Beyond Eyes – Review
I’ve been really looking forward to playing Beyond Eyes ever since I saw the demo at EGX Rezzed earlier this year. The plot is simple: you play the protagonist Rae, a 10 year old girl who lost her sight in a horrific firework accident. Ever since the accident, she has been too scared to leave her own garden, yet she has befriended a cat she calls Nani. After a period of time, Nani stops showing up at Rae’s garden, leaving her lonely. So she decides to venture into the unfamiliar world to find him.
The whole premise of Beyond Eyes is to help Rae find Nani, and so begins the journey of looking around the surrounding villages and fields looking for the elusive feline. Nani appears from time to time giving the player some kind of direction to go in, but a lot of the time you are walking around blind (literally!) in the hopes that you will stumble across something poignant to the story.
With Rae being blind, the game is quite unique in style. You start with a blank canvas, and as you move towards something, you are treated to a beautiful watercolour of the areas Rae visits. Rae remembers all of the areas that she has been, but sometimes the locations will change, if a van drives away for example, or if the rain is making it hard for her to remember where she is.
Not everything is as it seems however. What sounds like a waterfall to Rae, turns into a sewer as she gets close. In a similar way, what she assumes is a stone wall turns out to be gravestones. Sometimes Rae hears noises that frighten her and will refuse to move any closer. She can sometimes overcome her fears of certain noises, but for others, you’ll just have to find a different way of reaching your destination.
Unfortunately this is one of the things that bothered me. Rae walks incredibly slowly, (of course she would, she is blind), so it just seems to take forever to get anywhere. I get why the designer did this, I really do. But after a while, the beautiful artwork just couldn’t keep me entertained and without a proper story to keep me engaged, I was almost bored trying to get her to where she needed to go. And, towards the end of the game, I just found myself eager to find out what had happened to her old friend. I won’t spoil the ending, but it was harsh!
Audio and Visuals
Like I mentioned above, the graphics in Beyond Eyes are really lovely. The whole game is a watercolour painting that gets unveiled as you travel to new areas and experience new things. Visually, I’d easily give this game a 10/10.
The audio in the game was a bit hit and miss for me. I loved the music in the game, but this was used sparingly, so much of the time you were walking around in silence which was only broken up by Rae calling for Nani from time to time. I’d have loved to have heard the music for much longer periods throughout the game.
There are 10 achievements in Beyond Eyes worth 1000 Gamerscore altogether. The majority of them can be missed (minus the one for completing the story), and it took me until chapter IV to realise that the blue swirls that sometimes appear near Rae mean that she can interact with something. I’m going to go back through the game to snap up the achievements that I missed, so hopefully you read this article before playing! For such a short game, the 1000 Gamerscore should keep completionists happy. Nothing is very difficult so long as you take the time to explore each area to its fullest.
Update – I played through the game again using the TrueAchievements guides and picked up the five achievements I was missing in under 2 hours.
I badly wanted to love Beyond Eyes, but unfortunately I can’t say that I do. The concept is brilliant, but I just think it could have been so much more. The story is so short that it could have been written out on a paper napkin, and without any real direction, the game seems to fall flat. I don’t have the empathy for Rae that I wanted to have, and when you compare her to someone like Clementine in Telltale’s The Walking Dead, the difference in feeling is huge. That said, it has given me much more appreciation for what I’m sure blind people must have to deal with on a daily basis.
If you want to experience the beautiful graphics, and like a game that encompasses a basic story, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this. At around 3 hours long, it won’t take you long to finish so it’s worth a go. For me, however, I’m just disappointed as Beyond Eyes had the potential to be so much more.