I was blind, but now I see.
While I’m all for a game that has more art than gameplay, the concept and execution should be one of quality and intrigue. Beyond Eyes has the concept part down, but the execution is highly flawed and downright monotonous at times.
Players take on the role of Rae, a young girl who was blinded in a fireworks accident when she was little. Living in seclusion, she befriends a wandering cat she calls Nami. Nami comes and goes when he pleases, but always comes to see her when she needs him. One day, he stops coming. Now, Rae must brave the world in order to find her lost companion.
Platforms: XB1, PC, PS4
Price I’d pay: $5
Memory can change.
Beyond Eyes has players navigating Rae in a blank area that is slowly filled with colorful imagery of what Rae feels, hears, and smells. It is a nice mechanic that really works the first few times it occurs. See, Rae has to use her memory to fill in the gaps. So, while she knows there is a fountain in the garden of her home, when she hears running water, it appears in game as a fountain, but upon closer inspection by walking up to it, it turns out to be a drain pipe leaking water. Sometimes things aren’t always what Rae thinks they are. She only goes by what she knows.
Each area is sectioned off by either some sort of simple walk around puzzle like trying to find some bread to distract birds blocking the way, or simply by finding the exit. As players move Rae around, it basically fills in the area much like the first area of Unfinished Swan. The issue I have is while I see what the developers are going for, it doesn’t translate well into fun or interesting game play. I hate to use the term, but this is essentially a walking simulator – which would have been fine if the story lead to any kind of satisfying conclusion. Instead, it feels more like a hard dropped ending that feels cut off. The entire time, I would walk down a path only to find out I was walking to a dead end, then, end up having to trek back the way I came and try to find the right path. It really felt like I was walking blind.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Now, revealing the area is not all bad, the visuals are stunning to see, and how the game handles revealing the look of everything is really interesting, and there are a few intelligent design choices that can help players on their way, but combine Rae’s movement speed and numerous times I had to circle around an already revealed area just because I hit a dead end, and it started to feel more like a chore than a unique experience.
While it is a decent idea and concept, I still feel that Beyond Eyes is far too slow and unsatisfying when it comes down to the end. It took maybe two and a half hours to complete it, and while I still have multiple achievements to unlock, I don’t feel compelled to go back through and get them. While a very beautiful game, looks can only get you so far. I recommend at least a price drop before trying out this game.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.