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


Re Challenge 8.

As I said; its all about the physical switches and ports on your device as well.

Re Puzzle 9 solved.

Can you please give us a clue, its really got me stumped. Pleeeeeeeeeeese.

Found a bug maybe?

Hi Ryan and others. This game is so great. I just got scolded by black box hahahah. Here is a bug maybe? I went to share my scolding, I chose send a message. I wanted to use my external keyboard. The app would not let me use the keybhoard. When I pressed on the keys nothing would happen. I had to turn off the keyboard and use dictaion to write my message. I'm sure it is not an IOS issue, when I go directly to the message app, I can use the external keyboard, it just happened when I was in the black box game and tried writing the message from the game app. Hope that made sense. I am still trying to solve the third lights with the popping balls, not asking for any hints right now. Ryan I sent you an e-mail, but haven't heard from you. I am off to pop more balls

Same here.

I swipe all the time like that when I know there is more text, or in this case more puzzles, that are revealed that I can't get to without swiping for a very long time. It's a habit, and I keep doing it and I continue to be scolded. It's strange. It keeps saying I am pulling, but I don't know what that means. I hope I won't really get banned.

Some words about being scoldedd in black box

Musicmyxstress, I don'tb wnat to give too much away, but first, you won't get banned or anything bad like that, keep getting scolded is all I will say. I have solved 26 so far, now I am left with hard stuff hahaha I will try to help if you want

RE: Puzzle 9

For those wondering how to solve #9, just hink of the clue. I believe it says something like "This will be difficult for you". Just think of this, what do we normally do when presented with Touch ID. It's hard to break a habit.

Puzzle 9 help a little

Hi, I don't really want to give too much on solving puzzle 9, but the only thing I will say is keep trying? smiles, e-mail off list if you really are stumped, but "keep trying"!

RE: Some Puzzles

Like the old saying goes, "At first when you don't succeed, try and try again!". I've been trying to figure out the one about the clock and the last 3rd light for the one with the battery and the hell if I know what to do.

Re re some puzzles.

Ah. Those ones. Well, I reckon I could be of some real assistance to you, but I probably need for you to be a bit more forth coming about puzzle 9. You said think about the clue. That tells me nothing as that is all I've done every single time I've tried to get it.

Challenge 36

I'm afraid there might be something wrong with it, only one card of four would blow out...

Still stuck on challenge 4

I am really, really stumped on challenge 4. I have 2 out of the 3 challenges solved, and as I said earlier I don't know how to pop any of the balls on the screen. it seems to show a random number of balls at different times of the day. I mean i'm ok with thinking outside the box, but hints really do help.


While trying to solve some of the puzzles, I occasionally come across the message "Patience is a virtue". does anybody know what this is about?

Re still stuck on puzzle 44

Check your battery percentage against the number of balls on your screen. Leave the challenge open and wait a while.

Re sollution for puzzle 9.

Thank you so much for that. So simple really isn't it. Ok, with number 4, open it and leave your phone unplugged; for ages. If, by the clock one, you mean type 11, you must open it often. You will notice the number of wedges captured will increase. I haven't quite got it out yet, but I'm damn close. I think it works on the principle of 12 hours in each half of the day.

Re: Type 8

When it comes to this and other challenges in the game, think as much about the actual hardware on your device as the software. This game uses the physical controls as much as it uses the operating system.

Thanks for the hints!

I think i'm catching on now! Yes, there is a corolation to the number of balls on the screen, and it does currently match up to the battery percentage. So I will do as suggested, and wait a while. Think I've got it. Love those aha! moments!

Re: Type 4 Hint4

As someone said earlier, pretend your phone needs a charge. You'll notice that the number of balls is related to battery level. I've gotten two of the three lights. I can't get the third yet.

Bug alert possibly.

Hi. So I've noticed that when I play ... or try to play some of the puzzles in Blackbox, it throws my Apple watch into aeroplane mode, and switches "do not disturb" on on it. This results in my watch being disconnected from my phone. Anyone else had similar trouble?

Thanks, Blinken223

I thought about running the battery all the way down, but was afraid I'd shut down before the light could turn on. Well, it wouldn't be the end of the world if I tried.

Giving too much information away for solving puzzles

Blinkie, you give way too much information on solving puzzles for example puzzle 9, why the hell would you give the information about using three different fingers, that is just stupid, and giving away the whole puzzle, try not to give such direct solutions to a puzzle or at least do it off list my word!

wow, talk about scolding! sheesh!

wow people talk about scolding going on in the black box game but i'm seeing a lot of that here too. Remember, people don't *have* to read the hints that people give, they can choose to skip over them. Remember, everyone learns things a little differently, and people with cognative challenges may need a bit more of a hint now and again.

I'm stuck on type5

Hi all. I am stuck at challenge type number five. I tried to view hints for it, but it didn't help. I managed to complete the secon light, but I am not sure how. VoiceOver just said light turned on. Please help, I am really interested in how to turn on this light. I tried to translate the hint to Russian language, but I still cannot understand what is it? Thanx!

Sorry for the delay!

App Developer

I've been the World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose all week and haven't had much time to get online so I'm glad to see everyone making progress and helping on another! I agree with a few people on here that you should at least mark spoilers with some sort of heads up so others can skip reading your post if they want to play the game as intended and are not looking for extra help.

