As technology has advanced, so has the gaming industry. Games that were impossible to create years ago are now flooding the marketplace and giving us a tremendous amount of choice. With the ID@Xbox program, every week is seeing a new release and developers are battling it out to give us something unique. One of the latest games from ID@Xbox is Beyond Eyes
, an adventure that tells a tale in a very unconventional way to what we're used to in gaming. Does this help it to stand out, though, or should we just move along?
Beyond Eyes A unique looking game awaits
puts you in the shoes of Rae, a young girl who sadly lost her sight in an accident that is explained at the very start of the game. This pictured story is told very quickly and you are taken right into the game within a minute or two of loading it up from the dashboard. There's nothing meaty in content here. Rae has become blind and now she feels lonely because she isn't able to join in with her friends like she used to. It's touching to see a once happy child become so sad but you are only really given the bare bones. The game begins with Rae sensing a cat nearby called Nani, and this is what the whole adventure is centered around. Using her other senses, Rae tracks down Nani while strolling through a variety of locations and stumbling across different obstacles.
Rae and Nani, best friends forever?
With Rae being unable to see, the developers have used a unique technique to present the game to us. As you walk around, the environment slowly washes into view as Rae approaches unseen areas. This water colour effect is beautiful to look at and it's where Beyond Eyes
really shines. Initially, all we see is what's right near Rae, and everything else is nothing but a white canvas. It gives the illusion of what being blind is like; while we may be able to sense what is close to us, the rest of the world is blank and we can't truly see it unless we touch it for ourselves. This means that you'll be wandering around and wondering which is the right way. It's never overwhelming with this, though, as everything you uncover stays there (apart from one particular section) and you see more of the bigger picture whenever you walk into somewhere new.
Rae may be blind, but she can still sense the world's beauty
Immediately upon seeing Rae in the game, her eyes appear as closed. This symbolises her blindness but it seems a bit strange at first. She can just as easily have her eyes open like everyone else, but instead we don't see that for the entire game. However, in a way this helps the game to be more child-friendly and it adds to the charming and uplifting nature of the game. Rae also barely speaks and whenever she actually does, it's when she calls out to Nani. This high-pitched utterance again helps to create something that is completely different to the likes of violent and action-packed titles.
When gaining control of Rae for the first time, the first thing that you'll notice is her incredibly slow walking speed. Throughout the entire game, she will move at this speed without any way of changing it and it can be somewhat frustrating. Obviously it links to her blindness and the fact that she can't properly see where she's going, but you may get slightly impatient when you end up going the wrong way and have to travel all the way back to the correct location. The developers certainly want the players to feel how Rae feels and they have done that well, but sometimes it can feel like she doesn't need to walk that
slowly. Eventually you get used to it but that thought of "Go faster!" will continue to crop up throughout your time with the game. Perhaps it's also been done to increase the game time, which leads onto my next point.
If only Rae could go just a tiny bit faster
Despite Rae's inability to move very fast, Beyond Eyes
is an extremely short game. Focusing on just completing the story will see you finishing it in probably two hours, while exploring a little more for the various "collectibles" and interactions may add another hour on top. I was personally able to play the game from start to finish, including gathering all the extras, in one session on the Xbox. It's a short-lived experience and it's a shame that it's as short as it is. The gameplay is rather simple, though, and you will need nothing more than the left stick, right stick and the A button to make it all the way to the end. This means that an excessively long game would become a bit boring, but it wouldn't have hurt to add in a little more content than what we got.
What we do have in Beyond Eyes
, though, is definitely memorable. Although it's one of the quickest completions out there and all you technically do is walk around, its presentation will stick in your mind. I for one will not forget it in a hurry. The pleasant music that plays over the top of the journey and the art style mesh well together, and whenever Rae comes across something that scares her, black swirls will circle around it and everything will look washed out to mirror her fear. It's very well done and the vibrant colours of the environment are pleasing to look at, so quality over quantity is what the developers have attempted here.
As you probably may have guessed by now, Beyond Eyes
has a very quick and easy achievement list. There are only ten achievements for the whole 1,000G but it is possible to complete the story and only gain one of those ten. The rest are given for completing random interactions
across the chapters and finding all collectibles
. TA already has some fantastic guides up for all these missable achievements so you'll be done in no time. It's a simple game with a simple list.
is a unique title because it explores a topic that is rarely shown in a game and for the most part it does it very well. The art style is great, and the story is charming, even though it won't fully tug at your heartstrings. It's a quick completion for those who want it and it's a memorable game. It's very short length might put people off, though, so you may want to wait for a sale if you don't like the thought of paying £9.99 (or regional equivalent) for 2-3 hours of pretty limited gameplay. With Rae's sometimes frustratingly slow walking speed, the focus is all the more on seeing the colourful world coming into view. While there could have been more here, Beyond Eyes
is still an enjoyable experience if you fancy winding down and just relaxing on your Xbox.
- Unique art style
- Touching story and topic not usually explored in games
- Rae walks extremely slowly
- Short-lived experience
The reviewer spent just over three hours looking for Nani and exploring the world at a very slow pace with Rae. All ten of the game's achievements were gained along the way. A digital code for the game was provided by the developers for the purpose of this review.