would think not though.

usually, ...

Usually, if you're purchasing something, remember what VoiceOver says? It'll say something along the lines of, "your purchase was successful. I am certain that this is not happening unless you explicitly purchase a hint credit or some other in-app purchase yourself.

Puzzle 9 Solved!

I just completed #9 and can reassure that the Touch ID is indeed part of the puzzle. Like the game says, you have to think outside the box.


Thanks, i am reassured about that.
Has anyone else been scolded in the home grid for trying to scroll the voiceover cursor down toward later puzzles? I don't know what three finger swipe up does in black box but I guess it doesn't scroll and you're not supposed to do it?

Re: Scolding

LOL I thought that was very amusing and just a teeny bit unsettlinb in the wee hours of the morning. I took it as a reward for being curious and kept scrolling until it gave meone last gift and told me to keep playing the challenges.

Re challenges 8 and 24.

Hi Tali. Challenge 8 is all about the physical switches, ports and control centre sliders on your device. Challenge 24 is one of the most non-visual puzzles there. Think about what actions Voiceover asks you to slide to do.

I needa help with a challenge

Hello. I cannot figure out what i should do in the challenge that has the clue 2 of 12 dark colored wedges in circle shape captured. Any help would be opriciated.

Re- Voiceover hints on grid.

I don't see how doing that would spoil the game. I mean sure, some of the clues are infact, quite self-explanatory. E.G type three. However in others, type 5 for instance, I could sure use that kind of information.

Re- Seva.

Hi Seva. I actually haven't solved that one yet, but I'm beginning to suspect that maybe it has something to do with what time of the day you open it. The number of wedges seems to change depending on when you open it.

I have been scolded several times.

I have been scolded several times. I don't know if that will trigger a consequence or not. The times I have been scolded it has been because I have swiped down with three fingers. It asks me if I want to share it.

challenge 8

i have turned all the sliders in the control center all the way up but I still can't solve it

Do not get frustrated. You'll get it.

The more challenging it gets, the better. I enjoy trying to figure out by myself how to solve the game. You just have to get really creative. Just think, like it says, outside the box. You will get it and you will feel rewarded once you do. After all, isn't this the purpose of the game? Just don't give up. Good luck.