Beyond Eyes is a beautiful game developed by Tiger & Squid. It follows the journey of Rae, a happy young girl that loves playing with her friends until she loses her sight following an accident. Isolated and alone in her walled garden, she passes the days with nothing but her thoughts until Nani comes along. Nani is a Cat that visits her garden from time to time and she soon finds herself excitedly awaiting his visits.
When Nani doesn’t show up for a long time, Rae decides to leave the safety of her garden and look for him. The whole world around her is based on her memory of how things were when she still had her sight, so when you approach certain objects they will change to what they really are.
The sheer white around you can be misleading and gives the illusion that you have a very broad area to explore but you’ll be blocked off a lot by walls and fences as the game leads you in the direction you need to go to continue your journey. Sounds in the distance will bring small areas to life and provide clues, helping Rae to find her way. There will be times where Rae will unwittingly walk into things that scare her. This changes the colours around you, becoming very dark and frightening, this effect actually made me feel slightly uneasy and made my haste to retreat to a safer area increase.
As Rae continues her search for Nani, you’ll get to see more of the world around her and what a beautiful world it is. With only the immediate area around her filled in as you walk, you’ll have to discover the dangers ahead. The game really brings to life how beautiful the world is and how frightening it would feel not to be able to see what’s around you, relying solely on your other senses.
Senses are used frequently throughout the game, with smells represented by yellow swirls that move around certain objects and sound highlighting small areas around you. A green swirl is used for objects Rae can interact with. I did find myself wanting to colour the landscape, and I found it a little strange not being able to fully see what was around me, but that being the point of the game, the developers executed this extremely well.
I admit I’m a bad person, I wanted Rae to walk a little faster. She was walking as slow as you would if you were tiptoeing past a sleeping giant that would surely grind your bones to make its bread, should you disturb it. It’s pretty much the speed of other games, if you’re character was crouched, only a little slower. I tried not to let the snails pace in which she was moving spoil my experience but I found myself becoming impatient with the game, especially when having to retreat and walk longer distances as the story progressed. I’m all for realism but at the end of the day I’m playing a video game and I’d like to get to where I need to be before I hit 30.
The game is definitely more of a walking simulator that tells a powerful story. A theme which we are seeing more of these days. With developers wanting more depth than just go here and shoot everyone until they’re dead. I feel it did exactly what it set out to do which was to show gamers how difficult the world can be and to tell an emotionally driven story. Things that wouldn’t frighten us were we able to see them, scare Rae until she has the courage to overcome her fears and “see” them for what they really are.
Overall, Beyond Eyes is a unique, enjoyable experience. If you are a fan of slow-paced games that provoke an emotional response while being able to explore a beautiful visually appealing world full of surprises then Beyond Eyes is the game for you. The art style and music set the tone perfectly although I feel with such a deep subject matter, a more moving story could have been told, it’s still a beautiful tale and a unique game that sets itself apart from others.
Beyond Eyes was reviewed on the Xbox One
Disclosure: game copy was provided by the publisher