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Beyond Eyes is a game by Tiger & Squid about Rae, a girl who has lost her sight and is also looking for a cat. The game was first shown off earlier this year at GDC 2015. After that, it then failed to reach its flexible Indiegogo goal. Beyond Eyes released on Xbox One and PC in August, and PlayStation 4 in September.

Beyond Eyes Nami

Rae and Nami spending time together

In Beyond Eyes, you play as Rae, a 10 year old girl blinded after a firework accident. Rae would sit in her garden after the accident alone until an orange cat visited her. After a couple of visits, Rae decided to name the cat Nani. Then one day Nami stopped showing up, so Rae decided to leave her garden and go look for her. This much is given to you at the beginning of the game, but after that there is just occasional floating text as you walk. All in all, the story wraps itself up nicely, but it seemed more appropriate for a picture book than a game.

The gameplay is very simple in Beyond Eyes. You start each new area only being able to tell what is directly around you and can see more of the world by walking. There is one point in the game where the world will disappear behind you as you walk too, and it’s your aim in the game to leave the garden on your hunt for Nami. There are a few times where you need to press a button to step over something or to pick something up, but these instances can be counted on your hands. This is the only gameplay element present in Beyond Eyes, other than walking. Beyond Eyes implements a small field of vision so that you can only ever see a couple of feet around you, and where you have already walked. 

The small field of vision works to give players some sense of what being blind could be like. The way it works is that you start each stage only being able to see what is at your feet, walking around reveals more of the world. Imagine that you are painting the world as you walk. This is a nice touch but seems more like a gimmick than any representation of blindness. There are even times later that this path that you have painted for yourself gets washed away leaving you with no idea where to go. Where this feature fails is as a video game, it just leaves the player aimless. This will appeal to some, who enjoy this genre of walking simulator, but for a lot it will hold no appeal at all.

Beyond Eyes Bridge

There is always something pretty to see as you’re walking through the world.

Graphically this game looks really incredible. The art style is that of a watercolor turning to life as you slowly walk around the world; the scenery is always fascinating to watch as you’re walking. Each bush or stream you happen upon dances happily, as long as you’re close enough to be able to see it. The real problem is that for such a pretty game, you can only ever see such a small portion of it.

Audio in Beyond Eyes is normally just the regular ambient noises of the wind or bushes, but every now and then it plays a big role. For Rae, her sense of hearing helps her learn what is around her. It also allows her to see what is further away from her than she can tell. There are sounds that Rae will want to head towards, like the bell around Nami’s neck, but she also knows to stay away from sounds like cars or barking dogs.

Beyond Eyes Scared

Hearing something scary will take its effect on Rae.

If you are a fan of playing a game that challenge the notion of being a game, or enjoy walking sims where the journey is more important than the goal, then you might enjoy Beyond Eyes. If that doesn’t sound appealing, then you should take a pass on this game for sure. If Beyond Eyes were shorter, with a slightly larger field of view, then this might have been an interesting couple of hours. Though due to getting frustrated when walls and gates appear out of nowhere, it wasn’t fun. The later part of the game consisted of hugging a wall, hoping I was heading in the right direction. I understand the irony of criticizing a game about being blind with the above sentences, but those same features made this game unenjoyable.

I love what the developers are trying to do. I see that they are trying to create a way for people to get a slight understanding of what it is like to be blind. Though it is admirable, it falls flat. This might just not be something that can’t be translated through a controller.

This game was given to TechRaptor by the developer and was reviewed on the Xbox One.

What do you think of Beyond Eyes? Do you agree or disagree?

3.0
 

Bad

Summary

Beyond Eyes has it's heart in the right place and on paper might have seemed like a good idea. As a game though it is slow and misses the mark leaving us with a walking sim where you can't even see where you're walking.


Andrew Stretch

Events Coordinator

I have been playing all kinds of games for as long as I can remember with a particular interest in action adventure and platforming titles. While I am primarily an Xbox gamer I also spend a fair bit of time on the PS4 and on my PC in VR.



  • Todd Perry

    I have to admit that “bad” seems like a rather harsh score for a game you found slow and off the mark, rather than outright broken, buggy, or a badly executed version of a originally bad premise. But perhaps that is just me being used to the usual 6-10 scale, instead of a full 1-10.

    I’m not usually one for “walking simulators”, but as someone with not the best sight, this does hit close to my interests. I know I’ve had more than one time in my life where I’ve had to get closer to things than I’d like because of my lack of great vision.

    Perhaps you might look at this game as something that will help people work up to more “game” games with alternative takes on sensory information through the user interface. A product like this might help ease people into something like Perception ( http://www.thedeependgames.com/ ), a game that almost promises to be challenging and frustrating.

    (Edited for better linkage, I hope.)

  • DariusQ

    The first time I saw the preview of Beyond Eyes during E3 I knew this was going to be more art than game. The very concept hearkens back to games like Turok64 where the short draw distance did little more than limit enjoyment only now its intentional.

  • Andrew Stretch

    We score completely broken games in the 2 area, or if they’re just flat out unplayable they get a 1. 3 is where there aren’t bugs but there are bad choices in implementation.

    I agree that the idea that this game presents is an interesting one, and I would love to see some game in the future flesh it out further. Perhaps Beyond Eyes is just a stepping stone on the path? But as a game itself I felt that it got in the way of itself.

    Thank you for pointing out Perception, I had never head of it but watched the trailer and that looks quite interesting! I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

  • Trigger

    “challenge the notion of being a game”

    Can we dispense with the Gone Home-esque platitudes, please? And can we also stop labeling software as “game” merely because it’s A) marketed as such and B) happens to be both interactive and entertaining? Last I checked, “game” isn’t just interactive entertainment — unless we’re suddenly calling LEGO bricks “games” now.

  • JackZFlipper

    “The small field of vision works to give players some sense of what being blind could be like.”

    What? You mean not being able to have any field of vision?

    Anyways, in that case all console ports have been giving PC gamers that experience for a long time. :))