Attraction Review: Oblivion - The Black Hole

After eleven years I got my butt back over to Italy to finally ride Oblivion - The Black Hole and complete the full set of European B&M coasters! When I last visited Gardaland in 2011 Raptor, the park's B&M wing coaster, was the new kid on the block but since my last visit the park has developed a fair bit, included the construction of multiple resort hotels, dark ride updates and entirely new kids themed lands attached to some pretty huge IPs (Peppa Pig and Kung Fu Panda if anybody wanted to know). I absolutely adore B&M dive coasters - I think the drop element is terrifying and thrilling and there's not really much opportunity to mess that up so largely they're a pretty great coaster type across the board (ignoring YOU, Valravn...) 

That said, Oblivion - The Black Hole wasn't a coaster I'd particularly paid attention to, nor had I heard much feedback on it. That can sometimes be a good thing but I do think there's a lot to be said about a coaster that nobody talks about - is it so bad people want to forget it exists or is it mediocre so people genuinely do forget it exists? Well I am here to confirm that not only is this coaster excellent, it's actually my second favourite B&M dive coaster in the world! Seriously, why are more people not raving about this thing? What an asset to the European coaster line-up - it's truly fantastic so I'm going to take some time to do a deep dive into why specifically Oblivion - The Black Hole is fucking EXCELLENT and why we should be screaming about it more! 

OK, let's kick off with the theming. When I first saw pictures of Oblivion - The Black Hole I can't say I was that impressed. I wasn't a huge fan of the white and thought it kind of lacked character. In person it's an entirely different experience. The harsh white against the piercing blue sky is absolutely stunning, and accompanied with the space/exploration style storyline you get this 60s Kubrickian sci-fi vibe from the whole thing but with a slightly softer, theme-parky edge. It looks seriously slick, and screams sci-fi from a million miles away. It's the light to our slightly more pessimistic UK Oblivon's dark, and as a coaster fan I really love the way the two Oblivions complement one another aesthetically and thematically. 

I guess we have to talk about the theming focal point, and that is the AWESOME black hole with the surrounding structures literally being sucked into it. Honestly I could stare at the stuff all day - it's a fantastic optical illusion that really feels alive even though the structures are static. It's just so, so cool. I especially love the fact that some of the Western theming from the adjacent land is not exempt from the gravitational pull of the whole, with some wind turbines being sucked in alongside the news van and other various bits and bobs. 

Sadly due to Covid-19 the more interactive section of the queueline was closed, so I wasn't able to experience that for myself but given how great everything else was I'm sure it's wonderful too!

It is bizarre to me that the UK Oblivion's drop is 40ft bigger than Oblivion - The Black Hole's because I was very intimidated by the size of the plummet before me as we hung over the edge. I guess that's the power of optical illusion and another asset of the B&M dive coaster type - the drops don't have to be gargantuan to be impactful. The way the coaster sits on the side of the hill allows it to feel much larger and more intimidating that it truly is - approaching the thing from the Western themed land you're met with a colossal support structure that paints a picture of a gigantic coaster, when really the thing is only £140ft. It's very impressive. 

The drop itself and into the Immelmann is glorious. In my experience dive coasters can sometimes fall foul of delivering a forceless drop, but not Oblivion - The Black Hole. That iconic dive coaster gut-wrench is there in full force and had me holding my breath and clinging to my restraint every time we rode. Looking down to see all the theming being pulled into the hole just makes the drop feel even bigger and I adore the way the intensity of the drop pulls out into the Immelmann to give way to some glorious floaty airtime. The way the forces work alongside one another is wonderful. 

Oblivion - The Black Hole is probably one of the most airtime filled dive coasters I've ridden and certainly the most airtime on any Merlin coaster for sure. From pulling out of the Immelmann and gracefully leaping into that perfectly placed airtime hill before ploughing into the helix the airtime is non-stop. Our bums were not in our seats from the moment the holding brakes released sending us plunging down and is easily one of the best extended moments of airtime I've ever experienced. Considering the whole attraction is themed to black holes and space travel and gravity it seems only fitting that the coaster has you floating around in your seat for a good portion of the ride!

The heartline roll plays its part too - the coaster feels like it could end with a brake run after the helix but instead Oblivion - The Black Hole has one last card to play before it's truly over, and you can be sure you're out of your seat for the one too! Personally I might have preferred a zero-g roll here just because I'm always greedy for more airtime but the heartline roll certainly does its job of signing off what is otherwise an airtime rich experience from start to finish. *Italian chef kiss*

A big way I gauge my enjoyment of a coaster is if I want to run straight back round for another ride once I'm off, and Oblivion - The Black Hole certainly ticked that box. I find that B&M dive coasters are really great at delivering a powerful rush of adrenaline that carries me through the ride and usually keeps the buzz going once I've disembarked and that was very much the case here! The great thing about this coaster is it is concise, and every element is purposeful and well-executed. It's just the ride balance of speed and intensity - the drop is large and scary but not so much so to be unenjoyable. The inversions are fun and floaty and enhance the overall ride experience instead of cramming in as many as possible just for the sake of it and ending up dizzying. 

Every element balances perfectly with the one before it and although it's by no means the longest coaster in the world, what it does with its layout is fantastic and delivers and excellent ride experience every single time. It very much speaks to what I enjoy in a coaster - inversions but not too many to leave my head spinning, tons upon tons of airtime and an intense, forceful first drop whose speed and exhilaration carry through the entire layout. Excellent. 


So did I like Oblivion - The Black Hole? Yes. Yes I did. I think it's an almost perfect coaster and I feel very lucky to have such an awesome addition to the European coaster line-up. Plus, it's in an absolutely gorgeous setting with breathtaking views across Lake Garda so I won't exactly be complaining about heading back out there to reride the thing!

Have you ridden Oblivion - The Black Hole? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,