I'm very happy to hear that the most recent update seems to be helping performance on some older devices. I'd love to hear from more people (on the most recent update) that have noticed a speed up and if they find the game playable now or if it still have VO reverb or echo.

Sorry I've been slow on email too! I will get back to you all as soon as I can.

I cannot find some challenges

Hello all again. I noticed, that I cannot find some of the challenges. For example, I cannot find that ninth type, also the 12th, 13th, and others. I have the 16th puzzle after 11TH. What should I do to unlock them? Should I buy these additional packs Or I should complete more challenges? Thanks!

Re: Seva

App Developer

Hello! I definitely encourage unlocking the rest of the game if you're enjoying it so far. It's good to have a variety of puzzles to be working on at once. I'm working on the numbering, labeling, and ordering system. I know it's a bit confusing right now!

Ryab, glad to see you back and posting on here

Hi Ryan, glad you are back posting. I sent you an e-mail, but not under this name, hopefully you will see my e-mail, otherwise I may just have to breakdown and buy the 40 plus hints pack. I have solved 35 challenge. The rest are really hard without hints. Not sure you should change the numbering system of the challenge. Once you understand how the game works, it makes sense the numbering system. Once you unlock more challenge the numbering fits into place. I still don't have challenge twelve, but that is probably because I haven't unlocked the right challenge. I bought the remaining challenges, but I know there are some others that can be unlocked without giving how or what to look for. I know what to look for, but I haven't triggered the right thing yet. Btw, I love the scolding you came up with.

Seva puzzle 5

Hi Seva, puzzle five, the hint has to do with something in the sky, also this might help, if you have the weather gods app, you might be able to use it in assisting you with puzzle five. Hope that helps some.

Puzzle 5

Thanks for the app suggestion. Without giving too much away, I had an aha moment about puzzle five, but I don't know when the next time it'll happen is. I wasn't sure if there was any kind of Calendar app for that

musicmyxstress, puzzle 5

Hi Musicmyxstress, to be honest I haven't solved all of puzzle five myself yet. I am assuming the suggestion I gave earlier will work, but I could be way off, we will have to wait and see, how are you coming along with the rest of the challenges? I am at a sticking point myself on the rest of the puzzles.

Still Extremely Unpredictable Performance on my iPod and 4S

And as I've said before, Ryan, I LOVE this game concept, and would not normally try so hard with this performance problem. My devices get very warm, and the home button is "sticky". Even if I push it with several seconds between, it will turn off Voiceover after three pushes. I still hear reverb and there are massive delays. Also, I suspect that the grid keeps moving, but I'm only basing that observation on the random scolding sessions. :) Thank you so much for doing this. It's creative and fun, and I'm excited about solving puzzles!

Type 2 Hints

I revealed the hint for the last light for Type 2. I'm still stumped! I would like a little more hints to figure it out without completely revealing the solution to the puzzle!

Type two

Are you wearing headphones? Is your microphone enabled?

Re: Type 2

Yes, I'm wearing headphones and I've the mic enabled.

Thank you

Thank you for the hints! I think it's good to ask for help when we need it!

Another hint for puzzle 2

Hi, nice hints. Here is a hint for one of the lights you didn't mention. If you have been around loud noise for a while, I would assume it would be nice to come home and I don't know, maybe no noise at all? Hope that helps.

A strange bug.

Hello. I noticed really strange thing. After reinstalling the app I noticed that lots of challenges were gone. For example I was trying to solve the 11th type a challenge, but suddenly it disappeared after reinstallation of the app. What should I do too fix this issue? Thanks!

Re: Teresa

App Developer

The performance on 4s is particularly hard to improve but I'm going to continue to see what I can do.

Re: Seva

App Developer

You may need to grant permissions before some of the challenges reveal themselves; you should swipe or drag to select the "barrier" and then tap to give those permissions :)

Will be catching up on my emails tomorrow too.

Thank you, Ryan!

If solutions are easier to find for iPod, I'd definitely settle for that, personally. Of course, i understand that a 4S might be the only legacy device some may have. Thanks again; looking forward to it. :-D

puzzle number?

hi all how do i one what puzzle number i am on since i just see type 2, 3, 18, 6, 28, etc.

solved challenge 9

I just solved challenge 9, definitely an aha moment! For those still struggling, here's a clue. try doing the touch ID as expected, but try it in a different way. That's all you're getting out of me.

Re: Will

As you play the game, share things, and try the level barrier unlock button from time to time, those puzzle numbers will start filling in.

Nice job Tunhead!

Nice going Tunhead, nice job giving that last clue for puzzle nine. Let me know if you want help with a particular challenge. I am stuck on the last 27 or so.

Need Help Completing Puzzle 2

Club AppleVis Member

I've solved two of the three lights on Puzzle 2, but can't figure out the third one. I'm sure it has something to do with the musical notes I keep hearing, but don't know what to do at this point. Any suggestions?

Possible Spoiler Alert! But I need help.

Puzzle 16 is giving me issues. Obviously you have to say a "wake word" other than Siri like "Hey Alexa," or "Hey Google." When I say Alexa, it makes a little chimey noise, but no lights turn on. Am I missing something?

puzzle 2 help for Kelly

Hi Kelly, which light can't you still turn on, without knowing which light is still off, I'm sure what to focus on. I will take a guess at which one might be giving you the problem. Just try and think of the times you have been in a really noisy environment. Wouldn't be nice to go home and have no noise for a while?